- July 22, 2016
You didn’t know that human beings could make those kinds of sounds. Yet, you hear them, night after night, whenever your spouse falls asleep before you do.
How is it possible for someone to snore that loud, and gasp for breath in between? It’s a pattern that you are far too familiar with because those are the noises that keep you awake at night.
If this sounds familiar, you may be sharing a bed with someone who has sleep apnea. This is a sleep disorder that is doing more than just interfering with your sleep. It can lead to other health problems while your spouse is awake.
Fortunately, your spouse can get treated for this condition so both of you can start sleeping better. You can start by calling The Dentist House if you live in or near Ridgecrest, CA.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
As we noted above, this is a sleep disorder. The word apnea is derived from a Greek word that means “without breath.”
People with sleep apnea have trouble breathing when they are asleep, although they may not realize it. Here’s what happens.
When a person with sleep apnea falls asleep, he or she will stop breathing. This can happen up to 14 times per hour if the person has mild sleep apnea. People with severe sleep apnea can stop breathing more than 30 times per hour.
People with obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form of this condition) stop breathing because the soft tissues in their throats relax. This can cut off their airways. (This also is a factor in why they snore so often and so loudly.)
People with central sleep apnea have a different issue. Their brains don’t send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing when they fall asleep.
People with complex sleep apnea syndrome have a combination of the conditions of obstruction and central sleep apneas.
Whenever someone with sleep apnea stops breathing, their bodies respond by waking them up long enough to take a breath. They may not recall any of this, but each time it interrupts their sleep cycles and prevents them from getting deep, healthy sleep.
And if they are snoring, it may be preventing you from getting healthy sleep, too.
Sleep apnea can increase your spouse’s risk for other health problems, too.
People with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to have high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. They often fight with daytime sleepiness, which may explain why they are more than twice as likely to be the driver in a car accident than people who don’t have sleep apnea.
What Are Sleep Apnea Treatment Options?
At this point, you may be wondering what can be done to treat sleep apnea. First, it’s important to confirm that he or she does have this sleep disorder. We may be able to help with that, too.
For years the most common sleep apnea treatment has been a CPAP machine. CPAP means continuous positive airway pressure.
This machine pushes airs into the user’s airways while he or she is asleep. This keeps the airway open so he or she can continue breathing.
CPAP users wear masks over their noses, mouths, or both. The mask is connected to a tube that attaches to the machine.
For some people, this is an effective solution. For others, it creates new problems.
Some patients find the mask irritating. Some find that the tubes create issues when they change positions, and some people have trouble falling asleep because of the sounds of the machine.
As a result, many people don’t use their CPAP machines like they should, which means they aren’t really treating their condition.
The American Sleep Association has noted that oral appliances can be used as an alternative to CPAP machines. We can make one of these appliances for your spouse at our dentist office.
These do not require a mask or machines. Instead, oral appliances move the jaw forward slightly. This helps to keep the user’s airway open.
As a result, he or she is able to continue breathing. It also reduces the volume and frequency of snoring, which may help you sleep better, too.
If your spouse’s snoring is interfering with your sleep on a nightly basis, talk to him or her about making an appointment at The Dentist House. We are located in Ridgecrest, CA.