If your spouse snores, it’s safe to assume that you’re probably not sleeping very well, either. Maybe you’ve even taken the desperate step of sleeping in a separate room just so you can get some rest.
But this is not a good solution, and it could spell doom for your marriage. Fortunately, it’s possible to treat snoring. Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about how you can help your spouse get a better night’s sleep — and in turn, how you’ll reap the benefits, too.
Causes of snoring
Snoring is a common problem. It affects 25% of people on a nightly basis. Snoring is technically caused by a condition called sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night.
There are two different types of sleep apnea, but one is more common than the other.
The more common type is obstructive sleep apnea. It causes your throat to close up while you sleep, restricting the airflow. Your brain senses that you can’t breathe, causing you to wake up briefly. You wake with a startle, possibly coughing or choking, causing the common snoring sound.
The second, less common type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea. This occurs when your brain doesn’t send the signals to your body to tell you to keep breathing.
Signs of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea has a few telltale signs, including:
- Waking up feeling unrefreshed
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Sore throat
- Dry mouth
- Daytime fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
These symptoms can be very disruptive to your life. But you may not even know you have it unless your partner tells you about your snoring.
Risk factors for sleep apnea
Not everyone is at equal risk for developing sleep apnea. Certain things make it more likely that you’ll develop it, including the following:
- Being overweight or obese
- Having narrow airways
- Having a bigger neck circumference
- Being male
- Drinking alcohol or taking sedatives before bed
- Being older
- Having nasal congestion
- Family history
All of these factors significantly increase your risk. Some of them can’t be changed, like being male or getting older. But addressing the modifiable risk factors, such as smoking or carrying too much extra weight, can reduce or decrease the incidence of them.
Why sleep apnea is dangerous
Sleep is vitally important for your health. It’s when your body repairs itself. Repeatedly failing to get a restful night’s sleep can have long-lasting and major negative impacts on your health. People with untreated sleep apnea have a significantly greater risk for the following issues:
- Acid reflux
- Memory loss
- Adult asthma
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Liver problems
- Heart problems caused by the lack of oxygen
- Decreased interest in sex
- High blood sugar
As you can see, it’s vital to treat sleep apnea if you have it. The risks to your body are wide-ranging.
How to keep your airways open
You can treat sleep apnea, which means that you can finally feel rested again. One of the most common ways to treat it is with the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) device. This machine keeps a steady stream of air flowing into your lungs while you sleep.
But many people have a hard time adjusting to CPAP machines. Although they are very effective at keeping your airways open, some people find it difficult to get used to the steady stream of air. Unfortunately, many of the people who can most benefit from CPAP therapy abandon it because it’s too hard to adjust to.
Fortunately, Dr. Sokoly has another treatment option you can consider. Dentists can work to realign the muscles that control your breathing without having to use a CPAP machine. You wear an oral device to keep your throat muscles open as you sleep. The device is custom-fitted to your mouth and gently pushes your jaw forward. This allows your airways to remain open, providing a natural source of oxygen to your brain.
If your partner snores, you probably just want it to stop by any means necessary. You may not have known that your dentist has a solution. Contact Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly or use our online appointment scheduling system to talk about sleep apnea treatment.