Allergies or Sleep Apnea?

Clouds

Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2022 at 2:51 pm    

Allergies or Sleep Apnea?

We all want a good night’s sleep. The problem is it can be so hard to get one. It seems like we toss and turn all night, or our spouse tells us in the morning that we snored like a chainsaw. Even if you don’t remember snoring, the disruption in your breathing can keep you from getting deep, restful sleep. What is the cause of snoring, and what can be done about it?

Causes of Snoring

Snoring is a sign of blocked nasal passages. There are a variety of reasons your nose and throat can be partially obstructed, but a common reason in the spring and fall is seasonal allergies. Snoring can also be caused by obstructive sleep apnea, a serious condition in which you actually stop breathing repeatedly during the night. There are treatments for both allergies and apnea, but before you can get the right treatment, you need to be sure which condition is causing your snoring.

Signs and Symptoms of Allergies and Apnea

Both allergies and sleep apnea can cause snoring, but the reasons are different. Allergies cause snoring because your nasal passages are swollen and irritated, and mucus forms in your nose, making it difficult to breathe.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the soft tissues of the back of the throat fall backward, partially or completely blocking your airway. When this happens, your body struggles to breathe through the obstruction, causing snoring or even causing you to wake up.

In both cases, the result is snoring, interrupted sleep, and daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea and Allergies

Treatment for allergies can be as easy as taking the right antihistamines before bed or using an air filter in your home. Obstructive sleep apnea may require more intensive therapy. To determine whether you have sleep apnea, a doctor should examine you. Some risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Use of certain drugs, such as opioids, which depress respiration

The doctor may want you to undergo a sleep study. In a sleep study, you might have to sleep at a hospital or sleep center overnight so the doctor can observe you sleeping. The doctor will monitor how many times you stop breathing during the night.

If you do have sleep apnea, the doctor will prescribe the best treatment. In mild cases, weight loss or other simple treatments may work. However, most cases will require the use of medical devices.

  • CPAP. The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device is the most frequently used device for treating sleep apnea. It is often used improperly, and the Mayo Clinic estimates that at least half of users are using it wrong.
  • Oral devices. For obstructive sleep apnea, an oral device that repositions your jaw can be an ideal alternative to the CPAP. It is less expensive, much less cumbersome, more comfortable, and protects your teeth from grinding.

Call Us for Help

If you’ve been suffering through restless nights, or your fellow sleepers are complaining about your snoring, contact sleep specialist Dr. Brown at Silent Night Therapy. We can find out the cause of your sleeplessness and get you the right treatment for the problem. Give us a call at  631-983-2463. We’re here to help you sleep.