Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2022 at 10:04 pm
Is My Snoring Sleep Apnea?
Snoring is definitely a pain, especially for our sleep partners. But did you know that snoring can also be a sign that you are suffering from sleep apnea.
How can you know the difference?
The only way to know whether your snoring is related to sleep apnea is a sleep test, but you can definitely ask yourself some simple questions that will give you insight into whether your snoring may in fact be related to sleep apnea.
Question One – How loud is your snoring?
Snoring occurs when your airway narrows while sleeping which leads to changes in the airflow that then causes vibrations in your nose, mouth or throat.
Sleep Apnea occurs when your airway isn’t just narrow, but actually collapses when sleeping which cuts off your body’s air supply.
The level of your snoring can actually tell you when airway narrowing is more likely to lead to collapse. Deep, loud snoring means that the airway is narrowing in your mouth or throat where collapse is more likely.
High-pitched snoring can mean there is narrowing in your nose and is less likely to be linked to airway collapse. Meaning, it is less likely to be related to sleep apnea.
Question Two – Does your snoring end in gasping and choking?
Many times your sleep partner can and will actually hear your airway collapsing. This sounds more like a snore that ends in gasping and or choking. Often times there may even be a slight pause between when your snoring stops (because you are essentially being strangled by your throat) and then your gasping or choking starts (your brain is detecting oxygen shortages and fights to start breathing again).
When this happens you may even wake from your sleep, but many times you will not. In this state, it is possible that you stop breathing hundreds of times in your sleep – not even knowing it. For our sleep partners, this all is very frightening.
What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
Snoring is definitely a very noticeable symptom, but it is not the only one. Here are other symptoms to be aware of:
- Waking up tired, even after a full night’s sleep.
- Having a headache when you immediately wake up.
- Going to the bathroom often at night.
- Feeling sleepy during the day.
- Literally dozing off during the day, at work, watching TV or even while driving.
- Needing extra caffeine in the morning to feel energized.
- Loss of interest in things that you enjoy.
- General difficulty concentrating.
- Memory loss.
Some of these symptoms may seem “normal”. Nowadays it is common to hear people say, “everyone is tired” or “we all need coffee in the morning.” This is definitely true in many of our lives, however, that does not mean that one may not be suffering from sleep apnea, that is undiagnosed.
If any of this resonates for you, your sleep partner or even your friends and family, it is wise to consider the next steps to get a sleep study done.
What Are Your Next Steps?
A sleep test is the only true way to diagnose sleep apnea and if in fact what you are experiencing is sleep apnea. Traditional tests are done in a sleep lab, but many major medical insurance companies now recognize take home sleep studies. These studies are done in the comfort of your own bed and home. The readings that are measured while you sleep are analyzed by a Pulmonologist and you will then get your true diagnosis of whether you are suffering with mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea.
Your best treatment will depend on your sleep apnea. The gold standard has always been a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (CPAP). However, in recent years many Doctors are recommending the use of oral appliance therapy. Even patients diagnosed with severe sleep apnea who have been CPAP intolerant, oral appliance therapy has great success with these patients.
Meet Our Sleep Apnea Team at Babylon Dental Care
Do you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea? Let our sleep dentist, Dr Clifford Brown and his team help you get a take home sleep test. If your test shows that you are in fact suffering from Sleep Apnea, Dr Brown can create a custom sleep appliance for you.
Dr Brown has over 20 years of experience in oral appliance therapy. Our sleep team will work with you to navigate the process, as well as, ensuring your needed care is covered by your medical insurance company.
To learn more about taking the first steps in seeking treatment, contact us.
Or take 3 minutes to take our sleep assessment now. Together we look forward to returning you to a safe and restful night’s sleep.
Posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2022 at 3:10 pm
Signs Your Snoring Might Be Dangerous
Noisy snoring is often a plot device used to initiate strife between new couples. While it is played up for laughs, snoring may be a dangerous sign of a more troubling condition. Snoring isn’t just a distraction, and it doesn’t just impact partners sharing a bedroom. Snoring can dramatically impact a person’s health and the quality of their sleep.
At Silent Night Therapy, we want to help shed light on the often-overlooked dangerous impacts of snoring and what you can do to get a better night’s rest.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring is the loud, hoarse, or harsh sound of air causing tissues in the throat to vibrate. When the air a person breathes passes over these relaxed tissues, the vibration makes an audible sound. At some point in life, almost everyone will snore. Allergies, colds, and congestion can cause acute bouts of snoring. Chronic snoring, however, can be a sign of a more serious health condition.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is one condition that can cause excessive or persistent snoring. The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, an individual will stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. In people with obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is typically disrupted by a complete or partial blockage of the throat. Relaxed soft tissue is generally the source of this blockage. The disruption in breathing can wake a person up, cause them to gasp or choke, and prevent them from getting a full and restful night’s sleep.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring is often one of the most prominent symptoms of sleep apnea. Loud and chronic snoring that seems to have no other apparent cause can sometimes be attributed to some form of sleep apnea. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Gasping or choking at night
- Dry mouth the following morning
- Sore throat
- Morning headaches
- Changes in mood or irritability
- Nighttime sweating
- Daytime drowsiness
- Difficulty concentrating
Individuals who are overweight, smoke, or are over the age of 50 tend to be at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. However, it is a condition that can impact anyone.
Sleep apnea is a significant medical condition. Sleep apnea can impact the quality of a person’s sleep, dramatically impacting their ability to function. Studies have linked sleep apnea to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep apnea can also exacerbate heart conditions and may lead to an increased risk of a heart attack.
Snoring and Oral Appliances
You or your partner don’t have to live with snoring and sleep apnea. There are several ways to treat the condition, and an oral appliance may be a solution worth looking into. An oral appliance is worn inside the mouth, almost like a mouthguard for sports, but is much more comfortable. These devices are custom-fitted and help re-align the jaw and tongue. When fitted and worn properly, the device helps keep the upper airway open and free from obstruction. This allows air to flow more freely, preventing snoring and treating sleep apnea.
Schedule a Sleep Consultation
Constantly waking up feeling like you didn’t get enough sleep? Do you snore or have a partner that complains about your snoring? Get in touch with a sleep professional at Silent Night Therapy and schedule your own sleep consultation.
At Silent Night Therapy, we can help diagnose and treat your underlying sleep issues. If you are ready to get the best sleep of your life, contact our office online today or call us at 631-983-2463 to schedule your sleep consultation.
Posted on Monday, September 13th, 2021 at 7:41 pm
Choosing the best sleeping position is about more than just comfort. If you suffer from sleep apnea, the way you position your body could significantly affect the quality of sleep you’re getting.
Even though you might feel the most comfortable in one specific position and can’t seem to fall asleep in another no matter what you do, your preference for that particular sleep position could be preventing you from getting a full night’s sleep. Additionally, your chosen sleeping position could increase how often and how intensely your sleep apnea episodes occur.
Below are the most common sleeping positions people turn to and which ones you should use to improve your sleep quality and reduce the number of sleep apnea episodes you experience while sleeping.
Sleeping on Your Side
Sleeping on your side is the most recommended position for someone suffering from sleep apnea. You can ease some of the symptoms, such as snoring. An added benefit is that side-sleeping can also manage symptoms of other conditions, such as acid reflux.
When you sleep on your right side, it encourages blood flow and maximizes lung capacity. Your best option is to stretch out your body entirely while you sleep. If you curl up into the fetal position, it could worsen your sleep apnea symptoms or increase the frequency of your episodes.
Sleeping on Your Back
If you sleep on your back, you might experience frequent and severe episodes of sleep apnea. That’s because it is the worst sleeping position you could use. When you lie down on your back, the soft tissue and tongue relax towards the back of the throat, blocking the airway. When the brain doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs, it forces a person awake to gasp for air.
Unfortunately, some people can’t seem to get comfortable in a new sleeping position. If you have always slept on your back and failed at trying a different position, you might be stuck. However, there are some things you could try to make this position more optimal for your quality of sleep.
Be sure to sleep on a firm mattress. A firm mattress can provide the support your spine needs. You should also place a pillow underneath your knees to relieve pressure on your back.
Instead of sleeping with the back of your head on the pillow, turn your head to either side. This can prevent your tongue from relaxing and obstructing your airway. Elevating your head can also keep your airway open.
Even if you’re able to fall asleep in a better position, you might find yourself waking up each morning on your back anyway. You could avoid this by surrounding your body with pillows so you can’t roll over in your sleep.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Positioning your body on your stomach is another good way to manage your sleep apnea symptoms. It’s not the best option, but it’s better than sleeping on your back.
When you’re lying on your stomach, gravity works to pull your tongue and soft tissue down so they don’t block your airway. There’s also less of a chance that you’ll snore if you sleep on your stomach.
You should use a soft pillow and position your head comfortably to avoid placing tension on your shoulder or neck. If your head faces down instead of to the side, you can prevent airway obstruction. Some manufacturers design pillows specifically for stomach sleepers so you don’t have to smash your face into the pillow while you’re sleeping.
Additional Options to Manage Sleep Apnea
You might have tried conventional methods to reduce or eliminate your sleep apnea episodes. You might have even turned to a CPAP machine.
If you’re looking for alternative options, you should consider specific lifestyle changes. The most common include:
- Avoid smoking and drinking – Cigarettes and alcohol exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. If you eliminate them from your life, you could potentially alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall quality of sleep.
- Lose weight – Obesity can worsen sleep apnea episodes. If you lose fat around your upper airways and maintain a healthy weight, you could avoid airway obstruction while you sleep.
- Exercise – Everyone knows the many benefits of exercise. Managing sleep apnea is one of them. If you increase your physical activity, you improve not only your overall health but also lose the fat that pushes against your upper airways.
If you suffer from sleep apnea and want to discuss your treatment options, do not hesitate to contact Silent Night Therapy. We can review your symptoms to offer a proper diagnosis and advise you about whether oral appliance therapy is right for you.
Call us at 631-983-2463 today for your complimentary consultation.
Posted on Friday, July 31st, 2020 at 9:16 pm
Snoring is extremely common in adults. In fact, about 90 million Americans suffer from snoring, either temporarily or semi-permanently. This could be because they have a cold or allergies, or it might be because of obesity or sleep apnea.
Some factors that frequently contribute to snoring are:
- Sleep deprivation – the more tired you are once you finally fall asleep, the more your throat muscles will relax, which can cause increased snoring.
- Sleeping position – snoring is less likely to occur when sleeping on your side, but more likely to occur if you sleep on your back.
- Nasal and sinus problems – abnormalities in your sinuses can contribute to snoring because your air passages may be more clogged than usual.
- Sinus and oral anatomy – a longer uvula, deviated septum, and narrow nasal passageways can all make snoring worse.
While snoring is a common occurrence, it could be harmful for some people. Snoring could lead to issues including:
- Dangerous drop in blood oxygen levels
- Cardiovascular issues, including heart disease or heart attacks
- Narrowing of the arteries in the neck due to fatty deposits, leading to strokes
- Daytime sleepiness due to lack of adequate rest
- Irritability, mood swings and other mental health issues.
Contact an OSA Expert at Silent Night Therapy
If you or your partner snore at night, this might be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition, such as sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. Oftentimes, snoring is caused by factors that are easy to fix, but if sleep apnea is the culprit, more rigorous treatment may be necessary. The experts at Silent Night Therapy are here to guide you through the process.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our dedication to our clients remains strong. We have altered the nature of our services to better serve and protect you during these times by offering virtual consultations. You do not even need to leave the safety of your home to get tested for sleep apnea – we can mail an at-home kit right to your door. Call us at 631-983-2463 or fill out a contact form on our website today to learn more about our services.
Posted on Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 6:27 pm
Although snoring is widely accepted and is often made light of in our society, it can often point to more serious health concerns. Snoring can be an indicator of sleep apnea, which is a condition that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. For some people, these pauses can last up to a minute — or more. This sleep condition is more prevalent in those who are overweight, and tends to worsen with age.
While some occasional, light snoring isn’t considered to be a significant issue, persistent, heavy snoring can impede sleep quality. In severe cases, it can be beneficial to seek medical advice to ensure a good night of restful sleep.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is mainly caused by a physical obstruction of airflow through the nose and mouth. There are several different ways that airflow can be obstructed, including:
- Blocked Nasal Passages: Snoring is common for those who are suffering from seasonal colds or sinus infections. Additionally, deviated septums and internal nasal growths may be the culprit.
- Weak Throat and Tongue Muscles: Your mouth and throat are filled with muscles that help you chew, swallow, and digest food. If these muscles are weakened, they can collapse and fall back into your airway. Weakened throat and tongue muscles can be caused by alcohol or medication. These muscles also naturally weaken with age.
- Bulky Throat Tissue: Those who are overweight, have large tonsils, or bulky nasal tissue, are more likely to snore while sleeping.
- Oversized Uvula and Soft Palate: Your uvula and palate are soft tissues that, when oversized, can obstruct your airway passages while you sleep. As air travels through, these soft tissues can vibrate and come into contact with one another — causing you to snore.
Health Concerns and Risks
Snoring can be an indicator of more severe health issues, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can lead to several problems, such as:
- Prolonged interruptions in breathing
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Light sleep
- Heavier strain on the heart
- Higher blood pressure
- Enlargement of the heart
- Increased risk for heart attack
- Increased risk for stroke
- Increased risk for car accidents
- Impeded quality of life
When You Should Seek Help For Snoring
If you notice that heavy, persistent snoring is disrupting your quality of sleep, it may be beneficial to talk about treatment options with a trained sleep specialist like Dr. Brown and the team at Silent Night Therapy. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep, and we’ll be here to find the solution that will help you get it. Schedule your complimentary consultation with us by calling (631) 983-2463 or by filling out a contact form today.
Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019 at 9:32 pm
While normal breathing is done through the nose, some people naturally breathe through their mouth. The main reason for breathing through the mouth is nasal congestion, due to chronic sinusitis, inflammation, allergies, or a deviated septum. However, there is a significant population of people that breathe through the mouth due to their sleep apnea.
During a sleep apnea episode, a person suddenly stops breathing. When the oxygen level dips, a person starts breathing in a way that causes loud snoring. A person will suddenly gasp or gulp in air as quickly as possible. Because of this phenomenon, an individual may develop a habit of breathing with the mouth open to accommodate the need for more oxygen.
Studies have found that breathing through the mouth makes obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) worse. Many doctors will prescribe oral appliances since mouth breathing is so prevalent in sleep apnea patients.
If you are naturally a mouth breather, here are a few suggestions that will make a difference in your sleep. You must be able to breathe clearly through your nose, so finding out the cause of nasal congestion is helpful. Reduce potential allergens such as dander, dust, or dairy foods. Ensure that your bedding is clean, so change sheets and pillowcases regularly. Oral appliances, saline rinses, and other measures are also helpful. Regular exercise is essential to reduce obstructive sleep apnea. It is crucial that patients to stop breathing through their mouth, and learn to breathe through the nose since nasal breathing decreases the severity of OSA.
Stopping oral breathing is a crucial step to take for people who are dealing with sleep apnea. If you have more questions about OSA and mouth breathing, consult with the sleep experts at Silent Night Therapy. We can be reached at (631) 983-2463, or reach out to us online for help.
Posted on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018 at 7:51 pm
Snoring may be the result of how a person’s nose or jaw is shaped, or it may be caused by other factors that result in the narrowing of a person’s airway. When this occurs, relaxed tissues in a person’s throat can vibrate, which is more commonly referred to as snoring.
While many people may be completely unaware of their snoring problems, the issues are far less likely to be overlooked by those people’s spouses or significant others they share beds with. In such cases, snoring can interfere with the other person’s ability to get a peaceful night’s rest.
As the Mayo Clinic notes, snoring is often associated with the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but not all snorers necessarily have OSA. In many cases, snoring issues may be resolved through simple lifestyle changes or possibly even medical devices or surgery.
Causes of Snoring
Snoring can be the result of multiple factors. While the anatomy of a person’s mouth and sinuses will undoubtedly be a factor, some of the other contributing factors to snoring include, but are not limited to:
- Alcohol Consumption — Alcohol can relax your throat muscles and decrease defenses against airway obstruction.
- Sleep Position — People who sleep on their back often snore the loudest and most frequently.
- Sleep Deprivation — A lack of sleep can increase throat relaxation and make a person more likely to snore.
- Nasal Problems — Any number of nasal issues can impact a person’s airways and cause or contribute to snoring.
Certain people can be more predisposed to snoring. Men are much more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women, and people who are overweight can also be more likely to snore.
Ways to Stop Snoring
People have several different options they can try to stop snoring problems. Some of the most common methods include:
- Changing Sleeping Position — Again, many snorers sleep on their back, and switching to sleeping on their side can solve some snoring problems. A body pillow can be helpful for people who have difficulty adjusting to sleeping on their side.
- Weight Loss — Snoring often affects people who are overweight, and losing weight may be the solution for individuals who only began snoring after gaining additional weight.
- Get More Sleep — Many people who develop snoring habits also have poor sleeping habits. A lack of adequate sleep can contribute to snoring problems.
- Adjust Your Setting — In some cases, snoring issues may be resolved through a simple change of the pillow a person has been sleeping on. In other cases, other contributing factors within a bedroom such as dust mites from ceiling fans and window shades or pet dander could cause snoring.
- Stay Hydrated — Make sure to drink plenty of water (not alcohol though) so your nose and palate do not suffer from dehydration issues that cause snoring.
When a person tries multiple methods to reduce or eliminate snoring unsuccessfully, they should consult with their doctors about possible OSA or related issues.
Are you or your loved one dealing with a snoring issue? Unfortunately, snoring may not always be resolved with a single quick fix, and some people require individualized solutions. Contact Dr. Brown and the OSA team today by calling (631) 983-2463 or contact us online to let us see how we can help.