Your spouse approaches the bedroom door. The sounds coming from inside are, frankly, terrifying. Halloween may be over, but this nightmare is never ending.
As your spouse climbs into bed, the sounds seem to get louder. After trying — and failing — to drown out the noise, your spouse gives up.
And gives you a shove.
“Wake up. You need to stop snoring or go sleep somewhere else.”
You groggily walk to the living room to sleep on the couch. It doesn’t take long for the snoring to resume, but you are far enough away now that your spouse can finally fall asleep.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you or your spouse may have sleep apnea. If so, Dr. David Miller and our team at Advanced Dental Concepts want to help.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing repeatedly when he or she falls asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea — the most common form of this disorder — is often accompanied by loud, constant snoring.
When people have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), their airways become blocked when they fall asleep. These blockages can last anywhere from 10 seconds to more than a minute, and they can occur dozens of times every hour a person is asleep. Or at least, trying to sleep.
Since your breathing stoppages are connected to falling asleep, your body responds to this by waking you up just long enough to take a few breaths. As you drift back to sleep, the muscles around your neck relax. This allows soft tissues to press into your airway.
As your airway opening narrows, this can amplify the sound of your snoring. (Just ask your spouse.)
This cycle of falling asleep, snoring, waking, and falling back asleep prevents you from reaching the stages of deep sleep. Without deep sleep, you can suffer from sleep deprivation. This lack of quality sleep can leave you feeling irritable and suffering from daytime sleepiness.
People with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to be involved in car accidents and to have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and strokes.
In other words, you have plenty of reason to want to treat your sleep apnea — including how much your snoring is interfering with your spouse’s sleep, too.
The key to treating sleep apnea is finding a way for you to keep breathing when you fall asleep. For someone with obstructive sleep apnea, this means keeping your airway open.
One option is a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. With this machine, the patient wears a mask while he or she is asleep. The machine pushes air through a hose into the mask and into your airway. The idea is that this air will force your airway to remain open, so you can keep breathing.
For some people this is a great solution. For other people, the machine itself becomes a source of frustration. Some people have trouble finding a mask that is comfortable. Some people find the sound of the machine itself keeps them awake.
If a CPAP doesn’t work for you or your spouse, then it might be time to give Dr. Miller a call instead.
A dentist may not be the first people you think of when you find out that you have a sleep disorder. For many people with OSA, dentists can be real lifesavers.
If a CPAP doesn’t work for you, a special oral appliance could be the solution to your problem. At Advanced Dental Concepts, we can create a custom-made appliance for you to wear while you sleep.
This is similar to a mouthguard, but with a very different purpose. This appliance shifts your lower jaw forward. This helps to keep your airway open.
You will need some time to get used to wearing this while you sleep, but as you adjust, the quality of your sleep can improve drastically. Likewise, the time you spend snoring can decrease significantly as well.
If you want a better night’s sleep, call (916) 945-9985 or contact our Roseville, CA dentist office online. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Miller to learn if our sleep apnea solution could be right for you.