When we sleep at night, we are hoping to awake the next morning rested and re-energized. If your sleep is interrupted, not only do you feel tired, but it may affect your ability to perform as well in your professional capacity and to fully enjoy your leisure time activities.
Snoring is one factor which can interrupt your sleep. Snoring is caused by the relaxing of the muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth, making the air passage smaller, and the air has more difficulty moving through this space – with the resultant vibrations causing the snoring sound. You may not snore, but you may share a bed with someone who does – and then two people do not sleep well!
Sleep Apnea is another condition which can affect the quality of your sleep and overall energy level. There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea. The more common form, it is the result of blocked airflow during sleep, usually when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses while you sleep. Health factors, such as obesity may contribute.
- Central sleep apnea. Results from a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles. The airway is not blocked, instead the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath. This type of sleep apnea can occur with conditions such as heart failure, brain tumors, brain infections, and stroke.
Basically when you stop breathing during your sleep, your brain receives a signal to wake you up and start breathing again. Even if you do not remember these episodes, they disturb your sleep cycle. People with sleep apnea are at risk for higher incidences of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and depression. There are a number of ways to treat obstructive sleep apnea, including changing your sleep position, and CPAP devices (Constant Positive Air Pressure ) which you wear during the night. In our practice we can also prescribe a number of oral appliances which help prevent the airway from collapsing.