Snoring & Sleep Apnea

The foundation of good health is a good nights sleep!

Without a good nights sleep, your body does not recover from the days activities.  Snoring and sleep apnea can have devastating effects on your health, your work and your relationships.

Snoring is a very common condition that affects both men and women.

Anyone who's been on the receiving end of someone who snores, knows how disruptive it can be to a good night's sleep. 

Snoring is LOUD! In fact, the loudest  recorded snore is 87 decibels, which is louder than a vacuum cleaner, and almost as loud as a lawnmower.

Snoring is particularly frustrating because the snorer is normally completely unaware of the problem.

They continue to sleep soundly while anyone within earshot has a sleepless night. As well as being a problem for a sleeping partner, snoring can also be a warning sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea has some serious implications for your health, so it's important to exclude this as the cause of your snoring before deciding on treatment.

Causes of snoring

When you go to sleep, the muscles at the back of your throat relax.

When this happens, your airway can narrow or close as you breathe. With your airway partly blocked a vibration occurs and snoring results. 

Snoring can be made worse by sleeping on your back, having a narrow or blocked nose, or having a small lower jaw. 

Drinking alcohol (especially near bedtime) and certain medications, can contribute to snoring.

Cigarette smoking, which can irritate the nose and throat, is often blamed also.

Should I get my snoring checked out?

If you snore, you should see your dentist (providing they have the necessary training) or your GP to arrange a referral to us to have a sleep study done to make sure you don't have obstructive sleep apnea.

If the answer is yes to any of the following, your risk is increased:

  • I snore loudly
  • I feel sleepy or fall asleep during the day
  • I am male
  • I'm told I stop breathing while I sleep
  • I am told I make gasping or choking sounds while I sleep
  • I have high blood pressure
  • I am overweight
  • I am over 50
  • I have a large neck size

Snoring Treatment

If your  dentist or GP thinks your snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, he or she may ask you to undertake a sleep apnea assessment.  This can be done at home and we can provide you with the details needed to arrange this assessment.

Treatments for sleep apnea often work for snoring too, even if you don't have  diagnosed sleep apnea. In addition, snoring can be treated with other techniques, including laser treatment.

One of the simplest treatments for snoring is a sleep appliance.  Worn in your mouth while you sleep, a sleep appliance moves your lower jaw forward to prevent your tongue and the soft tissue in your mouth falling back and blocking your airway while you sleep.

Click here to read about treatment options for sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious and relatively common condition. 750,000 Australians have problems with their health due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It has been linked to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Work accidents
  • Diabetes
  • Car and truck accidents
  • Stroke

What causes sleep apnea?

When you go to sleep, the muscles at the back of your throat relax. When this happens, your airway can narrow or close as you breathe.

Because your airway is partly blocked, snoring results. If the airway becomes completely blocked, you can't get any air into your lungs.

This can happen many times a night without you being aware of it. You may think you slept all night.

But obstructive sleep apnea causes poor quality sleep and often results in sleepiness during the day. 

Your brain responds to the low oxygen level in your blood by briefly waking you from sleep so that you can take a breath. Your partner may notice that you make a gasping or choking sound.