Sleep apnea is more than just snoring, though snoring is often a symptom of the condition. For most with this condition, a tissue collapse within the mouth creates an obstruction. The obstruction leads to a blockage that rattles during sleep and results in snoring.
The majority of apnea concerns are tied to oral obstruction of the breathing pathway. However, your apnea may be brain related. Central Sleep Apnea refers to a disconnect between the brain and the body. The muscles that control your breathing actually slow and may even stop when you’re in the deepest level of sleep.
This condition will require different care than standard apnea. While it is pretty rare, it needs to be ruled out before you can find the correct tool to reduce the restriction of the airway.
Reducing the impact of apnea may be as simple as changing your sleeping position. Some folks snore on their back but can sleep on their sides just fine. In these cases, using custom pillows to position your body comfortably on your side may be a simple way to correct the condition.
Another simple fix can be a mouth appliance. If your blockage is related to a recessed lower jaw that is worse when you try to sleep, a mandibular appliance that brings the lower jaw forward slightly can reduce the risk of tissue collapse.
Increase Your Overall Health
Allergy medications can reduce your risk of apnea. For example, if you struggle to breathe through your nose in the spring and fall, an air purifier near your bed may lower your risk of obstructed breathing.
Snoring is also common among those who are overweight. Because apnea can contribute to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, lowering your body weight can help you on many fronts. As you change your diet and move your body more, you may breathe easier in your sleep.
If you have large tonsils or scar tissue at the back of your mouth, a tonsillectomy can go a long way to helping you enjoy better sleep. Such procedures can also offer other benefits; for example, diseased or damaged tonsils can increase your risk of infection and even cause bad breath.
You can also reduce the size of your tongue if this is the primary source of airway blockage. Of course, there is a risk to any surgery. However, because this condition can damage your health and even shorten your life, such surgery may be the wisest choice.
It is possible to undergo a laser treatment for sleep apnea to lower your risk of blockage and snoring. This treatment tightens the tissues and firms the muscles at the soft palate and uvula. Unlike surgical procedures, your tonsils will stay put, but they will be out of the way.
Another option is to address the position of the tongue as you sleep. For example, if your tongue collapses back into the throat as you try to sleep, a hypoglossal nerve stimulator may provide relief. Instead of a mask and a hose to keep the airway open, you have a stimulator implanted that monitors your breathing. It also triggers the muscles at the back of your mouth to open and expand the airway when your breathing slows or stops. While there is surgery involved, no tissue is removed with this tool. Such a sleeping tool will provide you with a private benefit and the ability to move in your sleep.
Loose muscles at the back of the throat, the cheeks and the tongue contribute to snoring. If you’re unsure about a CPAP machine or other devices, try a daily tongue and face workout to tighten the muscles that can lower your tendency to snore.
These simple exercises can be done at your desk or while relaxing at night. By training your tongue to be stronger and by learning to breathe through your nose, you can sleep quietly and enjoy more energy.
Not everyone can handle the noise of a CPAP machine. Even if it reduces snoring, it may keep your partner awake. Finally, not everyone can tolerate wearing a mask. There are other ways to combat snoring.