Snoring is often dismissed as a minor nuisance, but it’s not. It’s a serious sleep breathing disorder that is inherently harmful and may be a sign of an even worse condition, sleep apnea. It hurts your sleep, and that of your partner. It can lead to physical health problems related to poor sleep, and it can put you at an increased risk of workplace or auto accidents. Fortunately, it can be treated, with the help of a professional. Before you throw money away on ineffective sleep treatments, you should be tested for sleep apnea and find out if a dentist can treat you.
Snoring Is Serious
See Dr. Firouzian discuss the dangers of snoring and sleep apnea on 10TV
It is not just a minor nuisance. It has many serious effects that make relief urgent.
It may be a sign of sleep apnea, when your breathing actually stops at night. Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition that contributes to many serious risks, from heart disease to car accidents. Snorers should be evaluated for sleep apnea before they decide on treatment.
Snoring can lead to atherosclerosis, hardened arteries caused by scarring of the blood vessels. Many researchers believe that the vibrations caused can create small cuts in the arteries, causing them to scar and harden. This can lead to partial clogging of the arteries, contributing to high blood pressure and increased stroke risk.
Snoring is also a sign that your airway is partly restricted during sleep. This means you’re getting less oxygen than you need when you sleep, leading to poor sleep quality. Your snoring can also awaken you many times during the night—even if you’re not aware of this. This puts you at risk for many health effects related to poor sleep.
And, of course, it doesn’t just impact you—it impacts others who live with you. Anyone who sleeps in the same bed or room with you is affected, but loud snoring can impact those who sleep in other rooms as well.
Snoring Causes and Treatments
There are many potential causes of snoring. You might investigate whether allergies and illness might be responsible for your intermittent or occasional snoring. You can try changing your sleep position so that you sleep on your side rather than on your back.
In many cases, though, snoring is related to a narrowing of your airway at night that is caused partly by your jaw. Your jaw is the primary support for your airway, and when your muscles relax at night, it becomes the only support. If your jaw isn’t in the right position, your airway will narrow or collapse. Putting your jaw in the right position will help hold your airway open.
If certain anatomical causes mean that repositioning the jaws isn’t enough to keep your airway open, surgery may be recommended, but surgery should be a last resort.