Is Snoring making you Tired?
Sleep Disordered Breathing
Did you know that you spend one-third of your life asleep? Yes, it's true, which means the quality of your sleep has a very real impact on the quality of your life.
What is Sleep Disordered Breathing?
What causes snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Apnea is Greek for "without breath," where the tongue is completely sucked against the back of the throat and blocks breathing. Snoring is caused by a narrowing of the upper airway during sleep. This can be due to large tonsils, a long uvula (the small piece of soft tissue that dangles from the soft palate over the back of the tongue) or excessive flabby tissue in the throat. All of these areas relax during sleep. In other cases, nasal congestion from allergies or deformities of the cartilage between the two sides of the nose can contribute to narrowing of the airway. However, the most common cause of narrowing of the upper airway is a tongue muscle that becomes too relaxed during sleep. When relaxed, the muscle is sucked into the back of the throat with each breath taken. Snoring occurs when air travels faster through a narrow tube than through a broad one. This rapidly moving air causes the relaxed soft tissues of the throat to vibrate. It is this vibration that creates the sound of snoring. By keeping the airway open, air travels more slowly, reducing throat vibrations and thus reducing or stopping snoring. One of the most effective ways to keep the airway open during sleep is by holding the tongue forward. Snoring can progress into a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Airway obstruction causes the heart rate to fall below normal, with decreases in blood oxygen levels. The obstruction will not clear until oxygen levels to the brain fall low enough to partly wake the sleeper with a release of adrenaline. This is an automatic body reaction and is intended to prevent suffocation. The airway obstruction is usually broken with one or several gasps to take in fresh air. This event may happen hundreds of times a night for someone who suffers from OSA, which means the sleeper does not get a deep, restorative sleep. Such a condition greatly affects body chemistry and poses many serious health risks.