Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring can be annoying and may disrupt your bed partner’s sleep. But did you know it disrupts your sleep quality as well?
While some people simply have snoring problems, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which can increase the risk for serious health issues.
To get proper treatment for either condition, an appropriate diagnosis is needed. Expert ENT Dr. Tadros can quickly diagnose your sleep condition located in our Manhattan, New York or NJ office.
What Causes Snoring?
If you snore, your throat relaxes too much in your sleep. This causes the tissues in the throat to partially block the airway causing it to vibrate and create the annoying snoring sound.
Depending on the person, snoring can be quiet or extremely loud. Almost everyone snores once in a while, however if you snore constantly, it can be a sign of bigger health issues.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is similar to snoring where the airway is blocked while you are sleeping. However, people with sleep apnea stop breathing in their sleep. This can last from 10 seconds up to one minute.
The 3 types of sleep apnea include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common type of sleep apnea. This is where your throat muscles relax and block your airway
- Central sleep apnea: In central sleep apnea the brain is not sending the body the signal that it needs to breathe. Rather than stopping to breathe, people with central sleep apnea experience shallow breathing and then overbreathing.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome: This is when your breathing starts and stops during your sleep. Complex sleep apnea is less common than the other types.
The symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea are similar. However, there are some differences.
The symptoms of snoring include:
- Restless sleep
- Sore throat when you wake up
- Feeling tired
- Morning headaches
- Difficult concentrating
- Chest pain
The symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Restless sleep and waking up gasping for air
- Dry mouth when waking
- Sleepiness during the day
- Stopped breathing during sleep
- Decreased libido
- High blood pressure
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment
Even if your snoring isn’t bothering you too much, it is probably disturbing your partner. Snoring may also be a sign of a more serious condition such as blocked airways, obesity, or a deviated septum.
To treat your snoring some options may include losing weight, sleeping on your side, elevating your head when you sleep, treating your allergies, and avoiding alcohol or sedatives before bed.
If these options don’t work for you, you may need to work on the structure of your nose. If you have a deviated septum surgery may be an option for you. Talk to your ENT in NY or NJ to find out if you have a deviated septum and how to treat it.
Treating sleep apnea is a little more difficult than treating snoring. But, there are some things you can try. The first, and most important, is losing weight. This will help you breathe easier at night. You can also try changing your sleeping position and seeing what works for you. For most people, sleeping on their side helps. Try using a humidifier if the air in your house is too dry. You can use essential oils for a nice smell in your home.
Some of these at home remedies may reduce the symptoms of your sleep apnea, however you should still see a qualified sleep apnea doctor to treat your symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe medications or recommend surgery.
Dr. Monica Tadros, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a distinguished Sinus, Sleep and Facial Plastic Surgeon and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. She is one of a small number of surgeons to attain double board certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.