Snoring is the noise made when the airway is compromised during sleep. When you breathe normally, there is no noise. Air passes quietly through the nose and past the flexible structures in the back of the throat, such as the soft palate, uvula, tonsils and tongue. While you are awake, muscles hold the airway open. When you fall asleep, these muscles relax, but normally the airway stays open and there is no noise.
Snoring occurs when the throat structures are abnormally large and/or when during sleep the throat muscles relax enough to cause the airway to collapse and partially obstruct air flow. As the lungs try to suck and push air past these obstructions, the structures vibrate as the air rushes past, and the sound we know as snoring occurs. While snoring may be harmless, it can also be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Obstruction sleep apnea occurs when there is a greater blockage of the airway and as a result, the person stops breathing for a period of time during sleep. This causes decreased levels of oxygen in the blood and has been shown to be linked to higher incidences of Hypertension Cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Snoring interrupts that restful, quiet sleep which is so important to our good health. Usually, people do not hear themselves snore, but snoring can cause disrupted sleep for both the individual that snores and their sleeping partner! This is known as “second hand snoring”. It can lead to daytime sleepiness and fatigue, which can affect one's ability to function effectively at home and/or work, and also could lead to health problems. It is important to eliminate snoring so everyone can get a restful night’s sleep and maintain good health.
If you snore, you are not alone. Statistics indicate that approximately 40% of adults over the age of 40 snore some or all the time. That number will continue to grow, because the factors that cause snoring continue to be prevalent in our population. Normal, smooth, unobstructed breathing is a key to getting a restful night’s sleep!
If you have any questions or concerns about sleep apnea or snoring, talk to one of The Pines Dental team members here in Welland, ON today.