Before We Explain The Types Of Exercise Used To Strengthen Oropharyngeal Muscles Lets Talk About Why You Are Snoring
How you snore reveals why you snore. This is an important first step in deciding which exercises are right for you.
- Open-mouth snoring is related to weak tissue in the throat. During sleep, your muscles relax, therefore obstructing your airways.
- Closed-mouth snoring is related to the tongue. During sleep, your tongue may fall back into your throat and obstruct airways.
- Snoring when sleeping on your back is regarded as mild snoring, which can be improved with certain lifestyle changes and/or sleeping habits. Obesity and regular drinking can put you at a heightened risk for this type of snoring.
IMPORTANT: Snoring in all sleep positions may be the sign of a more severe sleeping condition and may require more comprehensive treatment. A home sleep testing kit provided by South Florida Snoring and Sleep Center is the best first step in concluding the underlying causes of your condition.
What Sleep Apnea Treatment Is Best For Me
You and your doctor should always come up with that answer together. The medical community regards CPAP treatment as the gold standard. Oral appliances may be effective for those with mild-to-moderate OSA or those with severe symptoms who cannot use CPAP.
This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice. If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.
Surgery For Sleep Apnea
The most common types of surgery for sleep apnea include:
- Nasal surgery. This fixes nasal problems such as a deviated septum.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty . This takes out soft tissue from the back of your throat and palate, making your airway wider at the opening of your throat.
- Mandibular maxillomandibular advancement surgery. This fixes certain facial problems or throat blockages that play a role in sleep apnea.
Automatic Positive Airway Pressure
If a CPAP machine doesnât help or causes problems, your doctor may prescribe an automatic positive airway pressure machine. It props your airway open while you sleep so nothing can block it. Different from the CPAP machine, the APAP machine adjusts how much pressure it gives you while you sleep based on your needs.
What Are The Signs Of Sleep Apnea
There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when air cant flow into or out of the nose or mouth, although youre trying to breathe. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to your muscles to make you start breathing.
Sleep apnea may be noticed more by the bed partner than by the sleeper, says Jun. Your bed partner might notice that your breathing pauses, or they may complain of your loud snoring.
That said, snoring itselfthough annoyingisnt the same as sleep apnea. Snoring is just the vibration sound created by airway resistance. You can snore loudly and not have sleep apnea, and you may even have sleep apnea without much snoring.
People with sleep apnea might also suffer from unexplained fatigue and mood swings, because their breathing interruptions continually wake them and prevent them from settling into a deep, nourishing sleep.
The consequences can be significant, Jun says. We’re talking about car accidents in the daytime, lost productivity at work, mood swings, waking up feeling groggy and falling asleep in class.
Other sufferers might wake up with a dry mouth, since sleep apnea tends to make you breathe with an open mouth, drying out your saliva. Some awaken with a headache, which may be caused by low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels during sleep.
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What To Expect After 24 Hours Without Sleep
Missing 24 hours of sleep isnt uncommon. You might miss a night of sleep to work, cram for a test, or take care of a sick child. While it might be unpleasant to stay up all night, it wont have a significant impact on your overall health.
Still, missing a night of sleep does affect you. Studies have compared 24-hour wakefulness to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent. This is above the legal limit to drive in most states.
Some effects of going 24 hours without sleep include:
Sleep Apnea Test Faqs
Is a Home Sleep Test Uncomfortable or Painful?
While all sleep studies can come with some level of discomfort, home sleep tests are far more comfortable and convenient than in-lab sleep studiesnot to mention far cheaper in most cases, even with insurance. Rather than going to a sleep lab or hospital and trying to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, HSTs allow you to sleep in your bed, at home, while still having your biometric data monitored. The device is small and relatively uncomplicated and you should be able to sleep normally while wearing it.
How Long Do I Have to Be Asleep?
We advise that, when undergoing your HST, you stick to your normal bedtime routine. You shouldnt behave any differently during your pre-bedtime routine than you would on any other night and try to get to bed and wake up around your usual timeswhich should constitute a full nights sleep. Once you are wearing the device properly, turn it on when you get into bed even if you dont fall asleep right away. The best rule is to try to get at least 3 straight hours of uninterrupted sleep for more accurate results.
What If I Wake Up During the Night?
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When Are Mouth Guards Considered
Some people who have sleep wear a plastic mouth guard at night. This pulls their lower jaw forward and keeps it there while they sleep. It can stop their tongue from moving back and blocking their airways. Mouth guards can be used to treat milder forms of sleep apnea or as an alternative for people who have trouble using a machine. Some people find wearing a mouth guard at night unpleasant, though. It may cause increased flow of saliva, a dry mouth, and feelings of pressure or pain in the jaw joint.
Mouth guards are fitted by dentists and orthodontists. In Germany, the costs are usually not covered by health insurance companies. Pre-adjusted mouth guards are also available, but it’s a good idea to have a dentist fit them individually.
What Can Be Expected From Surgery
There are different types of surgery to permanently improve breathing in people who have sleep . Most procedures tighten or remove tissue in order to widen the airways.
- A special procedure known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or UPPP, is used to tighten the uvula and remove soft tissue from the palate . These tissues narrow the airways in people who have sleep . The tonsils may also be removed or reduced in size during this procedure.
- In a technique known as radiofrequency ablation , a small probe is used to remove tissue from the palate, the nasal cavity or tonsils. This causes scars that pull at the tissue, tightening it.
- The palate tissue can also be tightened using a laser. This method is rarely used nowadays, though, not least because it’s so painful.
- In some people, the lower jaw is shifted backward so far that it impairs breathing. In this case the jaw can be moved forward surgically.
Whether a particular operation can help will mainly depend on what’s causing the constriction of the airways. But it’s still not clear how effective the various procedures are and who benefits most from them. There are only very few and very small-scale studies on this.
Each of the procedures has risks such as bleeding, pain, or trouble swallowing. The likelihood of side effects depends on the type of surgery. Before any surgical procedure, doctors are required to tell you about any side effects you might have.
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Limiting Alcohol And Sedatives
Alcohol and sedative medications cause slackening of the tissues near the airway, contributing to a heightened risk of airway collapse and OSA. Alcohol can cause fragmented and lower-quality sleep because of its effects on sleep cycles. For these reasons, reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and sedatives, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, is frequently advised for patients with OSA.
Symptoms Others May Notice Include:
- Episodes of not breathing , which may occur as few as 5 times an hour to 30 or more times an hour . How many episodes you have determines how severe your sleep apnea is.
- Loud snoring. Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore. But not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
- Restless tossing and turning during sleep.
- Nighttime choking or gasping spells.
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Is There A Sleep Apnea Cure
Is there a sleep apnea cure? For central sleep apnea: No. For obstructive sleep apnea: possibly surgery , though its highly invasive, requires a special plug or tube to talk normally, and other harmful potential side effects common to any surgery. While this was the primary treatment for severe OSA before CPAP was invented, today its usually only used in very severe cases that cannot be otherwise treated, due to its risks and life-altering nature. 1
Aside from surgery, there are many falsely labeled cures that will not solve your OSA, though they may help reduce your OSA symptoms. You should talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of each. And always ask your doctor before trying any sort of medical treatment, homeopathic or otherwise.
Can Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain
It also appears that OSA patients, in particular, may be more susceptible to weight gain than people who have the same BMI and health status but do not suffer from sleep apnea. This is illustrated in one study that showed people with OSA gained significantly more weight in the year leading up to their OSA diagnosis compared with BMI-matched people without OSA.
Sleep apnea can also deplete people of the energy they need to maintain a healthy body weight. Daytime sleepiness is a common sleep apnea symptom, resulting from fragmented, unrefreshing sleep. Evidence suggests excessive sleepiness may lead sleep apnea sufferers to exert less physical activity during waking hours. This may be particularly problematic for obese people, who frequently experience more shortness of breath and chest discomfort with physical effort, resulting in limited exercise. Without dietary changes, decreased activity levels can lead to additional weight gain.
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Holistic Ways To Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea
1. Trim down. Shedding about 10 percent of your body weight can send sleep apnea into total or near-total remission, according to a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine study involving more than 260 obese, diabetic participants with sleep apnea. In fact, losing just 5 or 10 pounds improves symptoms, while gaining 5 to 10 pounds worsens them.
2. Avoid alcohol. As a sedative, alcohol deepens sleep, relaxing the muscles and making them more prone to collapse, says Pascualy. Alcohol also depresses breathing and makes it harder for your brain to rouse you from sleep, so the apneas become more frequent and severe. Avoid alcohol six hours or more before sleep. For similar reasons, avoid sleeping pills, and talk to your doctor about any headache or allergy medications.
3. Quit smoking. Cigarettes increase swelling in the upper airway and thereby exacerbate sleep apnea, says the National Sleep Foundation.
4. Clear your sinuses. If your nose is chronically stuffy, identify potential allergens in your environment or intolerances in your diet . An allergy doctor can screen for sensitivities, or you can keep a log of the foods you eat, your environment, and congestion levels. You might also try elimination diets, in which you cut out suspect foods for a couple of weeks, and see if the stuffiness eases. Once youve identified any allergens, you can work on avoiding them. At night, you can further clear your sinuses, Pascualy suggests, by rinsing them with a neti pot or saline sprays.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms
The main symptoms of OSA include:
- Loud snoring
- Daytime sleepiness because of sleep interruptions
- Morning headaches
- Trouble sleeping all night
You might also notice other medical conditions like high blood pressure getting worse, says Steven Holfinger, MD, a sleep medicine expert at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. For example, your blood pressure readings may increase as a result of OSA.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, “You should talk with your primary care doctor or see a sleep specialist for further care,” Holfinger says.
In most cases, physicians will conduct a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea. During the sleep study your breathing will be monitored and doctors will measure two main factors:
1. Apneas where you do not breath for at least 10 seconds.
2. Hypopnea where you have restricted breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time.
If you have five or more apneas or hypopneas per hour, you will likely be diagnosed with sleep apnea. If you have 30 or more you’ll be considered to have severe sleep apnea.
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Treating Sleep Apnea At Home
You may be able to treat mild sleep apnea with some lifestyle changes. Your doctor may recommend that you:
- Lose weight. About half of people with sleep apnea are overweight. If you have some extra weight, you might also have extra tissue in your throat that makes it harder to breathe. Losing weight — even a few pounds — can often improve your symptoms.
- Donât use alcohol and sleeping pills. They decrease the muscle tone in the back of your throat, which can interfere with air flow.
- Change sleep positions. You may breathe more easily if you stay off your back. Hereâs a trick to keep from rolling over: Put two tennis balls into a tube sock and pin it to the back of your pajamas.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can increase swelling in your upper airway, which may make both snoring and apnea worse.
- Treat allergies. Nasal allergies swell the tissues in your airways and make them narrower, so itâs harder to breathe. Ask your doctor how to get them under control.
Is It Sleep Apnea Or Just Snoring
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. So how do you tell the difference between normal snoring and a more serious case of sleep apnea?
The biggest telltale sign is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring doesnt interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so youre less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day. The way you sound when youre snoring also provides clues. As mentioned above, if youre gasping, choking, or making other unusual sounds, you should suspect sleep apnea.
Keep in mind that even if you dont have sleep apnea, a snoring problem can get in the way of your bed partners rest and affect your own sleep quality. But there are tips and treatments that can help you stop snoring.
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Other Effective Remedies Include
- Inhale steam or humidify your room before sleeping to prevent congestion
- Avoid having caffeine and heavy meals two hours before bedtime
- Exercise and lose weight and keep yourself healthy
- Open your nasal passage by using nasal sprays, neti pots, and other decongestants
- Use a snore guard for mild to moderate sleep apnea treatment
- Set a sleep schedule and follow it regularly
Change Some Of Your Daily Habits
According to an article published on helpguide.org, sleep apnea can be reduced if you do not have any heavy meals or caffeine within a couple of hours before going to bed, and even by maintaining consistent sleep hours.
Also, consider reducing smoking and drinking. They are known to cause your airways to inflame and swell up.
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Exercise And Healthy Diet
Make sure that you consume healthy foods, check your weight and exercise regularly. Studies have shown that individuals with sleep apnea dont require CPAP if they lose weight. They also experience a total cure for fatigue and sleep apnea.
Consider exercising four times a week by carrying out moderate aerobic exercises for about 40 minutes. You should then do some weight training two days a week. The result is that youll feel less tired and reduce the sleep apnea symptoms.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the tongue falls back onto the soft palate . The soft palate pushes to the back of the throat, fully or partially blocking the airway.
OSA is associated with poor long-term health outcomes. This includes a higher risk of many health complications, such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, depression, and early death. And it can also pose short-term health dangers.
“The increased sleepiness from OSA can also lead to increased motor vehicle accidents and work-related injuries,” says Kelli Randell, MD, a medical advisor for Aeroflow Healthcare, a medical equipment supplier.
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