Snoring Vs Sleep Apnea

Snoring occurs when the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backwards and your throat narrows. As you breathe, the walls of your throat vibrate, leading to the distinctive sound of snoring. The more narrow your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder you snore. Sometimes, the airway becomes so narrow that airflow is blocked completely, creating a serious condition called sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic disorder in which the airway fully or partially collapses during sleep, blocking the flow of air to the lungs, and causing you to stop breathing while sleeping. Eventually, the brain discerns you are not breathing and wakes you up, partially or fully, and often with a loud snort or gasp. The sleeper then falls back asleep and the entire process starts all over again – sometimes repeated hundreds of times per night.

Each time airflow is blocked and the body is awakened, the sleeper is jolted out of deep sleep and into a lighter sleep, disrupting the body’s natural sleep cycles. The body is unable to spend enough time in deep sleep or REM sleep, which is when it performs many essential healing and reparative functions. The sleep apnea sufferer usually wakes up feeling groggy and unrested, despite thinking they’ve slept all night.

Sleep Apnea and Snoring – How do I know?

If you sleep with a partner, it’s likely you’ve been told you snore. But it may come as a surprise to learn that over 80% of people with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea have no idea they have it. Some symptoms are obvious such as snoring, mouth breathing, excessive daytime drowsiness and observed breathing pauses or gasps during sleep. However, other symptoms may seem unrelated, such as waking at night feeling confused, morning headaches, changes in concentration and memory, weight gain, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and fibromyalgia. OSA is also considered a risk factor for serious health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

It is important to consult a sleep doctor if you have any of these symptoms or concerns.

If you do suffer from sleep disordered breathing, no one understands better than you that the quality of your sleep deeply impacts your quality of life. Without the restoring power of deep, restful, uninterrupted sleep, you feel foggy-headed, irritable and distracted.  Your relationships and work performance may suffer as well.  If you snore, your sleeping partner likely suffers as well. MobileHero iStock 996096184

Sleep, Dream, Breathe with an oral appliance.

Patients that suffer from sleep disordered breathing, OSA, or loud snoring may benefit from a specially designed oral appliance. Dr. Schleicher is specially trained in this non-invasive approach to addressing sleep apnea without a CPAP, and can help you start to sleep better and get healthier.

The CPAP Alternative

Address Sleep Apnea Without a CPAP

If you are having issues with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat your obstructive sleep apnea, we understand. Common issues associated with CPAP include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep  – A leaky mask
  • Pressure sores and marks on your face upon waking
  • Nasal congestion – Dry mouth
  • Difficulty tolerating forced air

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CPAP Machine

You may be interested to learn that oral appliance therapy (OAT) has become a widely used and accepted CPAP alternative and is an FDA approved treatment. If you’ve tried CPAP and are unable to tolerate it, a dental appliance for sleep apnea may be the right treatment option for you.

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Research shows CPAP compliance as low as 50% for all night wear. Oral appliance compliance is over 90% for all night wear.


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