Snoring is the sound you make when your breathing is blocked while you are asleep. The sound is caused by tissues at the top of your airway that strike each other and vibrate. Snoring is common, especially among older people and people who are overweight.
When severe, snoring can cause frequent awakenings at night and daytime sleepiness. It can disrupt your bed partner’s sleep. Snoring can also be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. You should see your health care provider if you are often tired during the day, don’t feel that you sleep well, or wake up gasping.
To reduce snoring
- Lose weight if you are overweight. It may help, but thin people can snore, too.
- Cut down or avoid alcohol and other sedatives at bedtime
- Don’t sleep flat on your back
Source: NIH: National Institute on Aging
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes your breathing to stop or get very shallow. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour.
The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. It causes your airway to collapse or become blocked during sleep. Normal breathing starts again with a snort or choking sound. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
You are more at risk for sleep apnea if you are overweight, male, or have a family history or small airways. Children with enlarged tonsils may also get it.
Doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on medical and family histories, a physical exam, and sleep study results.
When your sleep is interrupted throughout the night, you can be drowsy during the day. People with sleep apnea are at higher risk for car crashes, work-related accidents, and other medical problems. If you have it, it is important to get treatment. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can treat sleep apnea in many people.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, call our office to make an appointment to see one of our physicians – (361) 573-4331
Source: NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute