The Health Risks of Snoring & Why You Should Seek Treatment
Getting a good night's sleep has never been more important. With a growing number of research studies showing that sleep is essential for hormone balance, blood sugar control, and even brain maintenance, being able to fall asleep and stay asleep is a cornerstone of healthy living. However, chronic snoring can disrupt your sleep pattern and have far-reaching effects on your health, your life, and the health and life of those you love. This blog post will provide an overview of the health risks of snoring, and explain why it is so important to seek treatment.
How Does Snoring Impact My Sleep?
The perfect amount of sleep varies between age groups and each person’s individual needs. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting between seven and nine hours each night. However, it can be difficult to regularly get this amount of shut-eye if snoring constantly interrupts your sleep. Snoring is a problem that impacts more than just those doing the snoring. Partners of snorers, along with anyone within earshot, can also suffer from interrupted sleep.
Chronic snoring is often a telltale sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious sleep disorder that is caused when an obstruction of the airway occurs and prevents oxygen from flowing into your lungs while asleep. This is typically due to a blockage occurring in your mouth, throat or nose. When a complete airway obstruction occurs, you temporarily stop breathing. In other cases, the source of the airway blockage (e.g. the tongue or an elongated floppy palate) is loose enough so that some air can get through. The flapping of the tissue as it opens and closes off the airway produces the snoring sound. People with sleep apnea tend to make sounds that suggest they are choking in their sleep. In other cases, you might actually hear a person stop breathing for seconds at a time.
Why is Snoring So Bad if I Can Still Breathe?
Whether or not you have sleep apnea, snoring is an indication that there’s at least a partial obstruction of the airway that’s making it harder for you to get the quality breath you need at night. Even if you don’t have a full airway obstruction or lapse in oxygen, proper airflow is still interrupted. That can make your sleep lighter and lower in quality.
Also, snoring can wake you up, just like any other noise might. To make matters worse, if your bed partner is snoring, that means two people can end up waking up throughout the night as the snoring rises and falls in intensity.
The lack of oxygen and rest caused by sleep apnea and snoring can lead to numerous consequences. Health risks of snoring include:
- Memory loss, diminished decision-making ability and trouble concentrating
- Excessive daytime drowsiness that increases your risk of having an accident while driving or working
- Regular headaches and sore throat
- High blood pressure and heartbeat irregularities
- Increased risk for stroke and heart attack
- Additional neurological problems
Are There Other Consequences Related to Snoring?
Snoring and sleep apnea can affect all aspects of your life. Aside from the health risks of snoring, there are numerous ways that this nightly condition can wreak havoc in other areas, including relationships and performance at work or school. Consequences of snoring may include:
- Increased relationship strain
- Sleeping in a separate room from your partner
- Negatively impacted sex life
- Concentration issues that affect work or school performance
- Learning and behavioral problems at school, particularly common among children with snoring issues
- Reduced productivity at work
How Can I Tell if I'm Experiencing the Health Risks of Snoring?
Sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between the harmful effects of snoring and the effects of other stressful situations. However, if you are snoring on a regular basis, and loudly enough that it disturbs others, it’s a problem that needs to be checked out.
Still not convinced that your snoring is having an impact on your quality of life or that a medical evaluation is necessary? Take our Snore Quiz, a quick questionnaire to gauge how severe your snoring is and to determine your level of risk for sleep apnea.
Get Non-Invasive Treatment for Snoring and Sleep Apnea in Boston
One thing that stops a lot of people from seeking treatment for snoring is the worry that they'll have to wear one of those clunky CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure, masks when they sleep. However, that is no longer the only way to treat snoring and sleep apnea. The sleep specialists at the Boston Center for Oral Health offer oral appliance therapy, a CPAP alternative. This appliance is a custom-made mouthpiece that adjusts your tongue or jaw to enlarge the airway and prevent the risk of obstruction. This eliminates a lot of the unpleasant side effects of the CPAP mask, such as skin irritation and operating noise.
Unfortunately, nights of poor sleep lost to chronic snoring can't be reclaimed. To make matters worse, their effects can be long lasting. Treating your snoring or sleep apnea is a lot easier than you might think, and starting sooner, rather than later, will help you get that peaceful rest you know you need. Contact the Boston Center for Oral Health today to schedule an appointment or get started by filling out the schedule appointment form on this page. We look forward to helping you sleep soundly without all the sound!