We all know the value of a good night’s sleep. Without regular, restful sleep, we perform less effectively, become irritable, and have trouble concentrating. Persistent sleeplessness also causes stress, which can lead to a number of more serious health conditions.
Snoring can cause sleep disruptions for both the snorer and his/her sleeping partner. Snoring is a sign of partially obstructed breathing during sleep, but it may also be a symptom of a more serious condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
In Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), there is partial or complete stoppage of breathing that occurs often throughout the night, resulting in loud snoring and restless sleep.
Because of its impact on sleep, OSA may lead to an increased risk of: heart attack, stroke, depression, increased blood pressure, and death.
OSA can also cause daytime sleepiness, irritability, poor memory, weight gain, dry mouth, decreased concentration, sexual dysfunction, and problems in relationships, ultimately leading to a poor quality of life.
In the past, with a diagnosis of sleep apnea, the sleep physician would outfit the patient with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) unit to treat the problem. Compliance with CPAP therapy has historically presented itself with challenges for some patients.
A snoring/sleep apnea oral appliance is another option. It can be very effective for the right patient, and much more comfortable than wearing a full face mask.These oral appliances come in different designs and are custom-fitted to the individual. Patients have proven to be far more compliant in wearing the oral appliance at nighttime versus the CPAP machine.
Wearing the appliance, the number of times the patient stops breathing during the night is substantially reduced, as are the snoring sounds. As a result, the patient has a longer and more restful night’s sleep and therefore wakes up feeling more rested—better able to concentrate and enjoy the day.
If you or someone you love snores, I encourage you to come in for a consultation, and I would be happy to discuss your unique situation. I have seen the benefits, personally within my practice, and how this appliance can improve the quality of one’s life.
Article by Dr. Gary Klein (January 2017)
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