Sleep apnea is a potentially serious health condition which causes the muscles in the back of your throat to relax during sleep. These muscles support the soft tissue in the back of your mouth, including the uvula, tonsils, and the side walls of the throat.
The relaxation of these muscles causes the airway to become constricted while sleeping, not allowing air to enter properly. Over time, the amount of oxygen in the blood decreases. When the airway is closed, your brain senses the lack of breath and briefly wakes you up for a second. This is usually not noticed by the sleeper but is accompanied with a snorting or gasping sound (which can easily be noticed by a sleeping companion!).
Even though those with sleep apnea may not realize they have it, it does affect their quality of sleep and can lead to feeling poorly rested. It can also be disruptive to sleeping partners. Things like weight, age, diet, congestion, smoking, alcohol consumption, and anatomy are all factors that afftect the likelihood of your suffering from sleep apnea.
It’s very important to address sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of the condition, sleep apnea can lead to:
Fortunately there are many options for those who have sleep apnea. Two popular options are a CPAP machine and a sleep apnea mouthpiece.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A CPAP machine works by increasing or decreasing the air pressure in your throat, so the airway doesn’t collapse upon inhalation.
Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece
There are several kinds of mouthpieces to aid with sleep apnea related snoring. They can be made of silicone, latex, or thermoplastic and are often available in BPA-free materials. Different types of mouthpieces include:
Overall, a mouthpiece is a better way of aiding sleep apnea and snoring. CPAP machines are effective, but are more costly, as well as being bulky and uncomfortable to wear. Other options for relieving sleep apnea include surgery, weight loss, and changing sleep posture.