Snoring is a common sleep problem that affects many people. Although it may just be annoying, snoring can also indicate sleep apnea – a severe sleep disorder that can lead to health complications if left untreated. It’s estimated that 18 million adults in the US have sleep apnea, yet most are undiagnosed and unaware they have the condition. Although sleep apnea is often diagnosed through a sleep study, some signs can indicate you might have sleep apnea before consulting with your doctor. One of those signs is snoring.
What’s The Link Between Snoring And Sleep Apnea?
Snoring occurs when the air passing through your mouth and nose vibrates against the soft tissues in your throat — usually because of narrowed air passages — causing vibrations and noise. While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, it’s one of the most common sleep apnea symptoms.
For those with sleep apnea, snoring is usually associated with sleep-disruptive pauses in breathing or shallow breaths (known as hypopneas). These pauses can last for a few seconds to minutes and occur several times throughout the night.
How Can You Tell If Your Snoring Is A Sign Of Sleep Apnea?
If you’re worried that your snoring might be a sign of sleep apnea, look out for these warning signs:
- Loud and regular snoring
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Tiredness and sleepiness during the day
- Trouble concentrating or staying alert
If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. They can order a sleep study if necessary and discuss potential treatments for the condition.
Treatment And Prevention For Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is typically treated with lifestyle modifications, oral appliances, or sleep machines known as CPAPs (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend one or more treatment options. Some common lifestyle modifications include:
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills before bedtime
- Sleeping on your side or stomach instead of your back
- Quitting smoking
If your sleep apnea is mild, you can prevent it by making lifestyle modifications and staying on top of any other health conditions that may contribute.
The Bottom Line
Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, so if you’re worried about sleep apnea, contact your doctor for advice. Treatment and prevention methods vary depending on the severity of sleep apnea, but lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills before bedtime, and sleeping on your side or stomach instead of your back are all excellent strategies for managing sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder characterized by sleep disruptions due to pauses in breathing or shallow breaths. These interruptions can last for seconds at a time and occur several times throughout the night, leaving sufferers feeling exhausted during the day.
Signs of sleep apnea include loud and regular snoring, waking up frequently during the night, gasping or choking during sleep, morning headaches, tiredness and sleepiness during the day, and trouble concentrating or staying alert.
Sleep apnea is typically treated with lifestyle modifications, oral appliances, or sleep machines known as CPAPs (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend one or more treatment options.