There are certain signs and symptoms to indicate that snoring is a byproduct of something more serious. It’s important to understand the difference between snoring and sleep apnea and seek the help of a medical physician where necessary. Sleep apnea, which will often cause snoring, can impact one’s daily routine as it affects sleep and reduces your ability to function. Where this occurs, it’s very important to combat it with specialized treatment.
Here are some definitions of snoring and sleep apnea as well as tips on how to differentiate between them.
What is Snoring?
Snoring occurs when the soft tissues of the neck narrow when you breathe during sleep. This is because your neck muscles are most relaxed when sleeping, which causes breathing passages or airways to become constricted. As you draw in air in this relaxed state, the neck tissue vibrates and produces a complementary noise known as snoring. There are several factors that can contribute to the narrowing of the breathing passages during sleep and cause snoring. Some of these include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Nasal congestion
- Large tonsils
- A deviated septum
- Excess weight
- An enlarged uvula
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which one’s breathing stops and starts repeatedly through the night. This occurs alongside snoring, with the key difference being that gasping or choking appears in instances where narrow airways are completely blocked off.
The pauses in breathing that occur with sleep apnea can last from a few seconds to minutes and usually happen around 30 times or more in one hour.
How to Recognize the Difference Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Unlike regular snoring, sleep apnea results in poor sleep quality as the body has a reduced oxygen intake. This results in headaches, sleepiness, and sometimes memory loss.
If you’re excessively tired throughout the day despite resting for 8 to 10 hours at night, it’s likely that you’re experiencing sleep apnea and should get in touch with Dr. Dunaway – our sleep apnea specialist. If your snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, it’s more likely that you’re suffering from sleep apnea:
- Sore throat upon awakening
- Choking or gasping at night
- Restless sleep
- High blood pressure
- Morning headaches
- Low concentration levels
- Chest pain
- Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
- Period of silence in between snoring
What to Do if You Suffer From Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that benefits from long-term treatment. If you feel that you’re suffering from sleep apnea, we highly recommend that you consult our sleep specialist. Our dental facility now covers sleep corrective practices that are beneficial to those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.