can be a real problem. Not only is it
embarrassing for the person exhibiting the habit.
It can also be frustrating for the spouse or partner
who is trying desperately to sleep. Many people
reach over and wake their partner up telling them
to “stop snoring”. This advice is
naïve at best since snoring
is not a voluntary sleep pattern. It can actually
be a symptom of sleep apnea, a very serious problem.
people are unfamiliar with the term sleep
apnea. The more common term for obstructive
sleep apnea syndrome, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder
that demonstrates itself by several episodes of
interrupted breathing during sleep.
someone does not suffer from sleep apnea, their
airway remains open during sleep since the muscles
in the upper part of the throat relax during sleep
to ensure that air flows through the lungs. However,
individuals suffering from sleep apnea may have
a more narrow air passage. When they sleep, relaxing
the muscles can cause that narrow passage to close
rather than open. This means air can’t get
into the lungs. This equates to loud snoring and
breathing. In extreme cases, air is completely
blocked from the lungs.
suffering from sleep
apnea can stop breathing for a long period
of time. This time differs, but it is often greater
than ten seconds. A partner may notice them snoring
then snorting and gasping for breath. Since sleep
apnea causes a pause in breathing, these patients
are actually making attempts to breathe. Each
time this occurs, they move to a different, lighter,
stage of sleep. This is, of course, a less than
ideal night’s rest, and many sleep apnea
patients report daytime drowsiness.
apnea can affect people of all ages and sizes,
but the highest affected percent of the population
seems to be elderly, obese men. There are other
issues that can contribute to a person’s
likelihood of having sleep apnea. Some of these
factors include nasal obstruction, strange shaped
jaws and palates, large tongues, tiny airways,
etc. If you take sleeping pills or drink alcoholic
beverages before going to bed, you can also be
prone to sleep apnea episodes.
do you know if you have sleep apnea? Talk to your
partner. Sleep apnea doesn’t just mean snoring.
It means snoring at a normal pace then progressively
becoming louder. The snoring then stops to be
interrupted by silence when no breathing is taking
place. Then, the person begins snorting or gasping
or wheezing as the snoring returns.
you think you suffer from sleep apnea,
realize this is a very serious problem and talk
to your doctor about it. Since extreme cases of
sleep apnea can actually lead to pulmonary hypertension
or heart failure, it is very important to diagnose
there anything you can do to avoid sleep apnea?
No, but there are things you can do to lessen
your chances of having sleep apnea episodes. You
should refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages
or taking sleeping pills near bedtime. You should
not eat right before bedtime, and you can purchase
a sleep apnea or snore
pillow designed to promote proper neck and
spine alignment, lessening your chances of snoring.
by Dr. Joseph J. Berke, M.D., Ph.D.
Discover how sleeping on The Sleep Better Pillow
can change your life.
Joseph J. Berke is an author and inventor dedicated
to helping people get a better nights rest
articles on all kinds of helping topics
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