There are 15 million snorers in the UK but it affects almost twice as many – that’s a partner whose sleep is being disturbed every night.
Snoring may be a commonly dismissed problem but it should be tackled professionally, as with any other ailment, as soon as you’re aware of it. Snoring can impact yours and your partner’s daily life. In the short-term it can lead to stress and excessive tiredness, and the longer snoring is in an issue, the greater effect on your overall health and well being.
It is important to visit your High Street Dental dentist to discuss available treatments as soon as you are aware of the problem. Snoring can sometimes be an indicator of other health conditions and if left untreated, can contribute to further conditions such as stress, cardiovascular disease, depression and irregular heart rhythms.
Why do we snore?
Snoring is quite simply a vibration. While you’re asleep your air passages relax and narrow, which leads to a change in air pressure and causes the soft tissue in your neck and head to vibrate. Your lower jaw and tongue can also fall back during sleep and restrict your airways. When airflow to the body is restricted, your lungs begin to draw air in at a higher velocity to compensate. Increasing airflow in this way, to feed the body an adequate amount of oxygen, causes this tissue vibration that we hear as snoring.
Do I snore?
Snoring can affect anyone of any age, and about one in four people in the UK snore. It is most common in adults aged between 40-60 years old.
You may not be aware that you snore until someone tells you. Even if you wake up in the night, as is common, it may be tricky to associate the sleep disturbance with snoring, especially as it will stop as soon as you’re awake. If you have a partner, it usually falls to them to alert you to a snoring problem – it will be their sleep that you are also disturbing.
Snoring is a chronic condition and can not only indicate health problems but can affect your day-to-day life and cause further issues. Snoring, even if you are unaware of it, can lead to long-term sleep disturbance. This can make you tired and irritable during the day, it can affect your concentration levels, create mood swings and lead to an overall lack of energy. Bruxism (or teeth grinding) is also a sign that you may be suffering from snoring or sleep apnoea. When air flow is compromised, your body may respond to this by initiating grinding or clenching, which pushes the jaw forward and encourages you to take in oxygen again. If you snore you are also more likely to suffer from a dry throat and mouth, and headaches. These are all signs to watch out for.
Snoring can put a strain on relationships. Some couples accommodate problems with snoring by sleeping in separate rooms or going to bed at staggered times.
You are more inclined to snore if you:
- Drink heavily
- Are overweight
- Are taking antidepressants or medication with sedative effects
- You have a cold or hayfever
- Have a large neck (around 17in or more)
- Suffer from sleep apnoea
- Are going through the menopause
A more severe cause of snoring is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a common condition that completely obstructs the airways and can leave you without breath for more than 10 seconds. Loud and prolonged snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnoea, and those suffering from it may also find themselves with laboured breathing. It may be that, while asleep, the breath is frequently interrupted by snorts or gasps. When your body is without oxygen, or a diminished amount, your brain receives a trigger to pull you out of deep sleep and resume normal breathing. This can happen repeatedly during the night, impacting on your important shut-eye.
Untreated sleep apnoea can put a strain on your heart, as it often results in higher blood pressure, and can lead to an irregular heart rhythms.
At High Street Dental in Holwood, we can provide a trusted anti-snoring solution and relief for anyone suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnoea. The Somnowell is a small device worn in your mouth, which primarily works by gently keeping your airways open while you sleep.
Everyone’s mouth is different and the Somnowell is specifically made to fit your mouth exactly, which means that you can easily open and close your mouth, speak, drink and take any medication you might need to before bed, with ease. It is thin, small and discreet, and made to last from ultra-resistant medical-grade chrome cobalt alloy. Your lower jaw and tongue are kept in the recovery position while you sleep, meaning that the air passages remain open and the vibrations from breathing through narrow airways is reduced.
You can also make small changes to your lifestyle to help with snoring conditions. Sleeping on your side can have a positive effect. Reducing the amount you drink and getting help to stop smoking will both have a positive effect of your night’s sleep, as will incorporating more exercise into your routine as this can help to strengthen the muscles in and around your neck. If you are overweight, losing weight will also help with snoring.
If you or your partner suffer from sleep apnoea or snoring, contact your High Strret Dental dentist to discuss available treatment. Make an appointment today with your Holywood dentist.