Sleep Apnea

Is Snoring a Problem?

The Ins and Outs of Oral Appliance Therapy

How many times have you “snored yourself awake”?

Snoring can be a warning that you suffer from OSA – Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and that is serious.  You actually stop breathing for short intervals hundreds of times a night.  Oxygen levels in your blood fall and carbon dioxide levels rise.  This puts a severe strain on your body and can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

If you snore, you should first see your doctor to determine if you do have sleep apnea.  In a recent study at Stanford University, one out of every three heavy snorers was found to have severe sleep apnea.  The doctor may schedule you for a sleep study.

  1. Try to sleep on your side or stomach or raise the head of your bed four to six inches.
  2. If you are overweight, try to lose a few pounds.
  3. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages prior to bedtime.  Never use alcohol as a night cap.
  4. Stop Smoking.
  5. Avoid sleeping pills, tranquilizers and antihistamines or any medication that relaxes the muscles.
  6. Don’t eat a heavy meal within three hours of bedtime.
  7. If you sleep with someone, ask him/her to wake you or roll you over if you snore.
  8. Gargle with salt water, or use a decongestant to eliminate congestion.
  9. Eliminate any allergens such as dust or feather pillows from your bedroom.
  10. Exercise to improve general physical condition and to lose weight.
  11. Establish regular sleep patterns and get adequate sleep.
  12. Try nasal strips or nasal dilators to keep nostrils open.
  13. Ask your dentist about getting a sleep study.  If indicated, you might be eligible for an anti-snoring dental appliance.
  14. If your snoring becomes worse, ask your doctor about the possibility of using CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to keep breathing passages open.
  15. If none of the above seems to help, talk to your doctor about the many surgical procedures available to control snoring.