Is snoring ever not a problem? Really, though, we may all make a little noise here and there. It isn’t the occasional bout of snoring that is a problem. What we want to discuss here are the indicators that chronic snoring may be a symptom of a sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea. If you have been told that your snoring is disruptive to another person’s sleep, you have one clue that your snoring may be a problem. Here, we point out some additional clues that your snoring may need to be treated to preserve your health and wellness.
Sleep is a Never-Ending Need
We all need to sleep deeply and soundly for the body and mind to refresh for a new day. While it may be normal to wake up slowly or feel slightly groggy for a short time after waking, continually feeling tired and drained throughout the day indicates that your sleep quality is poor. People with obstructive sleep apnea never quite get into the deep stage of sleep where rejuvenation takes place. Every time their body relaxes, muscles close the airway, and they stop breathing. This causes the brain to press the panic button to flood the body with adrenaline; not a lot, just enough to restore respiration. The frequency of these episodes sets the stage for chronic daytime fatigue.
Mornings are a Pain
A lot of people may say mornings are a pain for one reason or another. When we’re exploring the possibility of sleep apnea, the specific pain that we look for is headache pain. Part of the reason why morning headaches may coincide with sleep apnea is that the body has flip-flopped between relaxation and tension all through the night. Another reason that head pain may be noticed in the morning is that the brain is stressed due to lack of oxygen.
Blood Pressure Rises
Blood pressure naturally rises in physical and emotional stress states. It’s safe to say that a closed airway and lack of breathing puts the body into a state of stress. Every time this happens over the course of the night, the body’s response is to constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure until breathing resumes. You could say it’s the body’s natural flight or fight response in action. After breathing resumes, though, the blood pressure increase lingers.
There are innovative new ways to manage obstructive sleep apnea without cumbersome equipment and forced air flow. Contact our McLean office at 703-448-1020 to learn more about oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea.