Snoring and Sleep Apnea: a Not-So-Silent Killer

Snoring.

It’s annoying, sometimes loud, and maybe even a bit comical- but did you know that it can be deadly?

People who snore often don’t get enough sleep or they miss out on quality REM sleep. What this means is, according to a 2013 study, people who get less than a solid 6 hours of sleep a night are putting their health at risk due to abnormal heart rhythm, hormone imbalances which can lead to weight gain, and excess strain on your heart.

And it gets worse for people with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be thought of as an extreme case of snoring, with the body failing to get air for a period of time. These apnea episodes can range from a couple of times a night up to several hundred.

The most common type of sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea, raises your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or stroke 16%, and increases your risk of dying from anything by 3 times, as opposed to people without sleep apnea.

Snoring and sleep apnea can be explained simply as periods of time when your airway becomes constricted during sleep at night, most often to the chin and jaw sinking back into the throat which tightens the air passage and restricts healthy air intake to your lungs.

Central Sleep Apnea is similar, but rare and is due to an issue with the central nervous system regulating automatic breathing.

What You Can Do to Stop Snoring and Overcome Sleep Apnea

First, it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene. That means going to bed a regular hour, not drinking alcohol or smoking, especially right before bed, and reducing or eliminating the amount of pharmaceutical drugs you consume. These are all factors that can lead to and/or aggravate snoring and sleep apnea.

But did you know what the #1 biggest factor for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is?

The good news is, it’s something most all of us can control or work on. The bad news is, statistically speaking most of us never will.

overweight and obsese people at higher risk to snoring and sleep apnea

Excess Weight is the Strongest Risk Factor Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

More than half of people with obstructive sleep apnea are either overweight or obese, and the simple fact is more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and being overweight is linked to 60 chronic diseases.

Harvard medical has consistently stressed that if people would lose 10% of their body weight, almost all of the health issues from sleep apnea would resolve themselves.

Don’t Worry- You’re Not Alone When it Comes to Your Snoring Problem

Another fact about snoring is that it affects around 90 million Americans, and a conservative estimate of sleep apnea patients comes in at around 22 million. So the issue is quite common. The question is, are you going to take action and do something uncommon to solve a common problem, especially now knowing what the solution is?

Be Careful Not to Take the Easy Way Out- It’s Anything But

One of the things a lot of people do when they realize they may have a snoring problem or suffer from sleep apnea is run out to their doctor and demand a CPAP, or a continuous positive airway pressure device.

cpap alternatives to snoring and sleep apnea

That’s a souped up way of saying a machine that blows air through a tube into your mouth or nose at night when you sleep. They may alleviate some of the symptoms of sleep apnea or snoring, but they DO NOT eliminate the root cause or even cure the ailment!

Moreover, once you start, you’re pretty much expected to use a CPAP for the rest of your life– especially if you don’t lose 10% of your body weight.

CPAP Alternatives and Other Solutions for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

In addition to reducing negative lifestyle habits like smoking, a bad diet or lack of exercise, people who snore can try a stop snoring mouthpiece to start out with. These are great because they are affordable, FDA-cleared, available over the counter, and often work with great results.

stop snoring mouthpiece device

After that another potential solution is a custom-fitted stop snoring mouthguard that a dentist can custom-make for you. These usually cost a bit more and require several visits to the dentist’s office.

Solutions which I can’t honestly recommend are the surgical ones. Procedures that involve “trimming” down your oral cavity to get rid of “loose skin” in your mouth or on the inside of your throat often lead to a lifelong of even more complications and suffering that you could avoid by simply choosing other less invasive options.

Choose the Best Option for Your Health and Enjoy a Restful Night’s Sleep Again, while Reducing Potentially Fatal Risk Factors Under Your Control

That’s right, only you can make the healthy lifestyle choices and pick your own approach to eliminating your snoring or sleep apnea. But the most important aspect is that you understand the situation and then take the all-important steps to improving your own quality of life today.

Good luck and stick with it!