Sleep apnea and snoring obstructions in the path of a deep sleep
A good night's sleep is one of the greatest requirements for the body to function properly, and yet, there are hundreds of interruptions to deter a deep sleep. Sleep apnea (also called sleep apnoea) and snoring are both such sleep disorders, which hamper deep sleep. In sleep apnea, it is the interrupted breathing problem, whereas, snoring is the act of breathing through the open mouth in such a way as to give rise to an irritating sound.
Sleep apnea: the disease defined
The most common form of sleep apnea is the "obstruction sleep apnea" or OSA. In this case, a person stops breathing during sleep, due to airway blockage. The breathing is usually resumed within a few seconds, and yet, in more serious cases, it can last up to sixty seconds. Sleep apnea can further lead to complications like high blood pressure, cardiac diseases and disordered thinking. This happens because during sleep, relaxations of the muscles cause the narrowing or occlusion of the pharynx, leading to breathing obstruction. However, as soon as the brain senses an accumulation of carbon dioxide, the airway muscles are reactivated and breathing is resumed. This process interrupts deep sleep.
Sleep apnea: the treatment
OSA syndrome is the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing and is seen in 2%female and 4%male. The most common mode of treatment is positive airway pressure. A mask is worn over the nose or mouth (or both), through which, a controlled stream of air is pumped by a breathing machine and this air pressure holds open the relaxed muscles.
Another form of treatment, usually prescribed for moderate apnea sufferers, is a dental device. This is a mouth guard, which is designed to hold the lower jaw slightly down, than natural.
Snoring: the other major obstruction to sleeping Due to some kind of blockage in the breathing passage, the breath goes in through the open mouth and causes a vibration of the uvula and the soft palate. The unpleasant sound caused by this vibration is snoring.
Some of the common causes of blockage in the breathing passage are tongue falling into throat, allergies, throat weakness causing the closure of throat during sleep, mis-positioned jaw and gathering of fat in and around the throat. Usually snoring is not dangerous. But it can become so and lead to sleep apnea.
Treatment of snoring:Snoring is one of the most common sleep disorders and is seen in 60% of men and 30% of women. Snoring cures mainly aim towards clearing the obstruction in the breathing passage. This can be done by surgery or dental implants. Exercising the jaw, the tongue and the throat muscles to widen the breathing passage is an effective way. Moreover, it is also advised to lose weight so that the fat cannot gather around the throat and to stop smoking, as it clogs the throat. It is also preferable to sleep on one's side, as the tongue cannot block the throat in that position. However, the effectiveness of all these, vary from one individual to other.
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