Many people will snore occasionally when they are a bit blocked or have a heavy cold, but persistent snoring may be linked to a far more serious condition called sleep apnoea.
What is sleep apnoea?
Unlike normal snoring where breathing is continual and regular, sleep apnoea is characterised by frequent pauses in breath that can last for several seconds. Breathing often restarts with a loud gasp or snort. This isn’t enough to completely awaken the sufferer but does prevent deep restorative REM sleep that is so essential for good health. Sleep apnoea is caused when the muscles of the throat and tongue relax during sleep, either partially or completely blocking the airway.
What is the effect of sleep apnoea on general health?
Sufferers often feel excessively sleepy, increasing the risk of accidents when operating machinery or when driving. It can be difficult to concentrate at work and people with sleep apnoea are at an increased risk of developing serious health problems that include high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
How can Helix Dentistry treat sleep apnoea?
Often mild to moderate sleep apnoea can be treated using a custom-made night splint. This will be designed by our dentist to gently hold your lower jaw and tongue slightly forwards, preventing your airway from becoming blocked. Afterwards, you and your sleeping partner should enjoy a far more peaceful and restful night’s sleep.