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Snoring vs. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

By April 1, 2022November 21st, 2022Sleep Medicine

While it’s normal to snore from time to time, it may indicate an underlying health problem: obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring and sleep apnea often go hand in hand, but they are two different sleep problems:

  •       Snoring is a hoarse, harsh sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in the throat, generating vibrations as a person breathes.
  •       Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that happens when the airway is blocked and causes pauses in breathing.

While snoring without a sleep disorder is possible, it is a common sign of sleep apnea, and up to 95% of patients with sleep apnea snore. If you are alarmed about your nightly snoring, it may be worth getting a second opinion about your sleeping habits. Sacramento dentist Dr. Timothy Mickiewicz provides highly effective treatment for OSA at his practice. Start your journey to higher-quality sleep by contacting us online.

Before scheduling an appointment for OSA with Dr. Mick, ask yourself the following questions:

Do you have allergies?

You may notice that your allergies flare up seasonally or from external forces. Allergies may showcase as sneezing, a runny nose, or even nasal congestion.

However, does your partner report that your snoring worsens when your allergies arise? If so, you may be suffering from allergic rhinitis—or inflammation in the nose attributed to an allergen.

However, it’s essential to know that people with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis are more likely to have sleep apnea.

Do you snore after drinking alcohol?

Some people drink alcohol to feel more relaxed. Alcohol is a depressant with brain and muscle-relaxing chemicals, including relaxing muscles in your throat and mouth. This produces an airway blockage, which makes it more difficult to breathe and for air to reach the lungs. Consequently, your body will forcefully inhale air to satisfy its need for oxygen—causing powerful vibrations.

Additionally, researchers studied the relationship between alcohol, snoring, and sleep apnea. In this study, researchers suggested an increased tendency to show signs of obstructive sleep apnea after alcohol ingestion.

Do you have a deviated septum?

The nasal septum is the cartilage and bone in your nose that divides the nasal cavity into the right and left sides. A deviated septum occurs when the nasal septum is displaced to the right or left side. The primary symptom of a deviated symptom is difficulty breathing for one or both nostrils, contributing to snoring.

What’s your typical sleep position?

You may be more predisposed to snoring or sleep apnea if you sleep on your back. When you sleep on your back, gravity pulls down on your tongue and the tissue in your airway. This position compresses the airways and can cause snoring and obstruction.

Ideally, the best sleep position is on your side with your head raised four inches. This position can encourage your jaw and tongue to move forward while easing breathing.

Is your snore something more?

It’s possible for a snore to be benign, but it can also be a sign of a much bigger underlying problem. When people ignore sleep disorders, it can take a toll on their physical and mental health. So, it’s worth getting the answers you need to receive the treatment you deserve. Learn more about our comfortable, at-home sleep studies by calling (916) 469-9178 or messaging us online today.