About one-third of our life is spent sleeping, restoring our minds and bodies. Disruptions to sleep may lead to a range of problems and even seriously compromise our health. In fact, poor sleep quality can shorten our lifespans by 10-15 years while affecting the quality of our years. Snoring may seem benign, but it may be a warning that you are missing the vital benefits of sound sleep. It may be disrupting the sleep of others, leading to stress in relationships.
Snoring produces sound ranging from a few decibels up to 90 decibels in severe cases. Sleep disruption typically occurs around 30 decibels although any level of noise may arouse light sleepers. When you breathe, vital oxygen passes through your airway to reach your lungs. After falling asleep, the muscles controlling the neck, tongue, and jaw relax. This relaxation may cause the soft tissues around the airway to collapse and vibrate as you breathe. The snoring sound reverberates as air attempts to rush through a constricted space sometimes no wider than a straw.
Approximately half of snorers experience a narrowing of the airway that creates an obstruction. This blockage causes breathing to stop for up to a minute or more. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) leads to critical drops in the oxygen levels in the blood, and may occur dozens of times each night. The release of stress hormones as your body undergoes distress contributes to a host of medical disorders.
Numerous factors can influence snoring including alcohol, sleep position, weight, and jaw position during sleep. Drs. Cohen and Patel can help you understand snoring and what it may mean in your particular situation. Treatment may be simpler than you think as you experience the remarkable benefits of healthy sleep.