Snoring is a very common problem for American adults, affecting over 40 million men and women every night. While it’s a bothersome nuisance and maybe even a little hilarious, it can actually be dangerous. When a person snores, they are actually going without air for long periods of time. When a person goes without breathing several times per minute every night, they are often diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Snoring and sleep apnea then are directly related and are distinguishable from each other usually by only a degree of severity. The dangers of sleep apnea do not usually include death as a direct result, but can aggravate or create even worse medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and heart attack.
Besides the very serious medical issues that come with sleep apnea, snoring causes people to get low-quality sleep at night, often waking up gasping for air, even if they are unaware of it. As a result of this sleep deprivation brought on by insufficient air, a person will often miss out on REM, or “rapid eye movement” sleep, where the body and mind undergo healing and regeneration, and also result in that rested feeling you get after 7 to 9 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep.
The solution that most people come across is the CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure device, which when used is often the most efficaceous solution to snoring and sleep apnea. However, it comes with a heavy cost and commitment.
While a CPAP can rang in the thousands of dollars on top of the costs of doctor visits and insurance bills, what many people don’t realize is that CPAP has a variable rate of success of around 46% to 83% of all those treated with the device actually fail to use it the recommended >4 hours per night. Thus, it begs the question: “Is CPAP the best option for people who snore?”
The next common option is corrective surgery. There are literally at least 25 different surgical procedures for snoring and sleep apnea, but some of the most common are the uvulectomy, turbinate reduction, septoplasty, implants, and maxillomandibular advancement.
of these procedures can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic with only local anaesthesia and you will be released the same day. However, the success rate of these procedures deserves some scrutiny, as together they average less than 50% success in eliminating snoring and improving sleep apnea for patients.
If this information sounds disheartening, then you can be pleasantly surprised to know what Harvard doctor Lawrence Epstein has said about sleep apnea: “If we can get people to lose weight, it would make both sleep apnea and other health problems [such as heart disease] go away.”
The truth is, most Americans are overweight and many are technically obese. Over half of all American adults are considered overweight and over one third are rated as obese.
In addition to a little healthy weight loss, adding exercise to the weekly routine, and looking for ways to cut down on unhealthy food options, snorers can also invest a little time and research into stop snoring mouthpieces which are available OTC and still cleared by the FDA. These mouthpieces can work immediately and usually cost less than $100. Many of them come with risk-free trials so you can try before you buy, ultimately.
No matter what you do, please do something about your snoring problem or sleep apnea. In the long run, snoring may be a serious detriment to your health and longevity masquerading as an annoyance.
Good luck and here’s to many rested, sleepful nights.