How to Treat Snoring: Sleep Apnea
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring, the hoarse, rattling sound many of us make when sleeping, is caused by partial or complete temporary airway obstruction in the back of the throat. The relaxed tissue at the back of the throat vibrates when you breathe in and out while asleep. Most people snore occasionally or when sleeping in uncomfortable positions. It becomes an issue when it is chronic, extremely loud, or interferes with your breathing throughout the night.
Is Your Snoring Caused by Sleep Apnea?
Although not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, it is the most common cause of snoring. If you have snoring-related OSA, you will probably show other symptoms, including disrupted sleep, daytime sleepiness, irritability, choking or gasping at night, dry mouth, insomnia, interrupted breathing at night, or snoring so loud it disturbs your partner.
Treatment Options for Snoring Caused by Sleep Apnea
There are several treatment options for snoring caused by sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, we may begin with conservative treatment options, including exercises you can do at home. If these do not work, a CPAP machine may help. Still, some patients find it difficult to sleep with a CPAP machine, which covers the nose and mouth and forces oxygen into the airway when you are asleep.
Oral appliances can be very effective and are comfortable to wear at night. These appliances look like mouth guards or dental retainers, fitting into the mouth to keep your throat open. We often recommend oral appliances for individuals with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Oral appliances are an excellent option for those who cannot tolerate wearing a CPAP mask and who do not want or are not candidates for invasive surgery to treat their sleep disorder.
At your consultation with Dr. Greenbaum, he will review the various treatment options for snoring. These may include:
- Steroid Nasal Sprays to relieve congestion and inflammation in the nasal passages. For some, nothing more is needed to stop snoring.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines deliver a gentle oxygen flow through a mask in small bursts that encourage opening of the airways while you sleep.
- Oral Appliances are often effective for snoring regardless of the cause. They are also helpful in treating sleep apnea. The appliance keeps the mouth and teeth in a position that allows clear airflow through the throat.
- Surgery for snoring is a last resort when all else fails and must be performed by an oral surgeon. If all other treatments fail, Dr. Greenbaum may refer you to an oral surgeon, although surgery is not 100% effective.
Put Your Snoring Concerns to Bed
When snoring disrupts your life, there are a few tips that may help. Try these at-home solutions for mild to moderate snoring. If they do not help, it may be time to talk to a snoring and sleep apnea expert.
- Lose weight. Most patients with sleep apnea are overweight.
- Try sleeping on your side if you are usually a back sleeper.
- Elevate the head of your bed a few inches.
- Do not drink alcohol or indulge in rich foods for four hours before bed.
- Establish a regular sleep routine.
If these measures do not help, it is time to consult with a doctor. Dr. Greenbaum is a leader in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. He has fitted countless patients with oral appliances that improve their sleep quality, eliminate snoring, and restore each patient’s ability to get a good night’s rest. If you struggle with sleep-related issues or excessive snoring that disrupts you and those you love, contact our office at 301-812-4946 or use our online form to arrange a consultation. Your health and snoring history will be carefully evaluated before Dr. Greenbaum develops a treatment plan to benefit you.