When you snore, the biggest disturbance might be to your sleeping partner, who might lose sleep due to the noise. But for some people, snoring can be more than annoying; it can also be indicative of a disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea. Marked by chronic, loud snoring, sleep apnea is caused by an airway blockage that forces you to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. If you snore consistently, then we advise finding out if you have sleep apnea by scheduling a consultation at your dentist’s office as soon as possible.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when mouth and throat tissues slowly clog your airway while you sleep. Snoring begins and grows louder as more of the airway is obstructed, then grows silent as you stop breathing momentarily. Your body will force you to wake up and start breathing again, but you will typically remain conscious, so you may not realize that your sleep is being disturbed. In fact, many patients only learn of their condition after seeking help to stop snoring, often at the behest of their sleeping partners.
If you sleep alone, or if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to stop snoring, then you might be experiencing sleep apnea without realizing it. In addition to snoring, other symptoms can also warn you that your sleep isn’t as restful as it should be, including symptoms of sleep deprivation such as: