Snoring occasionally is perfectly normal. It can be caused by the common cold when your nasal passages are blocked by mucus or if you’ve had a few too many drinks before going to bed. But what if you snore every night like millions of other Americans? Are you innocently “sawing logs” or are you suffering from a sleep disorder that can adversely affect your everyday life? Although snoring is a common indicator of sleep apnea, does this always mean that you’re suffering with this sleeping disorder?
It’s a common topic of discussion among chronic snorers. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing intermittently while you’re sleeping and can have negative consequences where your health and well-being are concerned. On the other hand, snoring is relatively harmless, unless you’re the partner or spouse that has to contend with it. Not only does it leave the bed partner sleep deprived, but it creates a friction in the relationship, due to sleeplessness and,daytime drowsiness that leads to mood swings, irritability and low productivity at work. Due to the serious health problems that are attributed to cause of sleep apnea, it’s worth knowing how the disorder differs from snoring.
10 Sleep Apnea Statistics You should be aware of
There is literally tons of information online about sleep apnea. One of the key indicators of sleep apnea is loud and regular snoring with shallow breathing and few second pauses in breathing during sleep. If you’re concerned about your quality of sleep and how snoring can adversely affect it, here are 9 statistics about sleep apnea that you should know:
- 1 in 5 adults have mild OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) while 1 in 15 have moderate to severe OSA.
- 3% to 7% of men suffer with sleep apnea while 2% to 5% of women suffer with this breathing while sleeping disorder.
- Approximately 22 million Americans suffer with moderate to severe sleep apnea while another 50 to 70 million adults have some type of sleeping disorder.
- Common risk factors of sleep apnea include:
- individuals who are overweight
- individuals who have chronic nasal congestion
- individuals who smoke
- individuals with a family history of sleep apnea
- individuals with narrowed airways
- Individuals who suffer with sleep apnea are twice as likely to have a car accident.
- Individuals with sleep apnea have an increased risk of
- atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- cardiovascular diseases including
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- irregular heartbeats
- Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by intermittent breathing disruptions that occur while sleeping.
- Sleep apnea is not age-specific and can affect all age groups, although it is most common in overweight individuals and people 50 years of age or older.
- Signs and Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- chronic, loud snoring
- excessive daytime drowsiness and fatigue
- frequent nocturnal urination
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- irregular breathing during sleep
- lack of energy
- large neck size
- morning headaches
- nighttime choking, coughing, or gasping
- Studies regarding the relationship between mortality rates and sleep apnea revealed a dramatically higher mortality risk when sleep apnea is left untreated.
Additionally, CSA or central sleep apnea is rare, but it happens. It is due to impaired brain signals to the respiratory system muscles. That leads to the airways becoming blocked so much so that the oxygen levels in the body fall considerably. This leads to sudden awakening from sleep and frequent episodes all through the night can lead to daytime sleepiness.
5 Facts and 5 Myths concerning Snoring
In addition to the above statistics about sleep apnea, there are certain facts and myths about snoring that everyone needs to know.
- Although snoring can occur in any age group, it is more common among people over the age of 50.
- If you sleep on your side, you’ll snore less than any other sleeping position.
- Losing weight will help reduce the number of snoring episodes you have.
- Snoring can cause concentration and memory problems as well as crankiness and depression, even in children.
- Snoring indicates that you may be a little dehydrated.
- If you snore, you probably have sleep apnea – FALSE
- Sleeping pills can help you stop snoring – FALSE (it can actually make it worse)
- Snoring indicates that you’re in a deep sleep – FALSE
- Women rarely have snoring problems – FALSE
- You’re the only person affected by your snoring – FALSE
What is the difference between Sleep Apnea and Snoring?
While everyone is familiar with the sound of snoring, not everyone knows what causes a person to snore. According to the Mayo Clinic, snoring occurs when the mouth and throat tissues relax as you inhale and then begin to flap and vibrate. It can intensify due to any of the following reasons:
- airway anatomy
- being obese or overweight
- consuming alcohol before bedtime
- deviated septum
- nasal congestion caused by allergies or colds
- sleeping position (especially when sleeping on your back)
However, the primary difference between OSA and snoring is that the airway becomes blocked to the extent that the oxygen level in your body is decreased, thereby arousing you or causing you to wake up suddenly. Studies have shown that these awakenings typically last a few seconds without the individual being aware of them. However, these kinds of interruptions wreak havoc with your sleep cycle and can cause significant daytime drowsiness and fatigue. There is a multitude of cases wherein the accidents were caused due to the other driver falling asleep at the wheel. That is why restful sleep without snoring can help you in all spheres of life.
Additionally, both snoring and sleep apnea are relationship killers. Due to the constant noise and restlessness all through the night can disrupt the sleep of the bed partner.