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Snoring, daytime sleepiness or not sleeping?

Do you snore, suffer from daytime sleepiness or not getting a good night sleep regularly? Most of us don’t think of snoring as something to be overly concerned about. But frequent, loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnoea (sleep apnea), a common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. Although sleep apnoea is treatable, it often goes unrecognized. Learning how to identify the warning signs, how to distinguish it from normal snoring, is the first step to overcoming sleep apnoea and getting a good night’s sleep.

What is sleep apnoea (sleep apnea)?

Sleep apnoea affects the way you breathe when you’re sleeping. In untreated sleep apnoea, breathing is briefly interrupted or becomes very shallow during sleep. These breathing pauses typically last between 10 to 20 seconds, (or up to two minutes in some cases), and can occur up to hundreds of times a night, jolting you out of your natural sleep rhythm. As a consequence, you spend more time in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep you need to be energetic, mentally sharp, and productive the next day.

This chronic sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents. Sleep apnoea can also lead to serious health problems over time, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, reduced libido and weight gain. But with treatment, you can control the symptoms, get your sleep back on track and start to enjoy being refreshed and alert every day.

Types of sleep apnoea

  • Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common type of sleep apnoea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often causing you to snore loudly.
  • Central sleep apnoea is a much less common type of sleep apnoea that involves the central nervous system, occurring when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnoea seldom snore.
  • Complex sleep apnoea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea.
sleep apnoea danger zone chart

Sleep Apnoea Danger Zone

Who’s most at risk?

Those that suffer an increased risk of suffering from sleep apnoea are males who are moderately to severely overweight, and those over the age of 40. But almost anyone can suffer; even petite women and children. This potentially life threatening disease is a lot more common than generally expected and should be taken very seriously.

Diagnosing sleep apnoea is now easy and affordable and can be done in the comfort of your own home. The test is approved by Medicare and is Bulk Billed providing you are an adult, meet the sleep specialist’s qualifying criteria and have a signed referral from your doctor.

Dr John Harrison at Healthy Bite Dental specialises in dental sleep appliances and works closely with sleep physicians and other health professionals to provide proven solutions for snoring and sleep apnoea.

For more information call 9430 3100 or click here to request an appointment.