Snoring occurs when air is unable to move freely through your nose and mouth during sleep, often caused by a narrowing of the airway, usually from abnormalities of the soft tissues in the throat, but the position of your tongue and poor sleep posture are also contributing factors. What many people don’t realize is that in addition to poor sleep, fatigue, and irritability, snoring can lead to increased health problems.
Your body requires sleep in order to remain healthy, and snoring isn’t the only culprit that can interfere with a restful night. We all have moments in our lives that have been filled with one sleepless night after another, but many people think they’re sleeping all night only to wake in the morning feeling exhausted. How can this be?
One possible explanation is a common, potentially dangerous disorder called sleep apnea. A person suffering from sleep apnea will have one or more pauses in their breathing while they sleep. These pauses can last upward of several minutes before normal breathing resumes, often occurring repeatedly per hour, pulling the person in and out of deep sleep with each pause.
While sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a physician, there are some warning signs:
- Restless sleep
- Waking up often at night
- Waking with a sore and/or dry throat
- Waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness while driving
- Morning headaches
- Daytime sleepiness/lethargy
- Mood changes