‘…UGH!!! Another night of laying awake… listening to him snore… wishing the poke in the ribs would still work… wishing he would roll over so I could sleep!! I hate that feeling of being both mad and scared at night. Mad because he makes so much noise all night long, and scared because sometimes it sounds like he stops breathing completely!!’
If this sounds like a night at your house, there is so much more to the story, and so much you can do to enjoy a better and healthier life!! In terms of the science on snoring, not everyone who is snoring is dealing with anything beyond snoring, but for those who snore loudly, the VAST majority of them have an airway problem as well as a freight-train like noise problem. Like almost 100%! If someone else is snoring and waking you up, it’s important that you find out what is really happening because it is almost certainly more than just a nightly nuisance!
There are several ways to get more information about the quality of the sleep you and your husband are getting. Fitbits and smartwatches are trying to track this data, but they can’t see critical things like oxygen saturation or measure breathing and are the least informative and helpful options. The most informative is an in-lab sleep study. Sometimes physicians recommend this approach because with issues like narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome, and central sleep apnea, it is the only way to get complete information on all aspects of sleep today. Fortunately, those are the exception when it comes to sleep problems. Most people are dealing with much earlier stages of sleep and airway problems and these are much simpler to manage as well. To start, they can be screened for with a simple at home sleep study. You wear this overnight in your own bed and drop it back off at the office the next day. The data can then be downloaded and evaluated for a number of issues that may be happening. The good news here is that, when caught early, airway issues are much simpler to manage!
A basic overview of the sleep and airway continuum is that it is a progressive disorder that starts with snoring or airway-resisted or strained breathing. Some people progress to mild obstructive sleep apnea. Once that happens, it is a question of when it gets worse and becomes moderate or severe sleep apnea. Snoring is easy to discover -have your bed partner grab their iPhone and record your snoring. Resisted or strained breathing is a different animal. That can be detected by getting data about how you sleep with either of the sleep study methods; in-lab or at home. Both snoring and strained breathing can grow into serious issues like high blood pressure or stroke or diabetes or severe and sometimes fatal sleep apnea.
Another excellent indication of a potential sleep/airway problem is daytime sleepiness. Obviously, the plato gordo at LaBandita and then an afternoon of boring spreadsheets in a quiet office and you will end up asleep at the office. However, if you find you hit a wall in the afternoon on most days, or find yourself falling asleep while watching TV regularly or at a stoplight, there something going on! A simple sleep screening can help determine what else may be happening, and be the first step in getting a good night’s sleep again!
Snoring isn’t always just a nuisance, and if it is keeping other people awake, it is causing serious and significant issues with everyone in earshot as well as the snorer! Our bodies need both proper quantity of sleep and proper quality of sleep to remain healthy. It is in the deeper stages of sleep that we recover and retain memories and heal our bodies. Without sleep that is long enough and good enough, we will potentially find ourselves dealing with a long list of serious issues. If you or your spouse is snoring, we can help!
Call today for a complimentary sleep consultation and take the first step to getting a great night of sleep!