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Should I get a Sleep Study if I Snore?


Snoring is commonly thought of as a natural sleep habit or something only affecting the elderly. Unfortunately, you may not realize that snoring can occur in people of all ages with varying degrees of health, and just because it’s common doesn’t make it harmless. Sleep apnea is connected to many serious health concerns, which could worsen without effective sleep apnea management. You may be left wondering if you should get a sleep study if you snore. So today on the blog, our sleep apnea dentists in Lake Forest address this question.

What causes snoring?

As you settle into the deepest stage of the sleep cycle known as REM sleep, your body becomes very relaxed. For snorers, the airway collapses and is blocked by soft tissue of the throat or tongue. As air seeping past vibrates the soft tissue and produces a loud snoring sound. In some instances, the airway is completely blocked, which means that it may appear as though the person is not breathing momentarily, and then makes loud gasping sounds.

Here are other common reasons that snoring occurs:

  • Natural anatomy – Your airways could be blocked or restricted if you’re overweight or have large adenoids or tonsils or a deviated septum.
  • Alcohol consumption – Alcohol relaxes the body, which could result in muscle relaxation in the throat and airways, leading to an obstruction that causes snoring.
  • Nasal conditions – In some cases, allergies or nasal congestion could cause you to snore, although these causes would only be temporary and go away after a reasonable amount of time.
  • Sleep deprivation – Not getting enough sleep could cause airway obstruction while sleeping.
  • Sleep position – Certain sleep positions, like lying on your back, could make you more likely to snore.

What does a sleep study have to do with snoring?

Some might think that your snoring is funny. You may even get teased because of your snoring. But the truth is that snoring can be dangerous for your health. Oxygen restriction can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, a sleep study is often needed to confirm a sleep apnea diagnosis. In some cases, additional imaging like a CT scan or MRI to assess the structures of your airway is helpful in determining any blockages before undergoing a sleep study.

How can I tell if I have sleep apnea?

While the most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, it’s not the only one. In fact, the other symptoms are unsuspecting and you may mistakenly relate them to other health issues.

Here are other common sleep apnea symptoms to be aware of:

  • Waking with headaches frequently
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Low libido
  • Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat

Therefore, if you snore or exhibit any of the above symptoms associated with sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about ordering an official sleep study to confirm your diagnosis.

What’s the best way to manage sleep apnea without a CPAP machine?

Oral appliance therapy is just as effective as using a CPAP machine to manage sleep apnea. However, oral appliance therapy has many benefits beyond what a CPAP can offer. For instance, the oral appliance is comfortable, requires no electricity, is noise-free, and won’t disrupt your partner’s sleep. And many insurance plans cover oral appliance therapy as an alternative sleep apnea treatment. Therefore, if you snore, don’t ignore treatment because you don’t want a CPAP machine. Instead, ask about oral appliances for sleep apnea by calling Lake Forest Smiles at (847) 234-4800.

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