Research has shown 1 out of every 3 heavy smokers experience severe sleep apnoea
While most of us snore occasionally, chronic snoring can be a warning sign of a more serious problem, in particular, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Apnoea is Greek for 'without breath'. In this condition you stop breathing for short intervals throughout the night (10 seconds or longer) causing the oxygen levels in your blood to fall and the carbon dioxide levels to rise. This can happen 20 to 30 times or more each hour, all night long.
Children too, can suffer from this chronic problem. Many sufferers of OSA may not be aware they have the condition. Common symptoms of OSA can include:
- Extreme fatigue despite a long night's sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness and poor concentration / memory loss
- Morning headaches
- Gasping during sleep
One solution may be for the heavy snorer to use a special appliance while sleeping. Custom made to fit (similar to a mouthguard) the device is designed to bring the lower jaw forward, thereby preventing the tongue from dropping into the airway and ensuring sufficient oxygen is obtained while sleeping. These appliances are inexpensive, easy to use and are effective for mild to moderate sleep apnoea.
For more information on screening for and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, consult with your dentist. It is never too late to get a really good night's sleep.