The Differences Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Plenty of people have been woken up by a significant other’s loud snoring. Often times, a simple nudge (or even light slap) will stop the person from snoring up a storm. However, there could be a deeper issue when delving into the sleep patterns of a loved one.

There is a difference between sleep apnea and snoring. Sleep apnea — also referred to as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) — is a considerable sleep disorder. Fortunately, there are ways to treat both sleep apnea and perpetual snoring.

OSA occurs when there are pauses in breathing during the sleep period. There are moments in which a person could fall asleep without breathing for a few seconds — or even a minute. Waking up suddenly gasping for air may be a tell tale sign of OSA. The same can be said for persistent fatigue during the day, and also constant loud snoring. Snoring itself occurs when tissue in the throat obstructs the airway (thus creating a loud vibration known as snoring).

When these symptoms pop up, it may behoove the individual to visit a doctor. The doctor will then determine whether a sleep study is needed. Patients stay overnight, and are studied as they sleep. From there, a treatment plan can be put into place.

There are a number of ways in which both snoring and sleep apnea can be treated. Many with sleep apnea are prescribed a CPAP machine. Essentially, a mask with blowing air is securely placed over the person’s face as they sleep. This regulates breathing, and enables more air to flow throughout the nasal passage. Provent Sleep Apnea Therapy also works via the usage of a device placed over the nostrils.

As for chronic snoring, weight loss is highly recommended. Duly, a decrease in alcohol consumption is recommended. Aside from changing sleeping positions, one could also opt to utilize nasal strips (which can be found over the counter at any drug store).

Treating either one of these conditions appears to be smart from a health standpoint. People beset by sleep apnea have highest risks of a number of health-related issues (such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, and congestive heart failure). A lack of sleep in general can result in skin aging and weight gain (among other things).

If constantly tired during the day, making an appointment to see a doctor could go a long way towards not only staying healthy, but also ridding oneself of either sleep apnea or the constant annoyance of snoring.

Image source: Popular Science