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Sleep apnoea occurs during sleep, and is characterised by exceptionally long intervals between breaths. While there is often no immediate danger to the disorder, it can and will bring down the hours of good sleep you get each night significantly. It can also be very unnerving for a person who sleeps next to someone with sleep apnoea, since the long intervals between breaths are sometimes mistaken for not breathing. Though the breathing typically starts again at some point, usually preceded by a snort or choke.
It is widely believed that controlling sleep apnoea can only be done through extreme measures such as surgery, but that isn’t the case. There are a few simple ways to, if not stop it, gain better control over it.
What causes sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea comes when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, no longer supporting the soft pallet and the uvula, obstructing the easy flow of air. This is also a common cause of snoring which is why people who suffer from one sometimes suffer with the other as well. This can be rectified easily enough with something like a mandibular advancement splint, which gives the airways adequate support to keep them clear. These can be brought from any dental practitioner who offers them, but also need to be fitted by them as well.
This may seem rather extreme to some, but if the disorder is having a severe effect on the quality of your sleep and your breathing, then you should consider it. If even this seems a little invasive, then there are other options you can try first.
Obstructive sleep apnoea can also occur when a person suffers any inflammation of the throat. Common causes for this can be a flu or cold, but more often than not it can be caused by smoking, excessive exposure to pollution or allergies. Cutting back on the actions that cause inflammation in the throat will help your airways operate cleanly and without any obstructions. Although it is not recommended to use medicine such as anti-inflammatories to combat this, they may relax the muscles in the back of the throat to the point that it actually induces SA.
Of course the disorder isn’t necessarily caused by a patient’s own actions, and so another solution is needed. You can buy a continuous positive airway pressure device (or CPAP). This is a mouth piece that is fitted to the head during sleep. It is connected to a continuous supply of air, to help the patient breathe more steadily and therefor get a better night’s sleep.
So if you have been struggling for far too long with this problem, or you have been sleeping next to someone who has, take solace in the fact that there is something you can do about it. Even if you can’t completely stop the disorder, you’ll definitely be able to get it under better control. So relax, there are other solutions to sleep apnoea that you can try before you think of surgery.
*This article is published in partnership with Mediabuzzer*