As we all know, a solid night of sound sleep is important; so important that a person’s overall health and ability to function effectively during the day depends on it. But when normal breathing patterns are disrupted during sleep, it’s not unusual for health to deteriorate.
The major conditions that cause concern are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the key symptom, excessive snoring, which is usually caused by the tongue falling back into the throat when the sleeper’s mouth is open, This blocks airflow and forces the sleeper to wake up and constantly adjust his or her position. This can occur multiple times every hour and renders restful sleep impossible. If a person can somehow close his or her mouth while sleeping, however, then the tongue won’t fall back and their sleep may not be disturbed.
The usual recommended treatment for this in the UK is by the use of a CPAP machine, to maintain and force a continuous flow of oxygen into the lungs during sleep via a facemask.
Living with a partner who has symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can also be a difficult proposition. At night, their snoring and gasping for air can keep you awake, and the restless shifting from position to position can prevent you from sleeping. During the day their fatigue may prevent them from being able to help out at home. However, talking with your partner about getting diagnosed is the first step toward both of you sleeping all night and waking up in the morning feeling refreshed.
Many sufferers however do not wish to wear a restrictive mask all night for a variety of good reasons – varying from claustrophobia to discomfort. As a consequence many people risk serious health problems by choosing not to be diagnosed or simply acquire the equipment and fail to adapt to using it.
As a result many Sleep Specialists and Dentists are now recommending other alternative therapies in order to lower health risks; their attitude now being that better a slightly less effective treatment than none at all, and the results have proved that this is proving an excellent solution. OSA sufferers that were previously undiagnosed are now coming forward for simpler and less invasive treatment for their possibly life-threatening problem.
This first began in the USA where awareness of Sleep Disorders is at a much higher awareness level, but has now begun to be widely accepted in the UK among leading Dental Practices. They are happy to recommend their patients to accept alternatives to CPAP. These solutions are NHS Approved products whose success levels are well recorded for all the common snoring problems amongst both men and women.
If you suspect that you or a member of your household suffers from snoring or sleep apnea, the first step is to see your dentist. He will organize a small oral appliance called a mandibular advancement device (MAD) that is worn during sleep to reduce snoring by moving the jaw forward and preventing the tongue from closing off the air passage. With your air passage open and unobstructed, snoring is greatly reduced which results in a quiet, restful sleep for you and the other members of your household.
An alternative device is a snoring chinstrap – which can be worn singly or in conjunction with the MAD if requiring extra support to close the mouth. This simple comfortable fabric product can help you and your partner get a good night’s rest and possibly prevent serious future health problems. An adjustable snoring chin strap wraps underneath a person’s jaw and over the head and is manufactured from comfortable, lightweight, and breathable fabric. It distributes tension evenly across the head and alleviates pressure points. As a result, the jaw stays closed, the tongue does not fall back, airways are more open, and sleep can occur without disturbances. It is a simple, low-cost, and non-surgical solution to a highly debilitating problem.
Together, the Custom mouthpiece and the Chinstrap are now widely diagnosed by leading dental practices in the UK for those heavy snorers who struggle with or deliberately avoid CPAP treatment for their problem. It may save their marriage – and even their life.
By John Redfern