Sleep Apnea vs. Snoring: Is There a Difference?

sleep apnea vs. snoring

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that results in numerous temporary stoppages of breathing throughout your sleep cycle.

According to SleepEducation.org, snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, but not everyone who snores has it. One of the common indicators as to whether or not common snoring has implications of a more serious breathing condition (like sleep apnea) is if that snoring is accompanied by a frequent choking or gasping sound.

Before trying to self-diagnose yourself (or your partner), it’s important to understand that sleep apnea can occur in three distinct varieties:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form, and it occurs when throat muscles relax during sleep to create physical airway blockages.
  • Central sleep apnea is when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing, and has nothing to do with physical airway blockage.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome is some combination of both OSA and simultaneous central sleep apnea, making it particularly difficult to both diagnose and treat.

1 in 5 adults has some mild form of OSA, making it by far the most common form of sleep apnea. It’s caused when the muscles at the back of your throat relax as you sleep, which results in a narrowing of airways to the point of being completely unable to breathe. At this point your brain signals you to briefly wake up (as a survival mechanism), but typically you wake up so briefly that you don’t remember it. Nevertheless, people with sleep apnea may have this happen 30 times or more during the typical night’s sleep, meaning that their sleep cycle has been interrupted on numerous occasions throughout the night.

Risk Factors & Warning Signs

According to United Press International, men are more than twice as likely as women to have sleep apnea. Risk factors are highest for people who are overweight, more than 40 years old, are smokers, have a deviated septum, or who suffer from allergies and sinus problems. High blood pressure, as it turns out, is another common risk factor for sleep apnea that many people are unaware of. This is especially alarming when you consider that 70 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, and between 30 to 40 percent of adults with high blood pressure also have sleep apnea. Not surprisingly, getting treated for sleep apnea can often coincide with reduced blood pressure readings.

If you believe that you or your partner has symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important that you seek consultation with a medical professional as soon as possible. Under proper medical care, sleep apnea is a highly manageable condition that can usually be addressed with various non-surgical medical devices worn during sleep.

While sleep environment factors like room temperature or having a luxury mattress aren’t going to have a direct impact on the symptoms of sleep apnea, they can invariably make a significant difference in your overall quality of sleep once your sleep apnea symptoms are under control. Spink & Edgar, for example, has developed its entire line of luxury mattresses with painstaking attention to provide the most consistently ideal sleep-conducive conditions. Learn more about the many advantages of Spink & Edgar luxury mattress construction methods by learning more about the natural comfort layers, micro-coils, and pocket coils in our design.

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