Although many won’t admit it, snoring is extremely common. It is estimated that 60% of Australian adults occasionally snore, and for just over 30%, snoring is a daily occurrence.
Whilst it can be inconvenient, and frankly sometimes a little annoying if someone in your household is partial to a bit of night time rumbling, it can actually be a sign of something a lot more serious than an interruption to your night’s sleep.
Whilst some people are simply snoring, some may have a serious sleep disorder called Sleep Apnoea. The two conditions are often inaccurately used interchangeably and may be incorrectly treated as a result. While Sleep Apnoea will almost always leads to loud and frequent snoring, snoring does not always indicate Sleep Apnoea. Understanding the differences between sleep apnoea and primary snoring is the first step to effective treatment of both conditions. For all the people across the country who are spending their night’s being woken up throughout the night from frustrated bed partners, it’s important to know what their snoring means, and what they can do for their sake, and those that sleep next to them!
What is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is when someone stops and starts breathing repeatedly while asleep because the airway is not completely open. The muscles in the throat relax, meaning breathing stops, which may last for a few seconds to 30 seconds or even longer. The airway blockage causes an obstruction, which is the sound we hear.
There are many symptoms you can look out for if you are concerned you are suffering from sleep apnoea. These include the obvious sign of very loud snoring. A partner may also say it sounds like you stop breathing in the middle of the night, followed by gasping for air. Awakening with a dry mouth combined with a morning headache, and excessive sleepiness or irritability are also common signs.