Snoring and sleep apnoea
Snoring is a common problem for many adults. It’s estimated that half of all adults snore at least occasionally and 25 percent are habitual snorers. Snoring is a coarse sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue in the upper airway. It occurs when part of the throat air passage collapses and vibrates. When someone is asleep, the muscle tone in the tongue, soft palate and neighbouring structures decreases. This allows collapse and vibration of these structures when breathing, thereby causing snoring. Anything that obstructs the airway can contribute to snoring e.g. large adenoids or a large tongue. Light or occasional snoring is not a health threat if it doesn’t interrupt breathing.
It’s estimated that 30-50% of snorers actually suffer from sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea occurs when a person’s normal breathing pattern is interrupted during sleep. In sleep apnoea a person temporarily stops breathing during sleep. The gaps in breathing are called apnoeas. The word apnoea means absence of breath. Sleep apnoea sufferers stop breathing repeatedly as they sleep. Their breathing may stop anything from about 10 to over 100 times per hour of sleep and may not start again for up to a minute or more. The most common type of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
OSA is defined as the cessation of airflow (caused by an obstruction) during sleep, preventing air from entering the lungs. Eventually, the consequent loss of breath causes the nervous system to send an alarm signal to the brain resulting in the person arousing momentarily. This reactivates the muscles that hold the throat open, the person breathes again and falls back to sleep. Typically there is a gasp or snort and their body shudders as they arouse. Usually the sufferer is totally unaware that they were momentarily jolted awake. The apnoeas prevent the sufferer from entering or spending adequate time in the deep restorative sleep stage. They also deprive the sufferer’s tissues and organs of oxygen.M
More on snoring and sleep apnoea
In order to fully understand and appreciate how breathing re-education can help resolve problems with snoring and sleep apnoea, it’s important to have an understanding of what snoring and sleep apnoea are, how they differ, and how life threatening OSA can be. This being the case, below I have provided links to 2 of my published articles. These articles include information on: the signs and symptoms of OSA, the risk factors for OSA, the possible complications of OSA, and the various treatment approaches for OSA.
The first article, titled ‘It may not be just snoring’ was published in Irish Pharmacist in September 2014 (page 28)
The second article titled ‘Obstructive sleep apnoea in adults’ was published in Nursing in General Practice in September 2014 (pages 9 to 14).
Informative short videos
Also, to facilitate your understanding, there are links below to 3 excellent, short, and very informative videos.
The first short video (less than 3 minutes) is titled: Wake Up’ to the possible risk factors of heavy snoring. It features Professor Melvyn Rubenfire, Director of Preventative Cardiology at the University of Michigan.
The second and third videos (by Patrick McKeown) explain how breathing re-education using the Buteyko breathing method can be effective in addressing snoring and sleep apnoea.
BIBH (Buteyko Institute of Breathing & Health) Sleep Apnoea Survey
A clinical review published in the Australian Nursing Journal in October 2012 presents the findings from a comprehensive survey of BIBH (Buteyko lnstitute of Breathing & Health) practitioners’ experiences in teaching breathing re-training to over 11,000 clients with sleep apnoea.
The survey found that:
- Over 95 percent of clients with sleep apnoea had improved sleep.
- Approximately 80 percent of clients had been able to cease use of their CPAP machine or oral appliances.
- Sleep apnoea symptoms such as snoring, headaches, restless legs, low concentration levels and decreased energy levels were also relieved in the majority of clients.
You may access the review article via the following link: https://buteyko.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/OSA_article_2012.pdf
You may access the complete BIBH survey report via the following link: https://buteyko.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Sleep_Apnoea_and_Breathing_Retraining_Report_May_2012.pdf