Snoring happens when the throat relaxes during sleep, leading to irregular airflow and vibration of the airways. There are several factors that can lead to snoring, including the anatomy of the mouth and throat, alcohol consumption, congestion from a head cold or allergies, or being overweight. Sleep apnoea is when breathing is interrupted many times per night and is a potentially life threatening condition in the long term. Not everybody who snores has sleep apnoea. But if a person snores, is persistently tired during the day and has a tendency to wake up feeling unrefreshed in the morning, sleep apnoea may be present.
Most snorers are unaware they could have sleep apnoea, and may only discover they have a problem when they are told by a partner or house mate. It’s also common for sufferers to deny the issue, or make light of it- but sleep apnoea is a potentially serious condition and should not be ignored.
Snoring or Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea sufferers often find it difficult to concentrate, which can affect their performance at work and can lead to an increased risk of accidents. Irritable mood may occur due to ongoing sleep deprivation. Research also shows that it may increase the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. So, awareness of this condition is very important. And whilst recording a partner during sleep, or using a sleep app on a smartphone can help show if sleep apnoea is present, properly conducted sleep studies are by far the most effective method of diagnosis.
Researchers have developed simple screening tools which can help decide whether sleep studies are worth considering. The STOP-BANG questionnaire comprises 8 questions and will indicate if a sleep study is appropriate based on your symptoms and risk factors.
If you suffer from snoring and wish to get a referral letter for a sleep study- you can now get a referral letter to the specialist of your choice online. Click here to find out more.