Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing frequently stops and restarts. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and other complications. There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. If you think you might show signs of having sleep apnea, please consult your doctor.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles of the tongue and the back of your throat relax. When these muscles relax, the airway narrows, making it hard to breathe. When your body doesn't get enough oxygen in your blood, your brain senses this and wakes you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. When this happens, you may snort, choke or gasp. This pattern can happen up to 30 times per hour, essentially putting the body into "fight or flight" mode all night long and preventing the restful, restorative sleep that our body needs to function at its best. This can lead to serious health issues.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Loud Snoring

Gasping For Air

Difficulty Staying Asleep

Dry Mouth



Constantly Tired

Concentration Issues/Inattention/Hyperactivity

Breathing Starts & Stops While Sleeping

Gastrointestinal Issues

Bed-wetting, sleep walking & night terrors in children

Clenching & grinding the teeth

Frequent urination

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea of which to be aware: Obesity, age, gender, smoking and drug use, chronic nasal congestion, family history and a high, narrow palate resulting in a low resting tongue posture and mouth breathing. Being obese greatly increases your risk of having sleep apnea. Those with a  neck circumference of greater than 16 inches for women and 17 inches for men  often have excessive fat in the neck area, which contributes to crowding and narrowing of the airway. Gender and age are also important factors in sleep apnea, with men more likely than women to have it and a greater prevalence of sleep apnea occurring with increasing age.  Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, particularly in children, can also restrict the airway. Undiagnosed sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing in children can lead to excessive daytime tiredness with the related symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. Sleep apnea can affect anyone. If you think you might sleep have apnea, please consult your doctor right away. The good news is that myofunctional therapy can also help!

Myofunctional Therapy and Sleep Apnea

Myofunctional therapy can help to strengthen the muscles of the face, throat and the tongue, helping the tongue to move up against the palate and out of the airway. This proper resting position of the tongue can also help to promote proper craniofacial development in growing children and teens, often resulting in a broader nasal airway and a reduced incidence of obstructive sleep apnea.  Myofunctional therapy has been shown to help those with obstructive sleep apnea to reduce their AHI (apnea/hypopnea index, or the number of times they either stop breathing or their oxygen levels take a dip while they sleep) by as much as 50%. Those with severe sleep apnea often still need CPAP even with that reduction, but many with mild to moderate sleep apnea notice great improvement in the quality of their sleep and an overall reduction in sleep apnea symptoms.

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