An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from Sleep Apnea.

Many people with sleep apnea are overweight, but it does affect slim people
as well. Even children are not immune. Children with enlarged tonsils are prone to developing obstructive sleep apnea. Watch a short video from the  National Heart Lung and Blood Institute on what happens during sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Structural narrowing of the pharynx plays a critical role in most, if not all cases of obstructive sleep apnea (John Remmers. M.D. – the Harvard-trained physician who coined the term “Obstructive Sleep Apnea“). Dr. Remmers believes that this is due to the upper and lower jaws being recessed in the face, usually as a consequence of childhood mouth breathing and/or teeth removal with orthodontic ‘correction’.

During sleep the soft tissues around the throat and soft palate relax and collapse, further narrowing the airway. This means your breathing either stops (apnea), or there is a reduction in airflow (hypopnea) with accompanying fluctuations in blood oxygen levels throughout the night.

Sleep Apnea sufferers typically also experience:

  • snoring
  • dry mouth and throat
  • restless legs syndrome – excessive restlessness during sleep
  • mouth breathing
  • waking up tired and feeling tired during the day – often falling asleep in meetings or 
    dozing off when driving
  • poor daytime concentration
  • breathlessness on exertion

Breathing Retraining for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Most people who can learn to breathe through their nose at night, and reduce their breathing volume day and night, will eliminate snoring altogether.

If you have OSA then you may require an orthodontic consultation to assess for structural narrowing of the pharynx. This may then require correction in order to get permanent relief of OSA. The use of CPAP and intra-oral devices are not cures for the structural and physiological problems causing OSA but they will prevent nightly apnea episodes in most cases, you might also benefit from using a CPAP Pillow. If you are already using a CPAP device, you will find this article about CPAP Cleaner very useful.

The risks sleep apnea poses to long term health and longevity are too great to ignore.