It’s easy to dismiss snoring as something that normally happens to people when they’re asleep but it might actually turn out to be worse than expected. If you keep snoring loudly on a daily basis and still feel tired despite having a full 7-9 hours of sleep, then you might actually have sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that happens when a person’s breathing is disrupted during sleep. This disorder can be characterized by loud snoring and a feeling of fatigue despite having a full 7-9 hours of sleep every night or by a cessation of breathing even due to the brain failing to send signals for the body to breathe involuntarily during sleep.
There are two main types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring is a characteristic of obstructive sleep apnea. This happens when the throat muscles suddenly collapse, preventing the air from flowing properly. The snoring sound is made when the air is forced to pass through a narrow opening instead of flowing freely without any obstruction.
On the other hand, central sleep apnea does not involve snoring. Instead, the brain does not send the right signals for involuntary breathing to happen. Since the body is not informed by the brain that your oxygen level is decreasing, your body does not make any attempt to breathe at all. Unfortunately, this may be a symptom of an illness that affects how your brain functions.
Signs symptoms of sleep apnea
It might be difficult to check for signs and symptoms on your own, so it’s best to ask someone to monitor those for you. Another option is to record yourself in your sleep. If you notice the following, you might be suffering from sleep apnea:
- Loud and consistent snoring every night
- Gasping, choking, or snorting noises
- Pauses in breathing
- Suddenly waking up as if you ran out of breath
- Strange feeling of fatigue and sleeplessness even after a full 8-hour sleep
- Dry mouth or sore throat
- Frequent urination at night
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Morning headaches
- Irritability, mood swings, depression
Do I need to wear a mouthguard if I have sleep apnea?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, there’s a possibility that you grind your teeth while asleep. This condition is called bruxism.
While it doesn’t really treat sleep apnea per se, mouthguards can be beneficial during bedtime. It reduces the chances of you grinding your teeth and it has been proven effective to fix that loud, bothersome snoring that keeps everyone up all night. The mouth guard adjusts the placement of your tongue and your jaw and allows proper airflow when you’re asleep.
Which mouthguard should I use?
There are three types of mouthguards: stock mouthguards, boil and bite mouthguards, and custom-made mouthguards. Choosing the right mouthguard mostly depends on how much you’d like to spend and if you prefer a custom fit or a store-bought size.
Stock mouthguards are ready-to-wear and are pretty cheap compared to the types. They are quite easy to find due to their availability in most drug stores and sporting goods stores.
Unfortunately, there are two downsides to this type of mouthguard. Since they are mass-produced, you can’t really find a stock mouthguard that will fit you perfectly since they only come in three basic sizes (small, medium, and large). Another issue is that these aren’t recommended by dentists because they don’t provide any benefit at all. They are too bulky and they just worsen a person’s breathing.
Boil and bite mouthguards
If you prefer a better fit without hurting your budget, boil and bite mouthguards are a great choice. These are made from thermoplastic material that softens when placed in hot water and when it does, you can place it in your mouth and bite to make a mold of your teeth. Submerge in cold water to harden the material. This makes it more convenient to wear even during sleep since it fits your mouth perfectly.
Custom-made mouthguards are made by a dentist and are specifically designed for your teeth. Dentists create a mold of your teeth, which will be used as a model for the mouth guard. Since they are custom-fitted by an expert, these are considered to provide the best fit and comfort when worn even at night. The material used is also much more durable than store-bought versions. That is, if you are willing to spend more money to have these done by a dentist.
If you want to try wearing a mouthguard for your sleep apnea, it’s best to go with either custom-made mouthguards or boil and bite mouth guards. These two provide better fit compared to stock mouthguards, and are actually proven to help you breathe better and avoid teeth grinding while you’re sleeping.
Custom-made mouthguards can be a pretty expensive choice if it’s only your first time, so it’s best to try boil and bite mouthguards first. On that note, try out the M3 Naturals Heavy Duty Mouth Guards!
These are made from durable material that can last for a long time despite repeated use. Choosing the best fit is now made easier since it comes with 3 mouthguards that are included in the set!