What is sleep disordered breathing?
It’s hard to know what’s going on when you’re asleep, and often the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing go unnoticed. If you feel like you’re not getting the rest you need, you snore, wake up tired, or you keep having those days where you are just pushing through, it may be time to consider having a sleep evaluation and possibly a sleep study.
Sleep Disordered Breathing Spectrum
Sleep disordered breathing refers to a spectrum of sleep issues, from just not waking up feeling refreshed to snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea. While males over 40 are more commonly diagnosed with sleep disordered breathing conditions, it can affect anyone, even children. We are increasingly seeing children, younger men, and women with signs of sleep disordered breathing. There is more to identifying sleep disordered breathing than just knowing if you are snoring or experiencing interrupted breathing. Sometimes the symptoms can be subtle or require specific knowledge to recognise.
Sleep apnoea is at the more severe end of the sleep disordered breathing scale, and is when you stop breathing for ten seconds or more while you are asleep. This causes your blood oxygen level to drop, and that sends a message to your brain to wake you up just long enough to take a breath. This can happen more than 30 times in an hour, and you may not even realise it. It’s no wonder people with sleep apnoea wake up tired!
The Azura sleep team is specially trained in identifying these signs and symptoms. With advancements in sleep study technology and treatment options, it is convenient and straightforward to identify and manage sleep-related breathing disorders. You can now do a sleep study in the comfort of your own home, and dental sleep devices are a highly effective, non-invasive treatment. It is now easier than ever to make sure you are sleeping well to live well.
Untreated Sleep Disordered Breathing
Left untreated, sleep disordered breathing can lead to many other health conditions and affect your day to day wellbeing. In children, it may affect the way they learn, potentially stopping them from reaching their full potential.
How can Azura help with sleep disordered breathing?
Our team are passionate about your wellbeing. As part of your first check-up and clean appointment with us, our trained staff will assess your risk of sleep disordered breathing. This simple assessment involves answering some simple questions and a comprehensive examination and evaluation. If you are identified to be at risk of sleep disordered breathing, you may be referred to our Sleep Coordinator who will assess your suitability for a sleep study.
At Home Sleep Studies
Our sleep studies are non-invasive and completed in your home. A sleep study gathers data to check how well you sleep and to diagnose sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea. The easy to use, sleep recording equipment captures a range of data while you’re sleeping, including heart rate, oxygen levels and body movement. Our Sleep Coordinator and practitioners will evaluate the data and advise you on the next steps and options available to you. Most importantly, our team will support you throughout your entire journey.
What are the Treatment Options for sleep disordered breathing?
Treating your sleep disordered breathing condition can help you to have a peaceful night’s sleep and wake with the energy you need to face the day. There is a range of options available depending on the severity of the condition and a patient’s circumstances.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)
Snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea are often treated with a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). This is a custom fit mouthguard worn on the top and bottom teeth during sleep. It works by keeping the lower jaw in a forward position to maintain an open airway allowing for normal breathing patterns. Our qualified practitioners adjust your custom-made MAD device to allow an open airway, ensure that it fits correctly for maximum comfort, and to achieve the best results for you.
For those with more severe sleep apnoea, a C-PAP device is usually recommended. C-PAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This device delivers a constant flow of air via a mask while you sleep. Our team can assist you in organising this and making it a smooth process to ensure you get the best outcome.
In some cases, it may be necessary to refer you to an ENT Specialist. This is especially the case for patients who have an obstruction within their nose or airway that is causing a blockage. Many patients may not even realise that this exists or is causing them problems until they undergo an airway and sleep screening. However, this can often be easily treated, and the problem is eliminated or substantially reduced.
There are lifestyle changes that can also help to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnoea, including giving up smoking, reducing your alcohol intake and losing weight if you are overweight. Our practitioners will discuss what changes you can make to your lifestyle to help manage your symptoms associated with sleep disordered breathing.
How do I know if I have sleep disordered breathing?
Every patient experiences different symptoms and to varying degrees. Our practitioners can help you identify if you may be suffering from sleep disordered breathing and what treatments are available. Symptoms can vary significantly in children, women, post-menopausal women and men, often making it tricky to identify yourself. Our practitioners have been trained to know the signs and symptoms of sleep disordered breathing specifically related to these groups.
Symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing (night-time)
Typical symptoms of sleep disordered breathing and apnoea during the night include:
- Gasping for breath in your sleep
- Pauses in your breathing during sleeping
- Waking frequently throughout the night
- Bedwetting or night terrors (in children)
- Frequent toilet visits during the night
- Restless legs syndrome
Symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing (daytime)
Because it happens when you’re asleep, often the night-time symptoms of sleep disordered breathing and apnoea go unnoticed, particularly if you do not share your bed. However, sleep disordered breathing impacts your day-to-day life too.
Typical daytime symptoms include:
- Fatigue or constant tiredness
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat or hoarse voice
- Poor concentration
- Depressed mood
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Pain in the jaw or evidence of grinding and clenching in your mouth
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Hyperactivity or behavioural problems (in children)
- Mouth breathing
- Frequent ear infections or Grommets (in children)
- Bad breath
- Frequent throat infections or Tonsillitis (in children)
If you’re tired of waking up tired, finding it hard to get through the day, or your bed partner is frustrated with your snoring, consider having an assessment for your risk of sleep disordered breathing. It could be the first step to enjoying a good night’s sleep, waking up energised and ready to live your best life.