Gasping for air (after your breathing stopped during sleep)
Awakening with a dry mouth or headache
Frequent waking causing a degree of insomnia
Frequent urination during the night or bed-wetting
Excessive daytime sleepiness causing lapses in concentration
Needing daytime naps or stimulants such as strong coffee to get through the day
Mood changes such as irritability due to excessive tiredness
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea!
People who snore are often joked about, but the reality of snoring is far from funny. Snoring, and its more troubling cousin Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), contribute to several complaints, including excessive daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, weight issues and even relationship issues.
While snoring may merely annoy your partner or, in severe cases, relegate them to another bedroom, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a potentially serious sleep disorder. During OSA your breathing repeatedly stops and starts, which is caused by the muscles in the back of your throat relaxing, which in turn causes the collapse of your airways. When your airways collapse you can’t get enough air, which lowers the oxygen levels in your blood. Your brain depends on adequate oxygen levels and in a defensive response it rouses you so that you can start to breathe again. This can happen many times a night, night after night, and may not even notice it. Some remember gasping for air, snorting or even choking. All this stops you from getting restorative sleep to help you function properly the next day.
Symptoms & Risk Factors
Symptoms of snoring and OSA can overlap and you can have obstructive sleep apnoea without snoring. It is best to get a proper assessment from your doctor who might refer you to a sleep studies clinic or a home study.
Risk factors include being overweight, smoking, being male, using substances which relax the muscles in the throat such as alcohol and sedatives, and chronic nasal congestion which makes it difficult to breathe through the nose.
While it is more common in older people, children can also suffer from snoring and OSA especially when accompanied by enlarged tonsils, adenoids and sinus infections.
Conventional treatments include
Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and giving up smoking
Managing airway allergies and clearing sinus infections
Airway pressure devices such as Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machines during sleep
Oral appliance designed to keep your throat open during sleep
Buteyko Breathing – an alternative approach
Mouth taping and nose breathing
People who snore may be breathing through their mouth when they sleep. If they do, they are running the risk of lowering carbon dioxide levels below what would be considered ideal. According to Buteyko Breathing, adequate carbon dioxide levels are necessary for proper oxygenation of the brain and the health of the body in general. (Bohr effect)
If we follow Buteyko’s logic of believing in the body’s innate drive to heal itself, we would look at the frequent stopping of breathing during sleep as an attempt to increase carbon dioxide levels. Correcting mouth breathing, with the help of taping your mouth at night, and addressing reduced levels of carbon dioxide by practicing Buteyko Breathing during the day, can bring about lasting relief. Persistence and commitment to practise daily are necessary to achieve the desired results.
Combining Buteyko with holistic advice
In addition to teaching her clients Buteyko Breathing to tackle snoring and OSA, Brigitte offers advice on how to clear persistant sinus infections, manage allergies and how to improve overall sleep quality.
Children may need additional support to manage enlarged tonsils, adenoids, bed wetting and anxiety, concurrent with learning Buteyko Breathing, to improve snoring and OSA. An assessment by Dr. Mariola Prokop at Braceless Choice may also be considered.