EXCLUSIVE: Snoring is common, not normal: All you need to know about it according to a Dentist
The last decade has seen a major rise in children and adults suffering from mouth breathing, snoring and sleep apnea. Science and research suggest that narrow jaws and the airway are a modern phenomenon.
Have you ever looked at your partner sleeping seemingly peacefully as they snore away, and felt irritated at them for ruining your sleep with their snores? Would it make you feel better if I told you they weren’t truly getting a good night’s sleep? Snoring is misconstrued as an indicator of sound sleep but it’s actually the opposite.
Snoring or sleeping with your lips parted is an indicator of not sleeping well.
Why am I not sleeping well?
When you sleep, there are phases you go through. From an NREM (No Rapid Eye Movement) stage, where your sleep is shallow, to a Deep Sleep Stage that will eventually take you to a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage. Snoring or sleeping with your lips parted could mean that you’re not moving on to the Deep Sleep Stage which is hindering the quality of your sleep.
It’s natural to assume it’s stress, your phone, or that one awkward moment you can’t forget that’s keeping you up at night, but it all ties back to your tongue. Snoring and breathing through your mouth is a consequence of your entire tongue, the front, middle & back not sitting where it is supposed to sit — on the roof of your mouth.
Your airway stretches from your nose all the way down to your lungs, with your jaw, teeth and tongue sitting right in front of it. Any disturbance to any of those can result in an obstructed airway. Due to a Tongue Tie, or your jaw and teeth being mispositioned, it may rest anywhere else in the mouth or be unable to fully rest in the roof and obstruct your airway, causing you to not get enough oxygen while sleeping, hence causing, mouth breathing, snoring, or sleep apnea.
Your body compensates for this by breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, thus, causing your snores and ultimately a bad night’s sleep.
How do I know I’m not sleeping well?
It’s difficult to judge the quality of your sleep based on the quantity alone. As mentioned before, an 8-hour sleep doesn’t necessarily mean a good night’s sleep. To judge whether you and your loved ones are sleeping well, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for.
Symptoms in Children
- In children, unhealthy sleep may show up as
- An inability to concentrate/hyperactivity
- Having limited attention span with symptoms that mimic ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Childhood obesity
- Speech defects
- Sleeping with an open mouth (mouth breathing)
- Frequent tossing and turning in bed
- Clenching/grinding of teeth
- Frequent cold and cough
- Eating food for longer hours/picky eating
Symptoms in adults:
- Constant fatigue
- Clenching/grinding of teeth
- Jaw pain
- Neck and shoulder stiffness
- Sleeping with an open mouth
- High blood pressure
- Brain fog
- Inability to work/concentrate
- Feeling sleepy all the time despite getting a significant amount of sleep
- are symptoms of not getting quality sleep.
How do I get a good night’s sleep?
- To make sure you get a good night’s sleep you can begin by assessing the quality of your sleep through a Sleep Test.
- You can use Sleep Appliances that are fabricated by Airway Focused Dentists.
- You can try Oral Myofunctional Therapy (Tongue Therapy/Facial Yoga)
- Through some fun exercises, you can establish nasal breathing and correct the posture of your tongue, (and also get a killer jawline) Kourtney Kardashian uses the therapy to improve her tongue dexterity while Hollywood’s favourite couple, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen decided to go for a myofunctional therapy for their child after a tongue-tie release surgery!
- You could try Airway Orthodontics: Simply align your teeth using Airway Orthodontics that expands your jaw and brings it forward to widen your airway and help you breathe better. When you breathe well, you’ll sleep well.
Mantras that I follow:
- Good Quality Sleep
- Inhale Exhale through your nose
- Move your body
- Smile enough
- Chew to nourish
When they said a good night’s sleep is the remedy to everything, they weren’t lying. Anthony Burgess, the writer, once said, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.” The Tongue Tie & Sleep Institute, the only institute to provide this kind of holistic approach under one roof, is here to make sure you, and your loved ones sleep well.
About the author: Authored by Dr. Ankita Shah, Airway Focused Dentist, Tongue Tie Specialist, Myofunctional Therapist, India