Sleep better with an open airway
You may be wondering why you’re still tired even after mastering your sleep hygiene. Do you suspect your nighttime breathing may be preventing you from getting restorative sleep?
We know that obesity, smoking, and regular alcohol use all increase your risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), but what about the other risk factors and signs that impaired nighttime breathing may be your biggest barrier to restorative sleep?
You may have already been diagnosed with Sleep-Disordered Breathing, examples of which include OSA and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS).
Whether you have a diagnosis or not, the signs and risk factors below may help you determine if sleep-disordered breathing is negatively impacting you or your child both day and night.
Signs of sleep-disordered breathing
- Impaired nasal breathing
- Narrow, vaulted palate
- Low resting tongue posture
- Tongue Tie
- Long facial structure
- Retracted or small jaws
- Restless sleep
- Unusual posturing during sleep
- Nighttime bed-wetting post age 5
- Dark circles under eyes
- Sufficient sleep quantity without feeling rested
- Witnessed cessation of nighttime breathing
- Gasping during sleep
- Morning dry mouth
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Morning headache
- Nighttime teeth clenching/grinding
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Negative/unstable mood
- Impaired daytime cognition, memory, focus
- Excessive, chronic stiffness of body
- High or low blood pressure
- Blood glucose instability/insulin intolerance
CPAP is not your only option
Navigating airway interventions can be daunting and confusing, especially when you’re tired. Long gone are the days when a CPAP was the only line of defense against OSA, especially because we now know how long-term CPAP compliance is as low as 40-85%.  The ways in which you can address an airway issue are extensive; so extensive that it may be advantageous to have a guide to provide you with worthwhile interventions and connect you to other airway-focused providers. Ashley can help you cut out the noise so you can reach your airway-related sleep goals faster.
Conservative approaches to nighttime breathing
Nighttime breathing may be impaired due to insufficient nasal airflow, limited dimensions of the upper airway from altered skeletal growth and/or non-ideal oral posture, lax soft tissue or the pharynx, and/or a stiff ribcage, among others. Several of these issues can be altered in a conservative manner. In most cases, it makes sense to begin with conservative management and move toward more invasive options only as needed.
Sleep-disordered breathing in children
With children, it is crucial to address sleep-disordered breathing as early as possible. Sleep-disordered breathing can limit oxygen delivery to the brain, which is harmful at all ages, but can be even more detrimental to the developing brain. Additionally, children’s skeletal structures are still growing and with the right intervention at the right time, facial growth may be positively influenced to maximize tongue space and airway dimensions.
 Virk JS, Kotecha B. When continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) fails. J Thorac Dis. 2016;8(10):E1112-E1121. doi:10.21037/jtd.2016.09.67