For many people, sleep apnea is a constant bedtime companion. For others, sleep apnea may come and go depending on various factors. But even if your sleep apnea is an intermittent problem, it might still be worth it to get treatment, especially if treatment is convenient like an oral appliance.
What Might Cause Intermittent Sleep Apnea
People with intermittent sleep apnea have an airway that is perpetually narrow and prone to collapse, but which only fully collapses under certain circumstances. For these people, it’s likely that snoring is a constant problem, but the complete closure of the airway occurs only due to circumstances like:
- Unusual sleeping position
- Alcohol consumption
- Consuming certain foods
- Seasonal allergies
Intermittent sleep apnea is commonly influenced by sleep position. People with a narrow airway might be able to avoid collapse by sleeping on their side, but if they roll onto their backs they can experience airway collapse.
Alcohol consumption will cause the muscles supporting your airway to relax more fully. Whether this is enough of an influence to trigger sleep apnea depends on how narrow your airway normally is, how much alcohol you consume, and how long after drinking that you go to sleep.
If you have mild food allergies, then consuming those foods can lead to inflammation of the airway, increasing the risk of airway collapse.
The same can happen with seasonal allergies. When ragweed season comes along, for example, your mucus membranes may be so swollen that you will have difficulty breathing and may experience sleep apnea every night for the length of the season.
Should You Get Intermittent Sleep Apnea Treated?
Whether your intermittent sleep apnea needs treatment depends on whether it’s impacting your health and your daily routine. One good indicator is whether you’ve been diagnosed with a common effect of sleep apnea, such as hypertension (high blood pressure). This is a sign that your intermittent sleep apnea is already affecting your heart and needs to be treated.
Another thing to consider is whether your daily life is being impacted by sleep apnea. If you’re regularly tired and feel the urge to fall asleep during the day, you’re not sleeping well and you need treatment.
And then there’s the snoring. If the constant or regular snoring is bothering your spouse or others in the household, treatment is recommended.
The Ideal Treatment for Intermittent Sleep Apnea
If you have intermittent sleep apnea, an oral appliance is the ideal treatment. It’s small, easy to store, and is immediately ready for use, even if it’s been just sitting by the bed for months. An oral appliance can also treat snoring without being intrusive.
If you think you might have intermittent sleep apnea, we can help you get an oral appliance to prevent the recurrence of sleep apnea. Please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.