North Atlanta Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center
4800 Olde Towne Parkway
Suite 360 (3rd Floor)
Marietta, GA 30068
Phone: 770-971-1533

North Atlanta Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center

Sleep Disorders

45% of normal adults snore at times. 25% snore most or all of the time, called habitual snoring.

Snoring is due to the turbulence of airflow thru an obstructed nasal passage and/or the vibration of collapsed soft tissues within the throat

As we sleep, we descend into deeper levels of sleep, in cycles, many times each night, in order to be refreshed upon waking. As we descend into the deeper levels of sleep, the muscles throughout the entire body lose some tone, including the muscles that keep the throat open. As the throat muscles lose tone, there’s a natural collapse of the airway to some degree in everyone. If the tissues within the throat collapse too much and fall against each other, the air that we breath in forces those tissues apart, but then they fall back against one another and vibrate, causing snoring.

There is a spectrum of snoring. On one end is Benign Snoring. In Benign Snoring, the snorer is able to go thru the normal full night’s cycle of refreshing sleep. In this situation, the snoring is a social issue, which may not feel so benign to the snorer’s bed partner as he or she has to listen to the “racket” and is most likely not sleeping well.

On the other end of the snoring spectrum is when snoring is a sign of a true medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). In OSA, at some point within the sleep cycle, the tissues of the throat are falling against one another to such a degree that the air being breathed in by the patient is not able to blow the blocked tissues apart, essentially causing a lack of airflow, or apnea. This temporary “suffocation” causes our brain to make us go to a lighter level of sleep, or completely wake up, to make sure that airflow restarts. This process prevents the patient with OSA from going thru the normal cycles of sleep, which can cause multiple problems including the following:

  1. Morning lethargy and daytime fatigue
  2. Irregularities of the heartbeat (Arrhythmia)
  3. Problems with the lungs (Pulmonary Hypertension)
  4. Elevated Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  5. Sexual Dysfunction
  6. Headaches
  7. Premature Death

For all the above reasons, when someone is suspected of having Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it is recommended that he or she undergo a thorough ear, nose, and throat evaluation to try to figure out the cause(s) of the problem as well as undergo a sleep study

Learn more about snoring and sleep apnea from the American Academy of Otolaryngology.