What are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders are conditions that affect an individual’s ability to have sustained, restful sleep. Sleep disorders can be frustrating and exhausting and in the long term can translate into chronic fatigue and more serious complications such as high blood pressure, stroke and apnoea-related deaths. Sleep-Disordered breathing (SDB) describes a group of sleep disorders characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or quantity of ventilation during sleep. Managing people’s airways help them to sleep better, and if we are sleeping better we are breathing better.
Sleep Disordered Breathing is far more common than many people are aware. 3 out of 10 people suffer from sleep-disordered breathing, with the most common issue being obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) – affecting 17% of adults. Unfortunately, many sufferers are unaware of the treatment options available to them. Consequently, many people leave their symptoms untreated, which can cause serious consequences even death.
Mild OSA and/or snoring in children are associated with a number of significant health risks, including developmental delay, growth failure, behavioural problems, learning deficits and pulmonary hypertension as well as having an impact on neurocognitive function. It is estimated that 8-12% of children are affected by primary snoring.
Snoring is often dismissed as nothing more than a nuisance. However, snoring is typically the result of dysfunctional breathing patterns that can lead to far more serious issues.
During normal breathing, the muscles of the throat and mouth hold the airway open to allow air to pass through smoothly and quietly. During sleep, these muscles relax, but should still allow the smooth passage of air. In cases of snoring, smooth passage of air through the airways is obstructed, leading to the audible vibrations that we call snoring. This typically points to issues with the musculature itself, and is often the result of improper breathing patterns learned during childhood.
Similar to snoring, sleep apnoea occurs due to the obstruction of air moving through a person’s airways. However, while snoring refers to only some air being obstructed, sleep apnoea is the condition of complete blocking of the airways, meaning no air can pass through. When this occurs, the body is unable to breathe, and the natural response is to send a signal to the brain to “wake up!”. This means an individual will wake up dozens (and often more) times throughout the night (often with no recollection of doing so, given the subconscious nature of the process), leading to poor sleep patterns, chronic tiredness and related fatigue conditions. As sleep apnoea gets more severe, symptoms can lead to a failure to wake up altogether. Serious sleep apnoea can be life-threatening.
Both snoring and sleep apnoea are often brought about by pre-existing orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs). This can include; incorrect tongue rest posture, mouth breathing, loss of muscle tone and function. This in turn can lead to poor breathing patterns and thus sleep breathing disorders.
Treating Sleep Disorders
Orofacial Myology (OM) treats these conditions by adopting a comprehensive and holistic approach to correcting the functionality of these vital body parts. Corrective treatment and exercises train the patient to breath and swallow the correct way, thus addressing sleeping disorders at their root cause. Orofacial Myology allows patients to return to natural, peaceful sleeping patterns without the disruptions of snoring or sleep apnoea.
Orofacial Myology (OM) treats Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) by adopting a comprehensive and holistic approach to correcting the function of these vital body parts. Corrective treatment and exercises train the patient to breathe through their nose, have the correct tongue rest posture and maintain lip seal, thus assisting the correct fundamental function of an open airway.
It is important to develop a balance between the muscle tone keeping the airway open and the pressure forces that try to close it during inspiration (our breath in). Our airway is influenced by muscle tone and these muscles can be lacking the necessary development. Fortunately, the required strength and motor skills can be developed through therapy.
Rochelle at Orofacial Myology Health has extensive experience treating sleeping disorders in patients of all ages. Rochelle works closely with other health specialists including, ENTs and Sleep and Respiratory Physicians to provide a comprehensive, holistic treatment of SDB and their underlying causes. Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation to discuss the treatment options available to you.