A persistent feeling of sleepiness during the day could be due to undiagnosed allergies, medication regimens, an uncomfortable bed or pillow, or stress from work. Health experts say, however, that daytime drowsiness coupled with loud snoring at night could be a warning sign of sleep apnea. What differentiates sleep apnea from regular snoring patterns is the fact that, as the throat muscles relax in people with the condition, their breathing patterns are slowed or temporarily interrupted.
When people with sleep apnea are startled awake in the middle of the night, a pattern which could repeat itself more than 25 times an hour, it is due to their bodies’ temporary inability to draw a complete breath. There are a variety of causes, but in general, one in six Americans has sleep apnea.
Medical equipment does exist to assist heavy snorers who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. CPAP machines and CPAP supplies are often available at a medical supply store or through insurance. Continuous Positive Air Pressure machines generate a steady stream of air that people can breathe at night. A small face mask that covers the mouth is secured by a small strap, and using a CPAP machine can ensure that air flow is continuous throughout the sleeping hours.
Studies show that regular use of medical equipment can be highly effective. Some people with sleep apnea find that while they are waiting for medical supplies to arrive, they can run a fan while they sleep to help with air flow. Doctors often tell patients with the condition to exercise more and to avoid alcoholic beverages. More than 18 million people with sleep apnea are waiting for further research and perhaps, eventually, a surgical cure.