Don’t let sleep-disordered breathing keep you from a restful night’s sleep.

We spend about one third of our lives sleeping or trying to sleep. However, sometimes we still wake up feeling poorly rested after a full night’s sleep. One of the most important things we can do for our overall health is ensuring that we get high-quality sleep. When you experience sleep-disordered breathing, it can impede your ability to get truly restful sleep, leaving you feeling tired and groggy the next day.

Sleep-disordered breathing can range in severity from mildly disruptive to a serious health condition. For this reason, it’s important to consult with a medical professional if you experience any symptoms.

What is sleep-disordered breathing exactly? What are the symptoms to look out for and how is it treated? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

What is sleep-disordered breathing?

Sleep-disordered breathing is an umbrella term that refers to breathing difficulties that happen while you sleep. Sleep-disordered breathing can range from obstructive sleep apnea to frequent, loud snoring. Because sleep-disordered breathing occurs while you are sleeping, it isn’t always easy to know that you are having breathing trouble at night.

The impact of sleep-disordered breathing can vary widely. Some breathing disorders experienced during sleep have little to no impact on your health, while others can result in serious consequences.

There are several different types and subtypes of sleep disordered breathing identified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

One of the most common sleep-related breathing disorders is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is when the airway collapses repeatedly while you sleep. This both affects the body’s oxygen levels and fragments sleep by causing lapses in breathing.

As many as 30% of adults experience OSA. It is believed that this is an under-diagnosed condition, meaning that many people who have the disorder might not realize it.

Sleep-related Hypoventilation Disorders

Another category of sleep-disordered breathing is known as sleep-related hypoventilation disorders. These occur when there is a lack of air moving in and out of your lungs due to elevated blood levels of CO2 during sleep.

These conditions are often connected to other health issues. People with sleep-related hypoventilation disorders may have lung conditions, such as pulmonary hypertension or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Central Sleep Apnea

This is a type of sleep apnea that leads to lapses in respiration during sleep. This occurs because either your brain or respiratory muscles aren’t making the proper effort to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea occurs when obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea occur at the same time.

Sleep-related Hypoxemia Disorder

This disorder occurs when your blood oxygen levels drop while you sleep. At the same time, the levels of carbon dioxide aren’t high enough to be considered a hyperventilation disorder. Other health problems can lead to sleep-related hypoxemia disorder, which means that focusing on the underlying issue is often necessary to treat the disorder.


It is normal for people to experience light snoring occasionally. However, it is considered a sleep-related breathing disorder if an individual snores more than three nights per week. Snoring can be classified as chronic, primary, or habitual.

Pediatric Sleep-disordered Breathing

Pediatric sleep-disordered breathing occurs when children experience any number of breathing issues during sleep, including loud snoring and OSA. In the next section we look at some of the symptoms of pediatric sleep-disordered breathing.

What are the symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing?

One of the most common symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing is feeling sleepy during the day. Because OSA decreases oxygen supply to the brain and body, it decreases the quality of your sleep. This can result in a lack of clarity in the morning, and daytime sleepiness.

Some of the other daytime symptoms of OSA include:

  • Feeling grumpy or disgruntled.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Waking up repeatedly during the night.
  • Worsening depression.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • Hyperactivity in children.
  • Poor school and job performance.

Feeling drowsy during the day can also put people at risk for industrial and motor vehicle accidents. Daytime sleepiness can be relieved with proper treatment.

There are also some symptoms that can be observed at night if you share a bed with another person. These include:

  • Gasping.
  • Loud snoring.
  • Snorting.
  • Choking.
  • Breathing interruptions while sleeping.

If your child has untreated pediatric sleep-disordered breathing, they might be exhibiting some of the following symptoms:

  • Snoring.
  • Irritability.
  • Bed-wetting.
  • Obesity.
  • Learning difficulties.
  • Cardiovascular difficulties.
  • Slow growth.

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your children, you should discuss them with your doctor or dentist to determine if treatment is necessary.

What are the treatment options?

Depending on what type of sleep-disordered breathing you are experiencing, your treatment options will vary. Treatment can involve lifestyle changes, wearing a night guard, receiving orofacial myofunctional therapy, and more.

Orofacial myofunctional therapy is used to help individuals who are experiencing dysfunctions that relate to their facial muscles. This type of therapy can help with a number of different conditions, including:

  • Sleep-disordered breathing.
  • Sleep apnea and OSA.
  • Open-mouth breathing.
  • Speech and articulation struggles.
  • Low and abnormal tongue posture.
  • Temporomandibular disorders.

Both children and adults can benefit from this type of therapy. You can learn more about how Ada Smile Place can help you reach complete health here.

Are you experiencing breathing problems while you sleep?

Sleep-disordered breathing can come in many forms, and many individuals might not realize they even have a sleep-related breathing disorder. If you can relate to any of the symptoms listed above, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a medical professional. At Ada Smile Place, we can help treat many sleep-disordered breathing issues using a variety of treatment options.

Is it time for you to make an appointment with Ada Smile Place? If so, book an appointment here today.