Snoring is a problem many bed partners wish they never had to contend with. It affects approximately 44% of men and 30% of women and is estimated to involve more than 80 million people in North America alone. The condition affects people of all ages. The effects of snoring alone can severely impact normal sleep patterns, causing exhaustion and a lower immune system. It may also lead to more severe conditions such as sleep apnea. Emotionally, snoring can lead to tension and animosity between family members as children and spouses are deprived of sleep on a continual basis.
CAUSES OF SNORING
As a person sleeps, their body rests and relaxes. When this natural relaxation occurs the muscles of the neck, mouth, and throat spasm resulting in a smaller breathing airway. This decrease in the airway results in the increased velocity of air flowing through the narrowed space in order to deliver the same amount of air. As the velocity of air is increased in the constricted space, the soft tissue due to the turbulence, begins to vibrate. The vibration of the tissues in the throat and mouth result in snoring or “noisy breathing.”
This condition increases in a person:
- Lying on their back
- Who is overweight
- Who consumes excessive alcohol
If the blockage of the airway is severe enough, it may result in obstructive sleep apnea. This is a severe medical condition, in which a person stops breathing for at least 10 seconds. This can occur with various frequencies ranging from just a few times to over 100 times per hour. As a person tries harder to breathe with a sealed airway, the closure becomes tighter resulting eventually in a gasping sound and deep breath as the airway is violently forced open. Obstructive sleep apnea results in a decrease in the blood oxygen concentrations ranging from 97% to 100%. Many patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea have blood oxygen concentrations in the 60-80% range with severe patients as low as 40%. Oxygen levels this low cannot only result in fatigue, but do damage to the heart and central nervous system, and in severe cases it can result in death. The diagnosis and severity of obstructive sleep apnea can only be determined in a sleep lab.
CURRENT SNORING TREATMENT
There are several treatments for snoring or mild moderate sleep apnea. Surgical techniques to remove respiration impairing structures such as the uvula, enlarged adenoids and tonsils are used as snoring remedies. These soft tissue surgical procedures have shown only limited success (approximately 20-40%).
The breathing mask or CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) maintains an open airway by providing continuous positive air pressure. The CPAP is the preferred method of treatment in severe sleep apnea conditions. Although effective, most patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring find it socially disturbing and uncomfortable to be hooked up to a breathing machine which must be adjusted by a sleep lab.
NITE PEACE: Orthotic Appliance
The Nite Peace tm was designed to conveniently treat snoring and is effective in eliminating the symptoms of mild to moderate sleep apnea. The easily custom adaptable Nite Peace works by moving the lower jaw forward thus increasing three dimensional space of the airway resulting in a reduction of airway velocity and soft tissue vibration. Clinical research has demonstrated (see Clinical Research Synopsis) the initial elimination of snoring in 70%-100% of individuals using devices that move the lower jaw forward.
The Nite Peace is a simple to use, non-obstructive device, which is highly effective in the elimination of snoring. Constructed of comfortable polyethylene material, the Nite Peace is custom fit to the patient providing a gentle forward guidance of the lower jaw, opening of the airway and the elimination of snoring. The Nite Peace is a practical solution to socially annoying snoring, and is often used as a replacement for the CPAP machine in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea.
The Nite Peace does not interfere with breathing through the mouth. It is effective even in cases of nasal congestion. The Nite Peace, by moving the lower jaw forward, effectively takes pressure off the jaw (TMJ, Temporomandibular Joint) and is highly effective in the elimination and control of grinding and clenching and the morning headaches associated with them.
The Nite Peace appliance helps promote a more restful sleep by eliminating snoring, maintaining oxygen concentration levels and preventing clenching and grinding. Patients wake up feeling well and relaxed.
CLINICAL RESEARCH: SYNOPSIS
The investigation was to test the anti-snoring effectiveness and comfort of the Nite Peace orthotic in patients who have already utilized professionally fabricated orthotics for anti-clenching. Twenty seven subjects were randomly selected from 155 patients of Dr. Lawrence who complained of nocturnal snoring.
All twenty seven subjects were interviewed, rated their initial symptoms and discomfort, and filled out a questionnaire. Following successful fitting and placement of the Nite Peace orthotic, subjects were to wear the appliance for the test period and discontinue the use of any other device.
In addition, four patients previously diagnosed as suffering from obstructive sleep apnea and who were being medically treated for their disorder with CPAP machines were fitted with the Nite Peace orthotic. Sleep studies were conducted at the Southwest Cleveland Sleep Center. Sleep and staging events were scored according to standard protocols.
All patients were monitored during the study period and/or interviewed at the end of the study.