Snoring is sometimes an infrequent or innocuous event. Often, however, it is a chronic problem affecting the amount and quality of sleep (this be true for the sleep partner, also) and millions of people are searching for the way to stop snoring. It often occurs in sleep apnea, which can be a serious medical problem, this is where a CPAP machine can help.
While some people ignore snoring, and others may seek out surgery to correct the problem, some kind of device to maintain positive airway pressure (PAP) is a common solution. The pressurized air of PAP helps keep a space between the tongue and pharynx, and may also keep other parts of the air pathways (such as the alveoli and bronchioles (The lack of space between the tongue and pharynx is a major cause of snoring).
The most common type of PAP is CPAP (continuous positive air pressure). These are relatively small devices, often portable. A CPAP unit consists of three major components: The air pump (often in an insulated housing to keep noise down), a face mask (sometimes a nasal pillow is used instead), and a hose connecting the air pump and the mask/pillow.
The main advantages of CPAP use, when properly prescribed and complied with by the patient, is the significant reduction of stopping of snoring, and the adequate delivery of oxygen to the patient’s system while sleeping. This will result in much more healthful and restorative sleep, and of course a better night for any sleep partner.
Some disadvantages may include: dried sinuses, facial chafing, necessity of shaving beard or mustache (the nasal pillow, which is inserted into the nostrils only, is sometimes used if facial hair is an issue), feeling of claustrophobia or anxiety, clumsiness and general lack of comfort, dry eyes, and nasal congestion. In some cases, the mask can push back the teeth and either or both the upper and lower jaw. This can result in TMJ problems in some patients.
If you’re seeking other ways to stop snoring, an alternative to CPAP would be variable/bi-level positive airway pressure (VPAP or BPAP). This device delivers a lower airway pressure during exhalation, with the intent of making breathing easier. In spontaneous mode BPAP, flow sensors cause a higher level of pressure when inspiratory effort is detected by flow sensors. The pressure reverts back to a lower baseline pressure afterwards. In timed mode BPAP, high and low pressures are administered at a set rate.