Reality TV fans watched Kathy Griffin, Roseanne (“Roseanne’s Nuts”), Andy Richter (“Late Night With Conan O’Brian”), and Patrick House (“The Biggest Loser”), as well as television characters “Mike” (“Mike & Molly”), Andre Braugher’s “Owen” (“Men of a Certain Age”), Nick Kroll’s “Ruxin” (“The League”), all contend with Sleep Apnoea machines. Let’s face it, as harsh of a reality it is to have sleep apnoea, it’s played for laughs, an exclamation point, as it was for Owen Wilson’s “Fred” in the movie “Hall Pass,” or nebbish Leonard in “The Big Bang Theory.”
Even our real-life superheroes have discussed their Sleep Apnoea woes, including:
- Shaquille O’Neal
- Rosie O’Donnell
- William Shatner
- Regis Philbin
There’s a reason why a sleep apnoea machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, aka CPAP) is effectively used for comedic purposes. It’s a large, noise-making machine, it’s cumbersome, and, worst of all, a modern-day gas-mask-like apparatus must be worn to sleep. The connotation is immediate – it burdens the wearer with the stigma of being old or overweight or simply a loud snorer. CPAP is not without a multitude of problems, discomfort sleeping being just one of the issues.
Wearers complain of a dry mouth or nose, inability to fall asleep, and a leaky mask (through a hose, the machine supplies constant and steady air pressure, with the use of a nose piece or a mask). Common complaints include:
- Wrong CPAP mask
- Arduous adjustment to wearing it
- Forced air can be intolerable
- The noise the machine emits is annoying
- Nasal spray needed because of stuffy, dry nose
- Cloying claustrophobia
- Irritated skin
- Pressure sores
- Leaky mask
- Dry mouth
- Inability to fall asleep, get comfortable
- Taking off the mask in during sleep
Sleep apnoea is actually nothing to laugh at. It’s a breathing obstruction issue that causes lack of oxygen to vital organs and disrupts sleep. This means many nights of continuously interrupted sleep. It has scary long-term problems, too, which include high-blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Luckily, with the development of the mandibular advancement splint (MAS), sufferers of sleep apnoea no longer are condemned to the CPAP machine as their only recourse. Those who have problems with the CPAP and have sound teeth can look into this customised option, an oral appliance, a type of “mouth guard” which works to move the teeth on the lower jaw to “jut” over the top front teeth – and thus create the necessary effect to prevent the stuttering breathing of those who suffer from Sleep Apnoea.
A MAS is considered successful if it can reduce the incidences of apnoea by a minimum of 50%, notes the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, which also states, “Many people find that an oral device is both more comfortable and more convenient than CPAP.” It is a good alternative for those who do not have severe sleep apnoea, have sound teeth, no issues with a stiff jaw and are not obese. It’s notably good for mild to moderate sleep apnoea, those who sleep on their side rather than their backs, and lastly, for those whose bottom jaw has a tendency to recede.
Although it may seem obvious, it’s important to note that a MAS if effective for snorers, too. It prevents the soft tissue from collapsing into the airway and disrupting normal breathing.
The MAS requires no surgery, needles or any invasive treatment. It is, however, customised for each person’s mouth. The benefits include:
- Safe and effective
- Custom fitted
- Periodic adjustments
- Non-invasive and Pain free
- Discontinue at any time
- Discreet treatment (you can still talk and drink)
- Competitive pricing
You can consult with your GP or your dentist, or look, for example, for a “Sound Sleeper” dentist who can fit you for a SomnoDent Dental Appliance, a type of MAS. A SomnoDent:
- Allows normal opening and closing of the mouth
- Permits speech and drinking
- 91% patients cite improvement in sleep
- Made of durable acrylic material that retains it’s shape and colour
- Is adjustable
- Has a three- to five-year life expectancy (three-year warranty)
- Has a soft inner-liner
- Can be covered through insurance
- Herbst Advance
It pays to do research on your own and look around for options with this kind of sleep apnoea solution so that once and for all, you can finally put an end to your sleep troubles.