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What Is Sleep Apnea?

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Balancing life, work, and family is challenging at the best of times. You work hard all day, spend the evenings shuttling kids to practices and meetings, and try to squeeze in a family dinner at least a few times each week. As if that is not enough, the last few years have forced parents to add juggling social distancing, working and learning remotely, and ever-changing schedules to our already hectic lives.


What we all need is a good night’s sleep. We actually need that every day. However, if you suffer from a condition like sleep apnea, extended deep sleep can be difficult to achieve. At IJustWantTo® Correct My Tongue Thrust, we have an interest in sleep apnea.

People who have tongue thrust often breathe primarily through their mouths. Mouth breathing can lead to snoring. Over time, snoring can worsen, leading to other conditions, such as sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing while sleeping. When people with sleep apnea sleep, they have many lengthy breath pauses.

These pauses in breathing impair sleep quality and deplete the body's oxygen supply, potentially resulting in serious health repercussions. Per the Sleep Foundation, there are three types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): OSA occurs when the airway at the back of the throat becomes physically blocked. That obstruction causes temporary lapses in breath.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): CSA happens because there is a problem with the brain’s system for controlling muscles involved in respiration, leading to slower and shallower breathing.

Mixed Sleep Apnea: When a person has both OSA and CSA at the same time, it is referred to as mixed sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea.”

Approximately ten percent of all Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 1% dealing with central sleep apnea and up to 9% struggling with obstructive sleep apnea. While obstructive sleep apnea can be experienced by anyone, it is most common among men.

What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

You may not realize you have sleep apnea, but your body is trying to send you signs. A few key indicators you have sleep apnea include:

  • Fatigue: If you feel like you are sleepy throughout the day regardless of how much sleep you get at night, you might have sleep apnea.
  • Snoring: Snoring is not just a problem for your partner and family; it could be indicative of breathing problems during the night.
  • Headaches: Do you have a splitting headache before you get your morning coffee? It might not be caffeine that your body needs but better sleep.
  • Dry Mouth: If you feel like your mouth is always dry and your throat scratchy in the morning, it is likely you are not breathing properly at night.
  • Irritability: Are you always cranky in the morning? While your family might think you’re just a grouch, you may have sleep apnea to blame.
  • Focus: Do you find it difficult to focus on work or school? It might not be your overactive mind that makes it challenging to pay attention to lectures or office tasks. You might not be getting enough sleep.

If you are exhibiting any of these signs, it is important to speak with your doctor.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

There are many potential causes of sleep apnea. Making some key lifestyle changes could help you overcome it and start sleeping more effectively. A few of the causes include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sleep aids such as alcohol at night

How Is Tongue Thrust Connected to Sleep Apnea?

Breathing primarily through your mouth rather than your nose can lead to snoring and sleep apnea. People who have tongue thrust often breathe primarily through their mouths.

It is best to learn how to stop mouth breathing and how to swallow correctly now before ending up with sleep apnea. The CorrectMyTongueThrust program can successfully teach you how to swallow correctly, stop mouth breathing, and begin nasal breathing.

Is there anything you can do to correct the tongue thrust? Absolutely! You can retrain your tongue to fit properly in your mouth, so you can learn to swallow correctly.

IJustWantTo® Correct My Tongue Thrust is available to help. IJustWantTo® Correct My Tongue Thrust is a tongue muscle workout program that has been demonstrated to decrease snoring and tongue thrusting, both of which are caused by mouth breathing and incorrect tongue position.

Our seven-week tongue exercise program can help correct tongue thrust without the use of medicine, surgery, or intrusive treatments. Please contact us or place an order right now if you would like to learn more about our program.

Janet M. Bennett

Written by:

Janet Bennett, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is a Speech Pathologist in private practice in Asheville, NC, since 1977. She specializes in treating tongue thrust, a swallowing disorder that can result in buckteeth, an open bite, a lisp, snoring, and other problems that have not yet been made known to most people.