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Differences Between Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Differences Between Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. That said, not all sleep apnea patients snore, and not all snoring is a sign of sleep apnea. Today, our Vancouver dentists explain some of the differences between sleep apnea and snoring.

Both sleep apnea and snoring disrupt natural sleep patterns and leave suffers battling with the effects of poor sleep quality. Nonetheless, not all snoring is related to sleep apnea. 


The sound we recognize as snoring occurs when airflow becomes obstructed and causes vibrations in the respiratory structures.  Snoring can occur for a number of reasons not related to sleep apnea, including: an unusually long tongue, nasal obstructions, or an elongated soft palate. Snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) however, not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea will necessarily snore.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder characterized by frequent abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. Depending on the type of sleep apnea the pauses in breathing can be caused by a physical blockage to airflow, lack of respiratory effort, or a combination of the both.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, and occurs when there is a physical blockage of airflow. People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea may have the condition without even knowing it! It is often the sleep partner who points out the symptoms that they are noticing.

Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

The most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea include: 
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping while sleeping
  • Choking while trying to sleep
  • Dry mouth when waking
  • Waking frequently throughout the night
  • Morning headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Hight sweats

Feeling fatigued and sleepy throughout the day due to the poor quality of their sleep is also a common side effect of sleep apnea. This fatigue can, in turn, have negative impacts on overall motivation, work performance, and general alertness.

It is important to recognize that sleep apnea is a serious condition! If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact your Vancouver dentist today to book a consultation.

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