Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disorder with benign symptoms such as loud snoring at night, and morning headaches or daytime bouts of sleepiness. The cause is intermittent periods throughout sleep when you stop breathing. Breathing cessation, or apnea, lasts from seconds to nearly a minute. When breathing resumes, the brain senses lack of oxygen and wakes you up. The snoring is loud, sometimes explosive. In the morning, the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood causes headaches. And the lack of deep sleep can leave one drowsy and usually grouchy, during the day. During sleep apnea, the upper air passages in the mouth and throat are obstructed. One form of treatment that has proven successful is wearing an acrylic appliance during sleep to keep air passages open. It's comfortable and easy to use.
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