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Snoring was ruining my relationship -- here's how a sleep doctor fixed my sleep apnea

Snoring affects more than 90 million Americans, but it can also be a sign of sleep apnea. I turned to Dr. Jordan Stern, an ear, nose, and throat doctor and founder of BlueSleep, for help. His solution was a simple oral device that helped my snoring instead of a traditional CPAP machine. The novel approach includes a way to receive treatment without stepping into the doctor’s office. Following is a full transcript fo the video.

Kevin Reilly:This sound is me. Snoring. I had never heard this sound until I recorded it.But every person that’s slept near me has suffered through it. That sound has ruined countless relationships for me. OK maybe that isn’t the only problem, but it’s a big one. According to the National Sleep Institute, more than 90 million Americans suffer from snoring. And that doesn’t include everyone sleeping next to them.

I tried all your standard snoring remedies – over-the-counter nose strips, buying my partner every ear plug I could find, I even considered tying my hand to the bed so I wouldn’t roll over and snore. But I just wound up spending more time on the couch. I had no idea how to fix this on my own. What I really needed was professional help

Dr. Jordan Stern: My name is Dr. Jordan Stern. I am an ear, nose, and throat and sleep specialist. And the founder and director of BlueSleep.

Reilly:Dr. Stern put me through a physical exam to see if anything about the shape of tongue and throat could be causing the problem. But what I really needed to know was what happened when I slept. So he gave me a home sleep test. The kit included a little computer, a heart rate monitor, and a breathing monitor. I slept in my own bed with the monitor strapped to me for two nights.

Most sleep studies happen in a lab. These tests measure a variety of sleep disorders. But they can be expensive and the waitlists are long. Dr. Stern only needed a few results.And mine were bad! When you sleep your jaw, tongue, and throat all relax. This can narrow the airway through your throat. Then when you breathe in, all the soft tissue can vibrate and cause that awful sound.

But, it can also mean a medical condition far worse than just snoring. It could be obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that blocks the throat and literally stops you from breathing while you’re asleep. When this happens, oxygen is cut off. The brain goes into a fight or flight mode and will then wakes you up so that you breathe again.

I stopped breathing almost 30 times an hour!

Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, glaucoma, diabetes, cancer, and behaviour problems. Not to mention you just don’t sleep well. One study showed sleep apnea costs the US up to 165 billion dollars a year. That’s not just health costs to the patient, but also traffic accidents, workplace accidents and productivity losses. The most common fix is something called a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It forces air down your throat, keeping the airway open

There’s a problem though. You have to wear this every night. NOt the sexiest thing in the world. Don’t get me wrong. This works and it works really well, but studies have shown that over time people stop using it and I get that. I don’t want to sleep with this mask on every night. So I tried something different.

It’s a custom-moulded plastic that fits right on my teeth, like a retainer. When I wear it, it slides my lower jaw forward and opens up my airway. To make it, the inside of my mouth was 3D-scanned and molds were made of my teeth. It has these different levels that slowly slide my jaw forward bit by bit. It’s not perfect and takes time to get used to.

Every morning my jaw is a little sore because it’s literally been out of place for most of the night. I use a mould of my natural bite to help my jaw get back into its normal place.But the improvements have been remarkable. I used to want nap time every afternoon. But now I wake up feeling rested and I can make it throughout the whole day just going.

After a few weeks of using the mouthpiece, I took another home sleep test to see what the results really were. The doctor went over the results with me over FaceTime. I didn’t even need to go to his office. This chart shows all the snoring I had before the mouthpiece. All the different colours you’re seeing are when I stopped breathing throughout the night. Now this chart over here shows a night with the mouthpiece.

The chart on the left shows constant disturbances when I stopped breathing. The one on the right is a night with the mouthpiece. And as you can tell – it’s working. Finally, I’m sleeping better and so can the person next to me

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