Sleep period covers the night time of daily rhythm when all body activities slow down and decrease. Towards the evening, when our body gets tired, all bodily functions start to decline, and get prepared for sleep which will start a few hours later. Sleep is a period of a kind of revival and repair of all tired and worn tissues. Therefore, adequate respiration and oxygen are needed.

Sleep apnea is stoppage of respiration for at least 10 seconds during sleep. This is followed by a short waking period unrecognized by patient (arousal phase). Sleep consisting of sleep and wake phases causes the body to wake up tired and unrested.

Non-inhalation of oxygen during stoppage of breathing affects the full organism, especially the brain. And due to excessive functioning of respiratory muscles, patient wakes up both tired and with impaired concentration. His daily activity quality falls. Patient nods off in every opportunity. Other effects are decrease in decision making and resolution skills, failure due to non-concentration, sadness, weariness, and increase in tendency to accidents. Cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and lung diseases, if any, start to aggravate, and if not, start to develop.

Snoring is noisy and loud breathing during sleep. It is mostly accompanied by apnea. Whether it is snoring or apnea, the reason is a stricture or occlusion at any part of airways used for inhalation and exhalation. The most important reason of this occlusion is nose. And the most common reason of occlusion of nose is the curvature of cartilage structure at the midline of nose (septum deviation). Some events affecting throat and palate (such as prolapse of uvula) may also lead to apnea and snoring. Increase of tissues in neck zone due to excessive weight gains may also cause snoring.

How are snoring and apnea handled?

A good ear-nose-throat examination is a sine qua non. Polysomnography (sleep test) is a method wherein the patient sleeps at night in a multi-disciplinary center, and his respiratory, cardiovascular and brain functions are checked and assessed, and apnea and hypopnea indices are determined.

Way of treatment of apnea and snoring is to remove the object causing occlusion. Medical or surgical methods are applied thereinfor. But the most important method is to ensure that the patient approaches to his ideal weight, and to prohibit smoking and alcohol which increase apnea and snoring.

Septum operations, downsizing of conchae by radiofrequency or surgical methods, removal of nasal masses, correction of nasal adhesions, nasal valve correction surgeries, adenomectomy, surgical interventions to benign or malign tumors, application of radiofrequency to soft palate or surgical downsizing operations, tonsillitis operations, and tongue base reduction surgeries are the methods employed by otolaryngologists in treatment of snoring and apnea.