Sleep Apnea Affects the Quality of Your Sleep
As an adult, you can appreciate the value of sleep. You enjoy a good nap, and you like waking up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Unless, of course, that’s not how you feel when you wake up. For people with obstructive sleep apnea , a good night’s sleep can seem like it is itself the stuff of dreams. Instead, you may feel as tired or more tired than you did before you laid your head down for the evening.
Why is this happening? More importantly, what can you do about it so you can get healthy sleep once again?
We will be answering those questions and more in today’s post. In the meantime, our team at Hillstream Dental may be able to help you or someone you love who is suffering from sleep apnea.
To learn more, start by setting up a consultation with one of our doctors. You can use our online form to request an appointment at either of our locations in Rochester Hills or St. Clair Shores, MI.
Sleep Affects You All Day
Health experts have been studying sleep for decades. While there is still much to learn, they agree that deep sleep is essential for people to be at their best.
Officials at the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School report that healthy sleep helps us remember things. It’s equally true that quality sleep plays an important role in our overall health as well.
That also means the opposite is true as well. Poor sleep can hurt your ability to remember new skills and information. Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of a number of health problems, including cardiovascular health, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, among other issues.
Sleep deprivation also can increase your risk of making mistakes or causing accidents. In fact, people how are sleep deprived are more than twice as likely to be the driver in a car accident as people who get healthy sleep.
And sleep deprivation is one of the most common — and concerning — symptoms of untreated sleep apnea.
What Sleep Apnea Is?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. People with this condition will stop breathing when they fall asleep. These stoppages can occur dozens of times every hour and hundreds of times each night depending on the severity of their condition.
When someone stops breathing, this affects their bodies in a variety of ways, and we will discuss two of those responses today.
First, your body feels stressed when you stop breathing. As a result, it will produce stress hormones. This could explain why many people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure and an increased risk for related problems such heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes.
Second, you need to breathe to stay alive. When you stop breathing, your body will wake you up so you can take breaths. Many times this is extremely brief, so you likely won’t remember most of the times this happens. However, you also may recall times when you wake up feeling like you are gasping for air.
For someone with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), these breathing stoppages are the result of a physical issue. Soft tissues relax and slowly close into your airway when you fall asleep. As this happens you snore loudly and persistently until your airway becomes completely closed and you stop breathing.
For people with central sleep apnea , the cause is different. When they fall asleep, their brains stop sending the proper signals to the muscles that control their breathing.
Mixed sleep apnea is just what it sounds like. People with this condition have a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
We may be able to help you or a loved one who has obstructive sleep apnea.
With any type of sleep apnea, the key to treatment is finding a way to help the patient continue breathing after he or she falls asleep. If you can keep breathing, you can reach the stages of deep sleep. That also means you won’t feel sleep deprived when you wake up, either.
For a long time, the first treatment option for OSA was a continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine. To use, the user would wear a mask while sleeping. The mask was connected to the machine by a hose.
If the air pressure was high enough, it would forcibly keep her or his airway open by pushing soft tissues away. When used correctly and consistently, CPAPs can work well.
Unfortunately, less than half of all CPAP users comply with this treatment as a long-term solution. The reasons vary, but we’ve heard patients describe a number of problems. Finding a comfortable mask can be difficult. Some people have trouble sleeping due to the air pressure or the noise of their machines. People who travel frequently also complain about the frustrations of bringing their machines with them.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has approved oral appliance therapy as an alternative to CPAP treatment. The appliances are similar to mouthguards that you wear while you sleep.
Oral appliances have been recommended as a primary treatment option for people with mild or moderate sleep apnea. They also are recommended for people with severe sleep apnea who don’t or won’t use a CPAP machine consistently.
Our doctors can help you get one of these custom-fitted oral appliances at Hillstream Dental. Unlike CPAP machines, these don’t require electricity, and they are relatively small. They fit in a case that can be carried in a coat pocket.
You may need some time getting used to sleeping with something in your mouth. At that same time, many patients have told us that they could tell a difference as early as their first night with the appliance.
We Want Sweet Dreams for You
Dreaming generally occurs during REM sleep, which is one of the stages of deep sleep. When patients tell us that they have started having dreams again for the first time in years, we know they are getting the help they need.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea …
If you are struggling to use a CPAP machine …
Or if you suspect that you might have sleep apnea …