Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder, but you don’t just deal with the consequences at night.
Untreated sleep apnea affects you throughout the day in ways you may not realize. We’ll be discussing some of those issues in today’s post.
We also will explain how our dentist office in Aberdeen, SD, can help with your sleep apnea treatment. This can help you sleep better, and your spouse might appreciate it, too.
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but find a CPAP too much trouble, then we have another option for you. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, our team at Aberdeen Smiles may be able to help you get diagnosed.
Breathing Is Important To Your Health
That may seem obvious, but breathing is a real problem when you have sleep apnea. Apnea comes from a Greek word that means “without breath.” People with sleep apnea stop breathing when they fall asleep.
These stoppages can last for 30 seconds or longer and they can occur hundreds of times every night. How your body responds can make a big difference in your overall health.
With obstructive sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked. This happens gradually. When you fall asleep, your muscles relax. This allows the soft tissues to collapse in a way that restricts your breathing.
The immediate effect is that you snore — loudly and constantly. When your airway is restricted, this amplifies the sound of your snoring. (Just ask your spouse or partner, or even your kids who are trying to sleep down the hall.)
When your airway is completely cut off, you stop snoring because you stop breathing. When your brain registers what is happening, it does what it needs to do to keep you alive. You wake up, just long enough take a breath, and your sleep cycle starts again.
These awakenings are often so brief that you don’t have any memory of them. Even so, they prevent you from getting the deep sleep that you need.
Consequences Of Sleep Apnea
If you aren’t getting deep sleep, what does that mean?
First and foremost, without deep, healthy sleep, you experience sleep deprivation.
This can seem relatively minor, like having trouble concentrating on a task at work or a project at home. It can also be more serious, like feelings of fatigue.
It also can lead to frequent daytime sleepiness. When this occurs makes a big difference, too. If you fall asleep trying to watch a game, that may be frustrating. If you fall asleep behind the wheel … let’s just say we hope that doesn’t happen.
We mentioned this because multiple studies, including this one published in the journal Sleep, shows that people with sleep apnea are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in car accidents.
That’s not the only way sleep apnea can be bad for your health, however. The constant fight to keep you breathing can trigger the release of stress hormones.
That can lead to higher blood pressure. That can lead to cardiovascular disease. That can lead to an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
To put it simply, treating your sleep apnea is good for your overall health.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
The first option is usually the CPAP machine. CPAP means continuous positive airway pressure.
You may have seen pictures of people wearing them. They have a mask connected to a hose that is connected to the machine. The machine pushes air into your airway to keep them open so you keep breathing.
When this works, it’s an effective treatment.
But, some people can’t get used to wearing the mask while they try to sleep. Some people can’t sleep because of the noise the machine makes. Some people take the mask off in their sleep without realizing it until the morning.
This is when the dental option comes into play. We can design a different kind of treatment for you.
This is a custom-fitted mouthguard that you wear while you sleep. It works by pulling your lower jaw forward in a way that helps to keep your airways open. This also allows you to breathe, which means you can sleep deeper and snore less.
That’s something we think you partner might appreciate, too.
Are You Getting Treated?
If your CPAP has proven to be too difficult for you, or if you suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact Aberdeen Smiles to schedule a consultation. You can reach us online or call us at 605-277-9049.