Your spouse elbows you in the ribs to let you know that you are snoring again. The next time you may be banished to the couch (if you haven’t already been).
Your snoring may be annoying to your significant other, but it also may be a symptom of sleep apnea. This is a sleep disorder, and it can affect you all day, not just when you’re in bed (or on the couch).
If you do have sleep apnea, our team at Davenport Dental Group may be able to help. Our dentists in Laredo, TX, have training in treating sleep apnea so you — and your spouse — can get a better night’s sleep.
Sleep Apnea Prevents Healthy Sleep
How you sleep has a big impact on how you feel when you are awake. Health experts believe deep, quality helps us recover from the previous day’s activities.
On the flipside, if you are not getting deep sleep, that can hurt your health in a variety of ways.
And sleep apnea definitely interferes with your sleep.
Apnea is derived from a Greek word that could be translated “without breath.” Someone with sleep apnea can stop breathing several times every hour and hundreds of times each night. For someone with obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of this disorder), those breathing stoppages occur because their airways become blocked.
When someone with obstructive sleep apnea falls asleep, the muscles around his or her throat relax. This allows soft tissue to press into the air, restricting breathing.
When those airways are narrowed, this can amplify the sound of your snoring (again, just ask your spouse or partner). When the airways become completely cut off, you do stop snoring because you also stop breathing.
At this point, your body needs you to keep breathing to keep you alive. So, it will wake you up briefly (you probably won’t remember it happening) so you can take a few breaths.
Then you fall asleep and the pattern starts all over. For someone with moderate sleep apnea, this may happen 15 to 30 times every hour they are asleep.
Consequences Of Sleep Apnea
As with many health disorders, how sleep apnea affects you may be different than how it affects someone else.
Keeping that in mind, sleep apnea does increase your risk of a variety of issues, some of which are far more serious than others.
When your body is quite literally fighting to keep you alive all night, this can release a stress hormone. It should not surprise you to know that people with sleep apnea are more likely to have high blood pressure. They also are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
Since your frequent waking up prevents you from reaching the stages of deep sleep, you also may suffer from sleep deprivation. This can explain feelings of fatigue when you wake up, irritability or moodiness, and frequent daytime sleepiness.
That last thing is a big part of the reason people with sleep apnea are more than twice as likely as other people to be in car accidents.
Treating Sleep Apnea
For a long time, the primary treatment for sleep apnea has been CPAP machines. Now, if this works for you, by all means, use it.
CPAP machines work by forcing air into your airways to prevent them from closing so you can keep breathing. When used correctly, they help you get the deep sleep you need to feel refreshed.
Unfortunately, many people find CPAPs hard to use. The mask can be irritating. If they don’t fit correctly, air can leak out, making the machine less effective. Some people even find it hard to fall asleep because of their CPAPs.
Davenport Dental Group may have an alternative that will provide the same benefit (deep sleep, much less snoring) without the hassles of a CPAP.
We can create an oral device that you wear while you sleep. This special mouthpiece shifts your jaw forward slightly. This helps to keep your airways open so you can keep breathing throughout the night.
After you adjust to wearing a mouthpiece while you sleep, you may wake up feeling more rejuvenated than you have in years.
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