To function at its best, your body requires adequate rest each night. Interrupted sleep related to lapses in your breathing is commonly associated with sleep apnea, which affects over 22 million Americans. As you continue reading, you’ll discover just how detrimental the condition can be to your overall health. Additionally, you’ll learn how a local sleep dentist can help you recover so you can get back to leading a normal and fulfilling life.
What is Sleep Apnea?
If you’re a frequent snorer, there’s a chance that you have sleep apnea, the most common form of which is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The term refers to a partial blockage of the airway while you sleep. As the restricted air attempts to bypass your relaxed throat muscles, it causes a vibration that leads to the loud sound.
The obstructed flow of oxygen can also lead to frequent pauses in your breathing. As a result, your brain sends a distress signal that stirs you from your slumber. Because this can sometimes happen hundreds of times throughout a night, you can be left deprived of the normal benefits of sleep.
The Detrimental Effects of Sleep Interruptions
As expected, frequent interruptions in your sleep can leave you feeling drained the next day, but the negative effects don’t stop there. Here are some of the other problems that can surface:
- Brain Fog – A good night’s sleep provides a way for your brain to reset. When you’re deprived of this, it can be dangerous to perform normal activities like driving a vehicle and carrying out your duties at work.
- Memory Lapses – Unproductive rest can also leave you susceptible to memory loss, as the delicate neurons that govern your cognitive functions can become damaged.
- Accumulation of Harmful Proteins – When you get adequate rest, it helps to clear away amyloid proteins, which have been found to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease if they’re allowed to accumulate.
- Frequent Mood Swings – If your sleep is constantly broken, you can expect to be a “grumpy camper” the next day, which can make it difficult for your family and co-workers to coexist with you.
Getting the Help You Need
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, then it’s important to have it treated by a sleep dentist. The most used method is the CPAP machine, which consists of a mask, tube and base unit. However, there is a less cumbersome alternative: a custom oral sleep appliance. It works by gently shifting your jaw forward to allow for better airflow and the uninterrupted sleep that you need.
By being proactive and getting help, you can also prevent other serious problems like hypertension, stroke and heart disease, that untreated sleep apnea can contribute to. The path to a healthier and happier life starts now!
About the Author
Dr. Derek Cornetta earned his dental degree from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. As part of his commitment to lifelong learning, he is currently on track to earn his Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry, a distinction that only 6% of general dentists have achieved. Dr. Cornetta treats sleep apnea at Woodside Dental Care, and he can be reached for more information through his website.