More than just a nuisance during the day, poor sleep can be severely detrimental to your health. Sleeping well helps you look, feel and perform your best, and when you don’t get enough quality sleep, you are putting yourself at risk. For approximately 25 million adults in the U.S., poor sleep is caused by sleep apnea. With sleep apnea you may stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from 10 seconds to more than a minute — and it can lead to serious health problems.
5 Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Lack of energy — Repeated sleep disruptions caused by sleep apnea lead to an increased daytime sleepiness and lack of energy. In one study, reports of falling asleep while driving were most common among adults who showed telltale signs of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
- Loud, frequent snoring — Does your spouse or family tell you that you snore? Loud and frequent snoring is the most telling sign of sleep apnea. Snoring will occur when soft tissue in your upper airway vibrates as you breathe, signaling that your airway is partially blocked. When you have sleep apnea, episodes of snoring are followed by noticeably long pauses during which you appear to hold your breath. These breathing pauses end with a gasping or choking sound when your breathing resumes.
- Heartburn — Frequent heartburn can also be a sign of sleep apnea, and people with sleep apnea tend to see an increase in both daytime and nighttime heartburn and indigestion. In fact, a study from Sleep and Breathing found that sleep apnea treatment may also help to reduce heartburn.
- Overly sensitive or depressed — Sleep apnea can adversely influence your mood and lead to symptoms of depression. In one study, patients with sleep apnea who were also suffering from depression saw their mood improve after receiving treatment for sleep apnea.
- Forgetfulness — Even one night of poor sleep can result in disruption and fragmentation of your thoughts. People suffering from sleep apnea regularly complain of being absent minded, and it’s been shown that treating sleep apnea can improve memory.
Taking the first step toward treatment
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, the first step is to set-up an appointment with Orthodontics by Birth, Stewart, and Fletcher for a free consultation. After your first consultation, we will schedule you for a home sleep apnea test. You will be able to sleep in your own bed with our sleep test and return it the following day for the results. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, our doctors will present you with treatment options, including oral appliance therapy. This is an alternate therapy to the CPAP machine that has been widely used to treat Sleep Apnea. Many patients find they cannot tolerate the CPAP.
You might be asking yourself, what does sleep apnea have to do with orthodontics? Orthodontics is not just moving teeth!! Dr. Birth has written a book titled “The Orthodontic Cure.” This “Amazon Best Seller” has been available since 2016. In Chapter 3 of her book, Dr. Birth addresses the connection between compromised airways and many health issues.
If your child is tired at school, snores, or has been diagnosed with ADHD, this may be an indicator that your child has sleep apnea or breathing problems. Orthodontics can improve school behavior, sleep, and even put a stop to bedwetting. What?? Yes, often children with restricted airways battle bedwetting. Because of breathing problems, they rarely get a good night’s sleep and are constantly tired. When their bladder fills, they are too tired to wake up, causing them to wet the bed. Read more about the diagnosis and treatment in “The Orthodontic Cure.” or on the Orthodontics by Birth, Stewart and Fletcher website.
In future blogs we will share orthodontics methods that can help with other breathing problems.