Your spouse shakes you awake. Is she having trouble sleeping because of that scary movie you watched either?
No … you are snoring louder than ever, and she just wants to get to sleep. So, you are being banished to the couch or the guest bedroom or anywhere else where your snoring isn’t going to bother her.
If this sounds familiar, you may have sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder that can affect your overall health. Loud, constant snoring is often one of the first clues that you have this condition.
A Perfect Smile can help you snore less and get better quality sleep, which will help your loved ones sleep easier, too. If you don’t want to spend another night on the couch, call our dentist office in Falmouth, ME, at (207) 536-3508 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
Why Does A Dentist Office Care About Sleep Apnea?
At A Perfect Smile, we consider ourselves a holistic dentist office. Your oral health is our primary concern, but we also understand that this is connected to your overall health.
People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of these conditions:
■ Cardiovascular disease
■ Heart disease
■ High blood pressure
You also have a greater risk of being involved in a car accident.
This is why we want you — and your loved ones — to get a good night’s sleep. If you have obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of sleep apnea), we may have just the solution for you.
Symptoms Of & Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect anyone. However, there are some factors that increase your likelihood of having this condition. Statistically, you are more likely to have this if you are a male who is overweight, and that risk increases as you get older.
When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked when you fall asleep. Generally, this is a gradual process. When your airway is partially blocked, it limits your breathing. This also increases the likelihood that you will snore.
You do stop snoring when your airway becomes completely blocked, but that also means you stop breathing. These stoppages can occur hundreds of times each night, and they can last from 10 seconds to more than a minute.
Your body will wake you up briefly each time this happens so you can breathe again. You may not remember this. And every time you start your sleep cycle over again so does your snoring.
As a result, you may not get the deep, restful sleep that you need to be as healthy as you can be. If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea, answer the following questions, perhaps with some help from your spouse or partner:
▹ Do you snore loudly and constantly?
▹ Do you stop breathing frequently when you fall asleep?
▹ Do you still feel tired when you wake up in the morning?
▹ Do you often feel irritable or easily agitated?
▹ Do you often struggle with daytime sleepiness?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then it might be time to talk to Dr. Nelson. Your daytime sleepiness can be a result of sleep deprivation from not getting deep sleep. That’s also why untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of car accidents.
Treating Sleep Apnea
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. The continuous positive airway pressure machine pushes air into your mouth, nose, or both while you sleep.
Unfortunately, many people find the masks irritating. Some remove the masks at night (so they aren’t getting the benefit of using it). Some people find that the noise of the machine keeps them awake.
At A Perfect Smile, we have another option that may be more effective and more comfortable for you. Sleep appliances work by holding your jaw in a slightly different position. This helps to keep your airways open. And that allows you to continue breathing when you fall asleep.
When this happens, you can sleep longer and deeper, and you can snore less often and less loudly.
These appliances are like special mouthpieces that you wear while you sleep. Each one is custom-fitted, so it will be as comfortable as possible. It may take a little time to get adjusted to wearing it, but once you do, you may find that you — and your spouse — are sleeping better than you have in years.