Spring Forward - More People Losing Sleep

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, 5:27 pm

This weekend it will be time to “spring forward” for daylight savings time.  The lost hour of sleep is a good reminder that many of us don’t get enough sleep, or good quality sleep, each night. Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea are on the rise and most patients have not been diagnosed.

Obstructive sleep apnea causes a sleeper to stop breathing during sleep. These stoppages of breath occur because the soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax during sleep, fall back, and block the airway. The sleeper briefly wakens to begin breathing again when the brain detects low oxygen levels in the body. Needless to say, this leads to disrupted and fragmented sleep and a host of serious medical problems if not treated.

Could You Have Sleep Apnea?

Signs of possible obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Obesity
  • Large neck size
  • Gasping during sleep
  • Scalloped tongue
  • Daytime fatigue

Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to heart attack, stroke, depression, weight gain and diabetes. Diabetic patients who do not treat their sleep apnea may experience more problems with blood sugar control.

Sleep apnea may be treated using CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure, which is simply a small air compressor that blows air through a hose and mask that is worn during sleep. This is a very effective treatment method but about half of patients cannot tolerate sleeping with the masks and machines.

Oral appliances, custom created in a lab and properly adjusted by a dentist who has training in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea patients is another highly effective method of treating sleep apnea. Most patients who choose an oral appliance find using the device comfortable and easy.

Don’t spring forward into a another year of poor sleep – if you experience the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation. We can be reached at 706-886-9439.

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Category: Dental Sleep Medicine

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