Sleep apnea occurs when soft oral tissues relax closing off the breathing airway. Very often a sleeping partner may become aware of a problem … loud snoring is one symptom (although snoring does not automatically mean a patient is experiencing sleep apnea). The patient may awaken making choking or coughing sounds.
If you awaken with a headache, doze off during the day, or consistently feel like you could, you might be experiencing sleep apnea. Restful sleep has been determined to be needed to maintain a healthy countenance, so if constant breaks are preventing sound sleep for you, there are steps you can take:
- A visit to your dentist can offer a solution … a dental mouth guard can be fabricated that will place your jaw in a position often preventing this airway blockage.
- Lose a few pounds … this sleeping disorder is often a problem for overweight or obese patients.
- Sleep on your side … patients that sleep on their backs seem to suffer more episodes of this condition. If you must lie on your back, propping up to a more sitting position may help.
- Do not smoke … smoking can impact the ability to breathe day and night.
- Avoid sleep aids or alcohol … while some may believe this would help provide a more restful sleep, the soft tissues that contribute to the problem become even more relaxed exacerbating the situation.
- Limit caffeine consumption … especially as you get closer to bed time.
If you suspect you may be experiencing this sleep disorder, seeking a resolution is recommended to prevent developing problems associated with heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and other issues linked to sleep deprivation.
These include dozing while driving a car; any job that requires a well-rested individual like a truck driver, heavy equipment operator, airline pilot, air traffic controller, medical provider … any position that risks the safety of the individual and others calls for well-rested and alert individuals.
Our skilled dental team can provide the leadership needed to get the help to resolve problems associated with sleep apnea. Contact our office today to schedule your visit.