It’s been a long day at work, and you just want to get home. You nearly fell asleep during the meeting this afternoon, which would have been embarrassing …
What happened? Were you falling asleep behind the wheel? The driver next to you is certainly upset. You pull into a gas station to get a soft drink. Maybe that will help you stay alert.
The jolt of caffeine may help you get home today, but your real problem could be something bigger. You could have sleep apnea.
It is treatable at our dentist office. If you live in or near Jeffersonville, IN, we welcome you to visit Kirchner Dental. We want you to get the healthy sleep you need to stay awake at work and especially behind the wheel.
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
As we mentioned earlier, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. Specifically, sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing in your sleep.
We will explain in a moment why, but you may not be getting the healthy sleep that you need when you have sleep apnea. As a result, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequent, loud snoring
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Daytime sleepiness
You may have heard complaints about the snoring more than once from your spouse or partner. The daytime sleepiness can be another big sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep.
That sleep deprivation could seem harmless if you are trying to watch a game over the weekend. It could lead to some embarrassing situations if your boss found you napping at your desk.
But it also can be dangerous as in our example above of someone falling asleep while driving. According to multiple studies, people with sleep apnea are more than twice as likely as other people to be the driver in a car accident. Treating your sleep apnea can significantly reduce that risk.
This isn’t the only reason we want to help you get a good night’s sleep, but it is one of the reasons.
Call 812-913-6093 our dentist in Jeffersonville, IN, today to make an appointment if you suspect that you may have sleep apnea.
What Happens When You Have Sleep Apnea
The word apnea is derived from a Greek word that means “breathless” or “without breath.” Someone with sleep apnea can stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer anywhere from four (mild) to more than 30 (severe) times per hour.
So what happens when you stop breathing? Well, your body doesn’t like it for starters. To fight this and to keep you alive, your body will wake you up just long enough to take a few breaths.
Then, you will doze off again. The problem with this is that you aren’t able to get deep sleep. Many health experts consider deep sleep essential for our health.
Sleep occurs in cycles. In light sleep, you can wake up easily. Even if you don’t remember waking up, this resets your sleep cycle.
If you are waking up every 15 minutes (or more often), you rarely if ever get to the stages of deep sleep. This can lead to sleep deprivation and your frequent daytime sleepiness.
How To Treat Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this sleep disorder. People with OSA have a physical issue that causes their airways to become blocked when they fall asleep.
When they fall asleep, muscles relax and soft tissues in their throat can press into their airways. If the airways are narrowed, that can amplify the sounds of snoring. (Just ask your spouse.)
When your airways become completely closed, that’s when your body will wake you up. This keeps you alive, but as we mentioned above, it prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep.
One of the most common treatments for this is a CPAP machine. It pushes air through a tube and into a mask, which you wear while you sleep. The idea is that the air pressure will keep your airways open so you can get the sleep that you need.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that many people don’t like using a CPAP. Our dentist in Jeffersonville, IN, can offer you a different treatment option.
By making a custom-made sleep appliance, you can shift the position of your jaw forward. This movement also can help to keep your airways open without the masks or the noise of the machine.
Talk To Us About Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you want to get a good night’s sleep, snore less, and feel more awake throughout the day, then make plans to visit Kirchner Dental.