Sleep Apnea In-Depth
No matter what they do, they wake up feeling exhausted. Every morning is a struggle just to get moving and every day can be a challenge. Does this sound familiar? If so, you might be living with a condition known as sleep apnea. OHIOSmiles can help.
The Importance of SleepYou have probably heard people joke that they do not need to sleep. You may have even made these jokes yourself. Those who have a busy schedule might even view sleep as a hindrance, preventing them from getting everything done. The truth, however, is that sleep is incredibly important. Moreover, it does not just sleep that is important but getting quality sleep. As you sleep, your body works to repair itself both physically and mentally. Your body repairs damaged cells.
Your immune system is boosted, which allows it to properly protect you while you are awake. Sleep helps to recharge your cardiovascular system and gives your body a chance to recover from everything that it experienced during the course of the day. All of this allows you to wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to go.
What Happens During Sleep?The idea of sleep seems fairly simple. You close your eyes, you sleep, and then you wake up again in the morning. Sleep is quite complex. As you sleep, you experience two different sleep cycles, each of which is responsible for its tasks. NREM, or non-rapid eye movement, sleep takes up about 75 to 80% of your total sleep. During this phase, most of the health benefits of sleep occur.
Tissue growth and repair occurs, as does energy restoration and the release of hormones that are responsible for growth and development. REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep takes up about 20 to 25% of your sleep. It is during this phase that dreaming occurs. REM sleep helps you to process different emotions and stresses as well as memories. It is also believed that REM sleep is linked to the areas of your brain that are used when you are learning new skills. Both NREM and REM sleep alternate back and forth several times during the course of the night. Completing these cycles is crucial for ensuring quality sleep.
Effects of Chronic Poor SleepThe occasional bad night of sleep is not that harmful. For whatever reason, you might be unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, leaving you to get up in the morning feeling groggy and sluggish. You might struggle to get through your day, but you are still able to function at a mostly normal level.
If you have poor sleep night after night, however, this is when serious issues can arise. Chronic poor sleep can significantly impact your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. You may be faced with problems such as
What is Sleep Apnea?Sleep apnea is a condition that affects your quality of sleep. It affects millions of Americans. When you have sleep apnea, your sleep cycles are disrupted several times during the course of the night. However, you are completely unaware that it is happening. However, what causes these disruptions?
The disruptions in your sleep cycles occur because your breathing is paused for several seconds. Called an apneic event, these cessations in your breathing occur multiple times during the course of the night. When you stop breathing, your brain triggers your body to partially wake up so that breathing can be restarted. Because you only partially wake up, you are often completely unaware of what is happening. Something else happens, too. Every time that you wake up, your body has to start the sleep cycles from the beginning. Because of this, your body is unable to complete the necessary NREM and REM sleep cycles.
Sleep apnea ranges in severity. Those with mild sleep apnea experience between 5 and 13 apneic events per sleep hour. Those with severe sleep apnea experience 30 or more events per sleep hour. It is no wonder that those with sleep apnea wake up feeling so exhausted.
There are also two different types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the most common type of sleep apnea. This type occurs when your throat becomes blocked while you sleep, usually by your tongue or other excess oral tissues. Central sleep apnea occurs when there is a miscommunication between your brain and the muscles that control your breathing. This type of sleep apnea is often caused by an instability in the respiratory control center.
Risk Factors for Sleep ApneaSleep apnea can affect anyone. It can affect men, women, and even children. However, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing the issue. These risk factors include:
Symptoms of Sleep ApneaThose with sleep apnea are typically unaware that they have it. The only thing they know is that they are exhausted day after day, no matter what they do. Being tired is just a normal part of their life. This feeling of exhaustion is just one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. There are several other symptoms that can occur as well. These symptoms include:
Diagnosing Sleep ApneaBefore you can receive treatment for sleep apnea, you first need to be diagnosed. To diagnose sleep apnea, a sleep study needs to be performed. This type of testing is often done at a sleep clinic, but it can sometimes be performed in the comfort of your own home as well. The test performed is called a polysomnogram. You are hooked up to machines while you sleep. These machines electronically transmit and record your physical movements.
Electrodes are placed on your face and scalp. They function to transmit the electric signals sent by your brain and your muscles to the computer. You also have a belt placed around your waist and one around your abdomen. These belts monitor your breathing. In the morning, a sleep specialist reads and interprets all of the information recorded by the computer. The specialist is then able to diagnose sleep apnea, or another sleep-related disorder, and prescribe treatment.
There are several tests that may be performed during your sleep study. These tests include:
What Treatments are Available?When you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, getting the right treatment is essential for helping you to finally get the sleep you need to wake up feeling rested. There are several different treatments that might be prescribed. These treatments include:
Treating Your Sleep Apnea with a Custom Oral ApplianceOne of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is the C-PAP machine. However, some patients find this machine difficult to use, as it restricts movements during sleep. This can cause even more sleep issues. Other patients simply do not want to use the C-PAP machine.
If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, we can provide you with an alternative to the C-PAP with oral appliance therapy. With this treatment, we provide you with a custom fit oral appliance that you wear in your mouth while you sleep. The oral appliance fits over your front teeth and helps to hold your lower jaw in proper alignment, preventing it from sliding back. This helps to keep your tongue and oral tissues forward as well, which keeps the airway open.
You might have seen oral appliances for sale at your local pharmacy. While affordable, these appliances may not fit your mouth properly. This can lead to the appliance falling out of your mouth while you sleep or interfering in your breathing even further. We highly recommend a custom-fit oral appliance. We can create one for you that will fit your mouth perfectly, using high-quality materials, which will help to ensure optimal results.
Benefits of Oral Appliance TherapyOral appliance therapy provides many significant benefits.
When you have sleep apnea, getting a good night of rest might seem impossible. With the right treatment, however, you can finally get the restful sleep you have been searching for. You are finally able to wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to go. For more information on sleep apnea and how we can help, call OHIOSmiles today at (740) 439-2501.