Everybody snores sometimes. Most people do not snore so loud that it interferes with the people’s sleep, however.
If you have heard this complaint frequently from family and friends, you may have sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder.
You also may not realize how it is interfering with your sleep and your daily life, too.
Sleep apnea has been associated with a variety of health risks, which is why our team at Atlanta West Dentistry wants you to get treatment for this condition. Our dentists are here to help at our office in Marietta, GA.
Healthy sleep is important for our overall health. If you have untreated sleep apnea, then you may not be getting the healthy sleep that you need. Likewise, you may be interfering with how other people sleep.
A person who gets healthy sleep will cycle through four stages of sleep during the night.
Stage 1 is when you first lie down for the night. This is when you are preparing for sleep. During Stage 2, your heart rate will start to slow down as your body prepares for deep sleep.
Stage 3 is the start of deep sleep. This is a particularly important part of the cycle. This is the time when your body heals itself and recovers from the previous day’s activities.
Stage 4 is the REM (rapid eye movement) stage. This is the time when we dream. This, too, is part of deep sleep.
If you do not reach the stages of deep sleep, then you may experience sleep deprivation. People with sleep apnea may not reach Stages 3 and 4 because when they fall asleep, they have trouble breathing.
In fact, it is not uncommon for people with mild sleep apnea to stop breathing up to 15 times per hour when they are asleep. Snoring is a symptom of the interference with their breathing patterns.
People with sleep apnea wake up often throughout the night. This is usually so brief that they have no memory of it. These micro-awakenings allow them to breathe until they fall asleep again.
As a result, their sleep cycles reset over and over again rather than progressing to the deeper stages.
When you have sleep apnea, your body may feel like it is fighting to keep you breathing. This can cause high blood pressure or it can make existing high blood pressure problems worse.
It’s probably not a coincidence that people with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to experience heart attacks and strokes as well. Sleep apnea affects the oxygen levels in your blood. This, in turn, affects blood flow in your arteries and to your brain.
Weight gain and obesity are another common concern among people with sleep apnea. (To be clear, you can be slim and still have sleep apnea, but weight gain is one of many possible symptoms.)
For people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), carrying extra weight (particularly in the neck) can make sleep apnea symptoms worse. With OSA, the muscles around your airways relax, which allows the nearby tissues to partially or completely block your airways.
Diabetes is another common problem among people with untreated sleep apnea. If you do not get enough healthy sleep, your body may have difficulty using insulin as it should.
The final health concern is frequent daytime sleepiness. If you find that you are having trouble staying awake during the day, this can interfere with your work, but it also may have more dire consequences.
People with untreated sleep apnea are more than twice as likely as other people to be involved in automobile accidents. Falling asleep at the wheel contributes to this problem.
Treating your sleep apnea can make a big difference in how you feel. With treatment, you could get the healthy sleep that you need, and you finally understand what it means to wake up feeling refreshed.
The first step is undergoing a sleep study. Our staff may be able to help you arrange such a study.
Once your sleep apnea is confirmed, one way we can help is by creating an oral appliance. Remember, the problem with OSA is that you cannot breathe when you are sleeping.
The oral appliance (or snore guard) changes the position of your jaw. This helps to keep your airways open so you can continue breathing. This can reduce your snoring (which your family and friends will appreciate), and it may allow you to start reaching the stages of deep sleep.
If you are ready to find out what it’s like to feel rejuvenated in the morning, contact our dentists in Marietta, GA. You can call (770) 635-5336 or fill out our online form to make an appointment at Atlanta West Dentistry.
It’s time for you to experience the difference a good night’s sleep can make in your life.
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