Life can be hectic. Between your career, family life, and social calendar, you may wake up each day feeling overtired or unfocused. Reasons behind this will vary for every patient, but a safe bet might be you’re not getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults over the age of 30 aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can affect your mental and physical well-being and cause you to experience low energy, poor concentration at work, or changes to your cardiovascular health.
For some adults, a lack of sleep may be due to stress or anxiety. For others, sleep deprivation may be a sign of impaired airway clearance.
Airway Clearance, Sleep Disordered Breathing, & Sleep Apnea
Airway clearance is the ability to maintain a clean environment in the airways. It helps prevent against respiratory infections and poor breathing habits, as well as aids in proper orofacial development. It’s important to develop and maintain proper breathing habits, as constricted airways can lead to significant oral and behavioral health issues that cause inadequate orofacial development leading to asthma, allergies, and infections.
Sleep disordered breathing, as defined by the ResMed, is a condition characterized by repeated episodes of either hypopnea (shallow breathing) or apnea (not breathing) occurring during sleep. When your breathing is disrupted while sleeping, your body thinks it’s choking, which leads to increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and arousal of the brain, waking you from sleep.
Sleep Apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation, affects more than 18 million adults and is a chronic condition that causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start again during sleep.
The three main types of sleep apnea include:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – The most common form a sleep apnea, OSA occurs when your throat muscles relax too much, creating blocked airways.
- Central Sleep Apnea – This condition occurs when your brain doesn’t send the proper signals to your muscles that control breathing.
- Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome – This type of comorbid condition is when patients are living with both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
According to The Breathe Institute, the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
- Loss of libido
- Increased clumsiness
- Poor job performance
- Low concentration
Treating Sleep Apnea Through Airway Focused Dentistry
The best way to find out if you’re experiencing a sleep disordered breathing condition, such as sleep apnea, is to contact Dakota Dental for a consultation. The team can help find out if airway focused dentistry is right for you, order a sleep test and discuss options.