If you often wake up feeling unrested, suffer from headaches and fatigue throughout the day, or are moody and irritable, sleep apnea may be to blame. This serious medical condition causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time throughout the night. In an effort to breathe again, you wake up slightly over and over throughout the night, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.
One of the most well-known symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring. Your bed partner may have complained about your snoring, which tends to be irregular and punctuated by snorts and gasps as you start breathing again. Your partner may have even observed that you stop breathing at night.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
A diagnosis of sleep apnea requires a sleep study, which must be performed at an accredited facility. You will be monitored while you sleep to watch for periods where you stop breathing or signs of other sleep disorders.
Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Sleepiness throughout the day
- Loud snoring
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
- Headaches in the morning (or throughout the day)
- Problems with attention, memory, and concentration
- Low mood or abrupt shifts in mood
If you are experiencing these symptoms or if your partner has informed you that stop breathing during the night, call your doctor and request a referral for a sleep study.
The Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Poor sleep can have a seriously detrimental effect on your life. In addition to the common symptoms associated with sleep apnea, you may experience other effects as a direct result of your condition. For example, your daytime sleepiness and inability to concentrate may cause your work to suffer, resulting in problems at your job. You may also become more of a risk on the road. If you are moody and your partner is frustrated with your snoring, you may also experience difficulties in your relationship.
Sleep apnea can also have serious consequences for your overall physical health. Sleep apnea has been linked to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Respiratory problems
- A lowered immune system
- Liver problems
If sleep apnea is suspected, it’s important to treat it early, before it can take a heavy toll on your life.
Treating Sleep Apnea
The first line of treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This therapy involves wearing a mask while you sleep. A machine pushes air through the mask and directly into your airway, keeping your airway open and keeping you breathing. While this treatment is effective, unfortunately, many people struggle with CPAP therapy. They may find the mask uncomfortable or the noise of the machine may disrupt them or their partners.
We offer another solution that has been shown to effectively treat obstructive sleep apnea. We can create customized mouth guards for sleep apnea that you wear while you sleep. The night guard holds your lower jaw slightly forward, which prevents the tissues of your neck and throat from closing and stopping your airflow. Many patients who have had little success with CPAP therapy have found that a custom night guard resolves their problems with sleep apnea.
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, call our Tustin, CA dental office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reber to find out if a custom night guard can help you.