If you snore, you are not alone. About 40 percent of men, and 24 percent of women, snore. From tiny puffs of air to something resembling a chain saw that could shake the rafters, there are a thousand different kinds of nighttime rumblings drifting across the bed. Or perhaps you are the one being kept awake? While occasional snoring is annoying, a chronic habit can be a sign of a serious condition called sleep apnea, which needs to be treated. Dr. Jason M. Lane at Lane Family Dental in Wasilla, AK offers expert oral care, including help for those with sleep apnea. If you have questions, contact our office at (907) 373-2200.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder where your breathing is temporarily interrupted. In some people, the breathing lapses happen multiple times during the night. Every time you stop breathing, your body must “wake you up” to get you started again. This can leave you exhausted during the day. It can also affect your overall health if left untreated.
Signs of sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing at night
- Waking up short of breath or gasping for air
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- Problems paying attention during the day
- Irritability, moodiness or depression
Potential Affects of Sleep Apnea
While interruption of your sleep is the obvious consequence, it can also increase your risk of developing other serious health complications, including:
- High blood pressure and heart problems
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Complications with medications and surgery
- Liver problems
- Sleep-deprived partners
Tips for Reducing Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea can be easily treated. Often, you can help relieve symptoms by making certain lifestyle changes.
Lose weight – People who are overweight are more likely to have sleep apnea.
Avoid caffeine – If you must have your coffee, soda or tea, try to avoid caffeine late in the day or within 2 hours of bedtime.
Stick to a sleep schedule – Maintaining the same schedule for going to bed and waking up will help your body become more attuned to the sleep/wake cycle.
Switch your sleeping position – Avoid sleeping on your back if at all possible.
Elevate your head – Prop up your pillow about 4-6 inches. You can also use a foam wedge or cervical pillow to keep your upper body elevated.
Open your nasal passages – Help keep your airways clear with nasal dilators, saline spray, breathing strips or nasal irrigation.
Exercise your jaw muscles – Though it may seem unusual, you can “train” your jaw to stay closed by doing certain exercises like chewing gum, holding a pen in your teeth or clenching your jaw for ten minutes before going to bed.
Ask Your Dentist About Treating Sleep Apnea
While a dentist might not be your immediate thought when it comes to treating sleep apnea, he or she may be able to help everyone reclaim a good night’s sleep. Lane Family Dentistry offers a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment for sleep apnea that includes a special night guard. This device will hold your jaw slightly forward so your airways stay open.
Find Relief From Sleep Apnea
If you or your partner suffers from excessive snoring or you suspect sleep apnea, there is help. Contact our Wasilla, AK practice at (907) 373-2200 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jason M. Lane.