Do you often feel exhausted during the day, despite thinking you slept well? Do you frequently snore? If so, this could mean the presence of a serious disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In today’s blog, your Baxter, MN, dentist looks at how we identify and treat sleep issues, and how you can lower your risk.

The Causes of Snoring and Sleep Apnea

We snore when our airways become partially obstructed during the night. Which means as we force air through these passageways, this vibrates the soft tissues and creates a loud sound. Sleep apnea means these same airways become completely blocked, so people stop breathing briefly until the brain wakes them. People rarely remember waking, but this still interrupts their sleep cycle and increases the risk of sleep deprivation and day time exhaustion. Snoring is often a warning sign of untreated sleep apnea, as are headaches, irritability, trouble focusing on tasks at work or school, trouble waking up each morning, and fatigue.

Better Habits at Home

To help reduce your risk of snoring or sleep apnea, we suggest you maintain a regular sleep schedule, which means going to bed and waking up at the same times each day. You should also avoid caffeine and alcohol in the two hours before bed. Prior to sleep, try to avoid large meals or vigorous exercise too. Keep your bedroom dark and cool, and avoid screens while in bed, including TVs, computers, and smartphones. The smartphone in particular uses a blue light that the brain often confuses for sunlight, making going to bed more difficult. Finally, be sure you sleep on your side instead of your back, as this helps prevent the collapse of soft tissues in the night.

Oral Appliance Therapy

If you do require treatment, then we may take detailed impressions and measurements of your smile, using the information to design and create an oral appliance. The device will look and fit much like a mouthguard. The device will be worn as you sleep, and it helps move the jaw forward to prevent the collapse of soft tissues and ensure open airways throughout the night. You then avoid snoring and feel more rested the next day. Addressing sleep apnea is important, because poor rest has been linked to a weakened immune system and a strained cardiovascular system, which means over the long run you may be more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack!

Greenhaven Family Dental Discusses Sleep Medicine

Greenhaven Family Dental wants to make sure you enjoy a better night’s rest and improved oral health. If you’d like to learn more enjoying a better night’s rest, you can contact Greenhaven Family Dental in Baxter, MN at 218-454-0523.