You are sitting at your desk when you catch yourself nodding off again. You look around to see if anyone noticed. This is becoming a problem. It’s getting harder and harder to stay awake in the afternoons. A few times you even had trouble staying awake during the drive home.It’s getting harder and harder to stay awake in the afternoons. A few times you even had trouble staying awake during the drive home.You’ve started going to bed earlier, but in the morning, you never feel refreshed.And you spouse doesn’t help. He or she always seems so irritable in the morning. He or she blames it on your snoring.If any of this sounds familiar, then you may have sleep apnea. If you live in or near the Triangle, then help is close. Just contact the dentists at any Sunrise Dental in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or Cary to get started.What Is Sleep Apnea?Apnea is derived from a Greek word that means “without breath.” Sleep apnea is a disorder in which someone has trouble breathing while he or she is asleep.There are three kinds of sleep apnea.The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. People with this condition having trouble breathing because their airways become blocked or obstructed. When they go to sleep, the muscles around their airways relax, which leads to the blockage.People with central sleep apnea have trouble breathing because their brains do not send the correct signals to the muscles that control their breathing. The third type, complex sleep apnea syndrome, occurs when someone has a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Some of the common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
Loud, frequent snoring
Waking up abruptly feeling short of breath
Waking up with frequent headaches
Waking up frequently with a dry mouth or a sore throat
Frequent bouts of daytime sleepiness
Trouble focusing on a task
People with sleep apnea can go for up to 30 seconds at a time without breathing. To fight this, your body will wake you repeatedly to get you to breath again. This may occur so briefly that you do not remember it. Yet, this is enough to prevent you from reaching the deeper stages of sleep, which you need for healthy, quality, refreshing sleep.Health Risks Associated With Sleep ApneaWe hope you realize that sleep apnea doesn’t just affect how you (and your partner) sleep. It also affects you throughout the day.People with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to have other health problems, including cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, and strokes.Sleep apnea also makes you more likely to have accidents. This includes household and work accidents, as well as automobile accidents.How To Treat Your Sleep ApneaThe first thing you need to do is get diagnosed. While the symptoms listed above are a good indicator that you may have sleep apnea, there are other disorders that cause similar problems.A sleep study can confirm if you have sleep apnea. The staff at Sunrise Dental can help you set up a sleep study.Once you have been diagnosed, you may be prescribed a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP users wear a mask that covers their mouth and/or nose. This mask pushes air into their airways, which keeps them open so the user can continue breathing.As long as you use the CPAP, it is an effective treatment. Unfortunately, this isn’t always as easy as it may seem.Some people find their CPAP masks to be irritating. Other people find that wearing the mask makes it hard to fall asleep, and still other people will take their masks off in their sleep without realizing it until the morning.This is when Sunrise Dental can help. As an alternative to a CPAP, we can create an oral appliance for you.This is similar to a mouthguard, only you wear it at night instead of while playing sports. This mouthguard changes the position of your jaw in a way that keeps your airways open. This allows you to continue breathing while you sleep.It may take a few days to get used to wearing the mouthguard, but when you do, you may find it’s a simpler treatment option for your sleep apnea.Wake Up Feeling RestedYou may not realize what you’ve been missing until to you wake up after a few nights of deep, quality sleep. Maybe just as important, your partner will probably sleep better too when they don’t have to listen to you snore all night.Get started by contacting a dentist at any Sunrise Dental office in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or Cary.You can schedule an appointment by calling or clicking on the name of the office closest to you to use our online form.