5 Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea
Approximately one in four Americans over the age of 30 have obstructive sleep apnea. This condition occurs when your throat muscles periodically relax while you sleep, which blocks your airway and causes your breathing to stop and start throughout the night.
Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that not only affects sleep but also increases a person’s risk for health conditions such as dementia, stroke, diabetes, and cardiac arrest.
The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. Dr. Chris McDonald of McDonald Family Dentistry in Urbandale, Iowa, can help sleep apnea patients get better sleep while decreasing their risk for other conditions.
Signs that you may have sleep apnea include:
1. You Snore
Snoring (or making other loud noises like gasping for air) during your sleep is the strongest indication that you have sleep apnea. While not all snorers have this condition, people who snore the loudest often do. If a sleep partner complains that you regularly snore loudly and notices some pausing in your breathing during the night, you should investigate this further.
2. Daytime Drowsiness
If you feel tired throughout the day despite getting what you believe was a full night of sleep, this can also suggest sleep apnea. Because of sleep apnea’s constant disruptions, you may never achieve a state of restorative sleep, which is the only way to truly feel rested and refreshed.
3. Morning Headaches
Frequently waking up in the morning with headaches is another sign of sleep apnea. The oxygen deprivation associated with sleep apnea triggers what is known as a hypoxic headache. Although these headaches tend to last for only an hour or two, the pressure on both sides of the head can pose significant discomfort and pain.
If you frequently feel irritated or frustrated, sleep apnea may be to blame. Part of the reason for your moodiness is due to a lack of quality sleep, but it can also be more complex than that. Research shows that sleep apnea interferes with the production of certain brain chemicals that help to regulate your mood.
5. Nighttime Restlessness/Insomnia
When you find yourself tossing and turning when you should be asleep, this may be a side effect of waking yourself up from snoring or gasping for air. Although you may not be alert enough to understand why you have woken up multiple times in the night, if a sleep partner informs you that this is happening, it is worth sharing this information with a physician or dentist.
Speak to a Trusted Dentist about Sleep Apnea
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or are concerned that you may have it, make an appointment with Dr. McDonald. He can design a custom oral appliance (mouth guard) to wear while you are sleeping. This appliance helps to keep your airway open during the night, and patients generally find it much less annoying than a CPAP machine. To make an appointment at McDonald Family Dentistry, please call (515) 334-3838 today.