Do you snore? Does your partner snore?

Restful sleep is attainable and important, especially during the holiday season

By Dr. Gilbert –

Do you snoreMost people know that getting restful sleep every night is important and that getting eight hours of sleep is ideal. What many people do not realize is that a lack of sleep—especially on a regular basis—is associated with long-term health consequences, including chronic medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and that these conditions may lead to a shortened life expectancy.

Several studies have linked insufficient sleep to weight gain and higher than average body mass index (BMI). Lack of restful sleep is now considered a risk factor for obesity. During sleep our bodies secrete hormones that help control appetite, energy metabolism, and glucose processing. Obtaining too little sleep interferes with the balance of these and other hormones.

Insufficient sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by influencing the way the body processes glucose, the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel. Researchers have correlated obstructive sleep apnea with the development of impaired glucose control similar to that which occurs in diabetes. Numerous studies have revealed that adults who usually get less than hours of uninterrupted restful sleep each night have a greatly increased risk of having or developing diabetes.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
Studies have found that a single night of inadequate sleep in people who have existing hypertension can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the following day. This effect may begin to explain the strong correlation between poor sleep, cardiovascular disease and stroke. There is growing evidence of a connection between obstructive sleep apnea and heart disease.

In addition to sleep disturbances, apnea sufferers also experience brief surges in blood pressure each time they wake up. Over time, this can lead to the chronic elevation of blood pressure known as hypertension, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, when sleep apnea is treated, blood pressure may go down.

A sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea plays an important role in not only the affected person’s health but their bed partner’s as well.

Sleep Apnea
If you or your loved one suffers with sleep apnea, you are likely to awaken night after night from the irritating sound of snoring. Besides making life unpleasant for others, snoring may be an indicator of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

For some people, the relaxation of the muscles during sleep allows the base of the tongue to fall backward against the throat, which can constrict the airway and cause snoring. OSA is the complete stoppage of breathing for short intervals due to this constriction of the upper-airway. OSA has been proven to cause high blood pressure and in some cases even death.

With the holidays upon us, our schedules are full of social gatherings, family events, and oftentimes travel plans. This time of year, it is particularly important to get enough hours of restful sleep, no matter where you are.

The trouble with CPAP
Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) is the most common sleep apnea treatment, however, it is also the least tolerated treatment type. While CPAP is successful when used properly, many patients have trouble complying with the directives, leaving only 23-45% of patients to actually have success with the CPAP method. CPAP machines are difficult to stick with because the device requires the use of a mask over the nose and mouth and must be worn each night, not to mention the considerable noise the machine produces. In actuality, many people who use CPAP wear it for 4 hours or less per night. Other CPAP problems include face breakouts from the straps, eye and nasal irritation, mouth dryness, runny nose and sore throat. Patients with allergies, patients who tend to breathe through their mouth, and patients who sleep on their stomachs may find CPAP difficult as well. Not to mention, traveling with a CPAP machine is not an easy feat. Patients who have tried CPAP and found it not to be a good treatment for them frequently benefit from oral appliance therapy.

What can a small dental appliance do for you?
Fortunately, a small custom fabricated dental appliance can be equally as effective as a CPAP and much less intrusive. These FDA-approved devices essentially treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea by preventing the obstruction and allowing the patient to breathe easily and continuously. Worn in the mouth like an orthodontic appliance during sleep, oral appliances keep the soft tissue from collapsing and interrupting normal breathing patterns. The purpose of the oral appliance may be to reposition the lower jaw, tongue or soft palate to keep the airway open.

Dr. Rich Gilbert is well versed in all the different sleep apnea oral appliances available. After a brief consultation, Dr. Gilbert will explain which type of oral appliance will best suit you and why. All of Pelican Landing Dental’s oral appliances are completely custom fabricated from molds of your mouth and are thereby effective and easy to wear. Most find that it typically only takes a few nights to get used to wearing. And, soon you won’t ever want to sleep without it.

Benefits of oral appliances
. Cure daytime fatigue
. Ensure a good night’s sleep for you and your bed partner
. Help prevent heart disease, sudden cardiac death, high blood pressure, stroke,
diabetes, depression, memory loss and even erectile dysfunction
. Help prevent accidents caused by excessive daytime sleepiness related to
sleep apnea
. Small and compact, making it easy to travel with

Getting adequate restful sleep is important every night, but especially so during the busy, sometimes stressful, holiday season. Being well rested will allow you to fully enjoy your friends and family this holiday season, as well as decrease your chances of developing the health problems discussed above. Call Pelican Landing Dental at 239-948-2111 today to learn more about how a small oral appliance can help you.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Rich Gilbert to discuss this important subject so you can return to having a restful night’s sleep. Call 239-948-2111.

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