As a sleep doctor, we understand how important sleep is. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sufficient and good quality sleep is essential to a person’s health and wellbeing. How you feel during the day, including your ability to think, learn, react, and even interact with others depends, to a large degree, on how well and how long you slept the night before.
Most people do not realize that sleep deficiency literally alters certain brain patterns and activity. It has not only been linked to depression and suicide, but causes numerous smaller problems. The sleep deprived often have trouble controlling their emotions, making decisions or solving problems. Not only does sleep deficiency increase the risk of obesity, but it can increase your risk of developing some chronic health issues like diabetes, simply because it affects how your body reacts to insulin.
The quality of your sleep can directly impact your immune system. Insufficient or poor quality sleep may cause you to be more susceptible to infections like the common cold or flu. Additionally, sleep deprived children have difficulty paying attention, resulting in lower grades. They can get moody, depressed and lack motivation. Simultaneously, we know that driving while sleep deprived is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence, causing untold numbers of traffic accidents every year. As a sleep doctor, we want to know if you are having these symptoms or worried about how well you are sleeping because we can help.
Still, it is estimated that more than half of all adults and children report not getting enough sleep at least several times a month. These problems, which usually remain undiagnosed and untreated, are severe enough to interfere with daily routines. The less sleep the person has had, the more the body demands sleep, which often means that the sleep-deprived person can fall asleep for microseconds, without even being aware that they have.
Two of the leading causes of insufficient sleep are sleep apnea and snoring. Sleep apnea is the term used for the serious and potentially fatal medical condition when a person repeatedly stops breathing while they are asleep. This can literally occur hundreds of times a night, which means the body and brain are not getting enough oxygen. This is something we treat as a sleep doctor. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, we can provide you with a removable oral appliance to wear, that will keep your airways clear so that you can get the oxygen that you need while sleeping. As a result, you will start to have more energy and feel a lot better.
You can start snoring if the flow of air through your nose is physically obstructed. This can happen due to problems in the nasal passage, obesity, high blood pressure, a larger-than-usual uvula, throat and tongue muscles that relax too much, etc. Snoring can also be caused by obstructive sleep apnea as the tongue falls backward at night and blocks your airway. Fortunately, wearing your oral appliance will help with this as well.
If you are snoring at night or don’t have enough energy, give us a call. As a sleep doctor, we can be sure that you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed after breathing clearly while you sleep.