If you snore at night or feel tired, you should see a sleep physician. In our office, we can examine you and conduct tests to find out if you are breathing clearly and sleeping well at night. While often viewed as a nice thing to do, sleep is actually something that you must do if you want to live a long and healthy life. Research has found that adults need an average of seven to eight hours of constant sleep in order to be fully alert and functional during the day. There are, however, additional studies that highlight how important this truly is.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke published information regarding sleep stating that, “sleep appears necessary for our nervous system to work.” Studies indicate that not only does a lack of sleep lead to drowsiness, irritability, hallucinations and an inability to carry out normal activities, but it may also interfere with the brain’s ability to exercise connections that aren’t used enough. Sleep may also provide neurons with the time they need to repair themselves, leading to a better functioning brain the next morning.
It has also been found that while sleeping, the body breaks down fewer proteins. This impacts overall health because proteins are necessary for repairing the body and reversing the damage caused by UV rays and stress, to name a few. The body needs this opportunity for rest and rejuvenation, making beauty sleep a real concept. Scientifically, the more you sleep, the fewer proteins will be broken down, meaning that the protein is available to help reduce the effect of toxins and help you to look younger and refreshed. Simultaneously, waking up refreshed will help you to be in a better mood throughout the day. In fact, as a sleep physician, we recommend that those suffering from depression or mood swings, get tested for sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder and typically occurs when the jaw falls backwards along with the tongue. The tongue then blocks the airways making it impossible for people to receive the oxygen that they need. Many people snore or wake up due to a lack of oxygen as a result of this obstruction. As a sleep physician, we can treat this condition without the need for surgery or an invasive procedure. We will start by testing you to see if you have sleep apnea and if you do, we will proceed by making an impression of your mouth so that a removable oral appliance can be created. This device looks like a full upper and lower retainer that hooks together in order to hold the jaw in place. This way the tongue cannot fall backwards and block the airways. Typically, this simple solution can improve your sleep and your health. If you need an additional treatment, a CPAP machine may be necessary. This can be used in conjunction with your oral appliance for help with breathing and a good night’s sleep.