October 16, 2018
Recently released statistics show that 22 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea, which deprives them of the nightly rest their minds and bodies desperately need. If you’re a member of this group, your dentist says that with sleep apnea treatment in Chicago and some other lifestyle changes, you can finally get the rest you need. Read on to find out what options you have!
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes momentary lapses in breathing while you sleep. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the partial blockage of your airway due to your tongue falling to the back of your mouth or the muscles in your throat collapsing while you sleep.
The result is an air blockage, which then triggers a safety mechanism in your brain to alert you to wake-up to reinitiate breathing. Because this can happen in repeated cycles throughout the night, you’re left sleep-deprived the next day.
How to Get Relief
With the advances in sleep dentistry, there are ways to treat OSA. Your dentist offers the following options:
- CPAP (Controlled Positive Airway Pressure) Machine – The CPAP machine consists of a mask, a connecting tube and a base unit. The latter forces oxygen into your throat via the tube that is connected to the mask and worn while you sleep.
- Oral Appliance – For some patients, the CPAP method is uncomfortable. Your sleep dentist offers an alternative – an oral appliance. It is quiet, small and more comfortable to wear. It works by shifting your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open.
- Combined Therapy – Patients also see phenomenal results by using the combination of the CPAP machine and an oral appliance. The latter provides more comfort with its smaller design while incorporating the assisted breathing offered by the CPAP machine.
Alternatives for Improving Sleep
Along with the help you receive from your sleep dentist, there are some habit changes you can make to help with your nighttime sleeping. Here are some alternatives to consider:
- Meditation – If you suffer from bouts of anxiety, it can contribute to sleep apnea. Meditation is a form of calming the mind that can encourage better sleep.
- Power off All Electronics – Any electronic devices near you at bedtime can act as stimuli that keep your brain active. Thus, before retiring for bed, you should power off all your devices.
- Cut Back on Food Intake – When you eat, your body has to work to metabolize (digest) the food. By eating your last meal no later than two hours before bedtime, you will allow enough time for digestion without sacrificing sleep.
- Start a New Exercise Routine – Another way to encourage better sleep is to start exercising. The hormones produced in your body when you exercise contribute to you having a restful night.
To learn more about what you can do to overcome sleep apnea in Chicago, contact your local sleep dentistry expert to schedule a visit. With the help you receive, you’ll be able to rest better and lead a healthier and more productive life!
About the Author
Dr. David B. Schwartz is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. He is also an American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine-Diplomate. Considered to be one of the nation’s foremost experts in the field of sleep dentistry, Dr. Schwartz is the Dental Director with the Center for Sleep Medicine and is a frequent lecturer on dental sleep. He treats sleep apnea at Sleep Better Chicagoland, and he can be reached for more information through his website.
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