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Pets and Sleep Apnea: Is There a Connection?

October 19, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — sleepbetterchicagoland @ 8:42 pm
puppy and kitten sleeping cuddled together

If you have sleep apnea, you already know that it can interfere with your ability to get a full night of shut-eye. Frequently waking up throughout the night because you’re having trouble breathing can make you tired and irritable the next day. To help you achieve more restful sleep, you decided to let your pet sleep in your bed with you. Does this have any impact on your sleep quality? Keep reading as we explore the possible connection between pets and sleep apnea.

How Do Pets Affect the Quality of Your Sleep?

A recent study by Mayo Clinic researchers looked at the relationship between sleep quality and sleeping with pets. Of the 150 patients they surveyed at the Center for Sleep Medicine, a little over half of them allowed their dog or cat to sleep in the bed with them.

About 20% of these pet owners reported sleep disturbances, such as snoring, whimpering, and midnight wandering, when their pets slept close to them. However, 41% claimed their pets were not disruptive in the slightest. In fact, some of them (especially those who were single) said their pet’s presence helped them sleep by providing warmth or companionship.

One thing to note, though, is that this study was not conducted on individuals who were being treated for sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.

What If You Have Sleep Apnea?

Sharing a bed with your little furry friend might bring you comfort, but you may need to rethink this idea if you have sleep apnea. As cuddly as they may be, your pet is likely to prevent you from achieving the restful sleep you need.

With obstructive sleep apnea, you’re more likely to wake up at the smallest noise or motion. If your pet moves around or makes noises during the night – something for which dogs are notorious – you’ll tend to wake up more often and not get a full night’s rest.

What Can You Do About Your Sleep Apnea?

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, you should first talk to your doctor about it. They’ll often recommend that you undergo a sleep study to determine whether you have the condition. From there, your dentist can actually treat it.

A common form of sleep apnea therapy involves a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which steadily delivers air into your nose through a mask. However, many people can’t tolerate the droning noise it makes. Fortunately, your dentist might be able to help by creating an oral appliance. This comfortable, custom-made tray sits over your teeth and gently shifts your jaw to keep your airway open at night.

While you might not be able to snooze with your pet if you have sleep apnea, you can still get the quality rest you deserve. Ask your dentist about sleep apnea therapy today!

About the Author

In addition to being a general dentist in Skokie, IL, Dr. David Schwartz is one of the nation’s leading experts on dental sleep medicine, or the use of oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea. He is one of only 250 dentists in the United States to become a diplomate of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He offers multiple solutions for sleep apnea, including CPAP machines and oral appliances. To start sleeping better today, contact Dr. Schwartz at (847) 677-2808.

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