Sleep Apnea? Here’s How To Sleep Better

Read about sleep apnea, its effects and how to get on a much-needed path to better sleep.

head and jaw painAs we move into a New Year it is a really good time to re-evaluate your sleep patterns. With New Year’s resolutions, health is usually on all of our minds already, so why not focus on something you really need, like sleep?

One of the most common issues that many people have with their sleep is an issue called sleep apnea.

It’s a serious problem, and we’re going to take a closer look at the condition and solutions to help you get better sleep whilst living with it:

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is when you stop and start breathing whilst you sleep. This can cause you to gasp, choke and snore loudly whilst you sleep. It happens because your airways relax and narrow, and can be caused by obesity, ageing or alcoholism, although anybody can suffer from it.

Getting Sleep Apnea Diagnosed

If you suspect you have sleep apnea it is very important you get a diagnosis. Common symptoms of sleep apnea can be:

  • Loud snoring
  • Snorting, gasping or choking during sleep
  • Waking up many times throughout the night
  • Stopping and starting breathing
  • Being tired in the day
  • Struggling with your mood in the day
  • Struggling with headaches in the morning
  • Struggling with tiredness in the day

You will first need to go to your GP who will refer you to a sleep clinic if they believe you have sleep apnea. If you do have it, you will be given a range of options for treatments to ease the problem, although it is thought lifestyle changes are the most effective solution for many people.

The Link Between Bruxism & Sleep Apnea

Whilst evaluating your sleep patterns it is important to identify issues you may have beyond sleep apnea that are causing you to sleep badly.

One of the most common issues associated with sleep apnea is bruxism. It is unclear why sleep apnea and bruxism are linked, but studies show that many of those who suffer with sleep apnea also struggle with this challenging teeth grinding condition.

Some of the sleep apnea symptoms and warning signs above can also happen with bruxism too, which means you may discover you have it at the same time you get a sleep apnea diagnosis.

If you do suspect bruxism, it is important to speak to Abbey Road Dental about your symptoms. It is important your St John’s Wood dentist knows about it so that the affected teeth can be assessed. We can also create an effective dental device for you that helps minimise or prevent bruxism completely.

To further add to the importance of getting diagnosis for sleep apnea and bruxism, it is important to know that acid reflux can also be associated with those two conditions. It may be that acid reflux is another part of your diagnosis journey with your sleep problems. The great news is that acid reflux also has effective treatment, so diagnosis is a really good step to eventually getting better sleep overall.

Sleep Apnea & Teeth Grinding In Children

Children can suffer from the symptoms of sleep apnea and bruxism, which can be highly disruptive to their waking routine. If you are concerned your child may be struggling with either of these issues look out for these symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Heavy mouth breathing asleep and awake
  • Wetting the bed
  • Teeth grinding asleep
  • Poor attention span

Please speak to your Abbey Road dentist at your child’s next appointment if you are concerned about bruxism. If sleep apnea is also suspected your NW8 dentist can also refer you to your GP.

Leaving Sleep Apnea Undiagnosed

It is so important to get a diagnosis as the primary step towards alleviating symptoms with sleep apnea. If it is not diagnosed it can lead to all kinds of dangerous health issues, at its very worst putting a strain on your heart over time.

If bruxism is involved and remains undiagnosed you could also find you have issues with sensitive teeth, worn down teeth and even loose teeth over time.

Tips For Improved Sleep Quality With Sleep Apnea

As we mentioned above, it is so important to get a diagnosis from your GP and/or NW8 dentist. As well as medical treatments, there are some things you can do to minimise your symptoms such as:

Minimising Your Stress

Reducing your stress will help you to sleep better overall. It is known anxiety in the day can translate to a restless night so this is a great start to better sleep overall.

Lose Weight

It is known that obesity can contribute to you having sleep apnea, although that isn’t the case for everyone. Losing weight and exercising can help you maintain a healthy weight and helps you to get better sleep quality overall.

Drink Less

Alcohol relaxes your throat and contributes to sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol abuse can cause further issues that run even deeper with your health, so it is worth seeking specific advice about that from your GP if you consider it to be a problem.

Sleep In A Better Position

Try to train yourself not to sleep on your back as this can relax your throat and cause problems. Some people swear by putting a tennis ball up their top on their back so if they roll onto their back in their sleep they will be prompted to roll back onto their side.

Make Your Bedroom A Haven

Make your bedroom nice and cool, dark and invest in comfortable bedding. The more of a haven your bedroom is, the better you will sleep, leading to a restful night and hopefully an improvement in your apnea symptoms.

Get A Sleep Apnea Diagnosis Today

The priority is getting your conditions diagnosed and having appropriate medical treatment first, then making improvements in your lifestyle to boost your chances of restful sleep even more. If you do seek help and advice from your GP and NW8 dentist they will also be able to give you plenty of helpful advice and guidance.

Soon enough you’ll be on the road to better sleep, and a fresher, more awake feeling in the day too!

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