Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Your Health

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insufficient sleep has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Factors such as sleep apnea, snoring, worry and 24-hour access to technology are making it difficult for Americans to get the sleep they need to maintain optimal health. 

Lack of sleep has been linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and medical and other occupational errors. It also has a dramatic, negative effect on your overall health. In fact, people who suffer from sleep insufficiency are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity and cancer. 

So how much sleep should we be getting to maintain optimal health? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that school-aged kids (5-10 years old) get 10-11 hours of sleep daily. Teenagers (10-17 years old) need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep daily. Adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day. Unfortunately, Americans are falling woefully short of these recommendations. Nearly 30% of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep per night and only 31% of high school aged kids are getting their recommended amount of sleep each day.

Many adults are unable to get their recommended hours of sleep each night due to a condition called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is a chronic medical problem characterized by one or more pauses or shallow breaths when you sleep. These pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and disrupt your sleep. Typically, breathing will start back on its own, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort. Loud snoring is one indication that you may have sleep apnea. This dangerous condition is currently the leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness and is also linked to an increased risk for number of serious medical conditions including heart attack and stroke. 

Treatments for sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery and breathing devices. If you have sleep apnea, your doctor and your dentist can work together to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that will treat the problem and improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. This may include custom-fitted appliances that can be worn at night to prevent your airway from collapsing or becoming blocked. If you suffer from sleep apnea and have not tried a nighttime dental appliance, talk to your dentist today to find out if this sleep apnea treatment is right for you.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Randy Muccioli, Muccioli Dental

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