Sleep Apnea Treatment

Do you feel sleepy throughout the day?

Do you snore?

Do you feel unrefreshed when you awake in the morning?

You are not supposed to be sleepy throughout the day. You should awaken feeling refreshed and remain alert throughout the entire day. If after a full night's sleep you awake feeling tired, take it as a sign of poor quality sleep, possibly resulting from a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea actually puts you at risk for a multitude of serious medical conditions including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

An estimated 18 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder caused by the tongue and soft tissues falling into the back of the throat during sleep, obstructing the airway. An obstructed airway results in snoring and episodes of gasping for air after breathing has stopped for as long as 30 seconds of gasping for air after breathing has stopped for as long as 30 seconds at a time, as often as over 100 times per hour! It's actually not surprising that someone with sleep apnea will wake up with a dry mouth, a headache, and feeling hung-over, continuing the rest of their day feeling sleepy, struggling with significant memory loss, poor concentration, poor attention, and poor mood. What a horrifying scenario! Unfortunately, this is typical of the estimated 18 million sleep apnea sufferers in America and these are merely the immediate symptoms. Long term, obstructive sleep apnea is a serious, life-threatening condition.

Both the quantity and quality of sleep are critical in maintaining a healthy mind and body. The complexity of a complete sleep pattern can be summarized by seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep allowing four sleep stages that run through various cycles. During certain sleep stages and at very specific times of each sleep cycle, a variety of hormones and other substances are secreted that help regulate our immune system, metabolism, consolidate the day's events into memory, maintain our mind's ability to remain alert, maintain attention, concentration, reasoning and problem solving, as well as upholding our emotional well-being.

Being in bed long enough, isn't enough. Actually experiencing uninterrupted sleep, allowing the sleep cycles in the appropriate order for the necessary amount of time is what is required to experience refreshing, mind and body renewing sleep. Unfortunately, sleep apnea sufferers interrupt their sleep with every obstruction, preventing them from ever experiencing the necessary health effects sleep.

Although continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are considered extremely effective treatment for opening an obstructive airway during sleep, studies show that many patients only use it for three or four hours a night. In fact, roughly half of the CPAP users admit that the headgear and facemask are too uncomfortable to use. New guidelines actually recommend the use of oral appliances instead for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Compliance among patients fitted with dental appliances is higher and patients claim to be wearing the oral appliances all night.

Dental sleep appliances help to maintain an open airway by repositioning and stabilizing the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and uvula. It's an accepted treatment for obstructive sleep apnea not only because it is effective, but because patients find them comfortable to wear.