Better Sleep = Better Life!

If you don’t sleep well, quality of life suffers. That’s just a fact. Studies show a startling link between overall health, state of mind, and quality of sleep. Health Ambition published an article this week that shares some of the negative results poor sleep.

  • A sleep disorder or not getting enough sleep increases the risk for heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, low-weight birth, diabetes complications, and other serious health problems. In addition, your body’s immune system will weaken without good sleep. You’ll be more prone to catch colds, the flu, and other communicable diseases.
  • Getting good rest can help relieve pain, whether chronic or injury related. In the Health Ambition article, one doctor was quoted as saying that a sleeping medication can be more effective than a painkiller.
  • When your mind and body are well rested, you’re at less risk for accidents. Some of the biggest disasters in history, like the Exxon Valdez and the Challenger, are directly linked to a person who did not get proper sleep. In fact, one million car crashes a year in our nation occur when the driver is tired.
  • You’ll have a better state of mind—you’ll feel good—when you sleep well. Tired people often feel irritable, stressed, emotional, and they also have a higher suicide risk. Now, good sleep won’t guarantee a life of happiness, but it will help promote a positive mental outlook.
  • People who don’t get enough sleep may be prone to gaining weight or having a weight problem. Leptin is a hormone that controls hunger. Inadequate sleep allows leptin levels to drop, so you’re more likely to feel hungry… which mean you’ll eat! In addition, if you’re tired, do you really have the energy to exercise? Probably not.


Could Sleep Apnea Cause Your Drowsy Days?

According to research, Americans suffer from daytime sleepiness more than Europeans. Nearly 20% of American adults feel extremely sleepy during the day, and only 15% of Europeans feel this way. More women than men struggle with excessive daytime drowsiness.

When we’re tired, accidents can happen—at work, at home, and on the road. I’m Dr. Stewart, a sleep disorder dentist in Livonia, Michigan. If you feel tired, forgetful, or irritable during the day because you aren’t getting proper rest at night, I want to help you. We’ll get to the root of the problem, then correct it.

In some cases, sleep deprivation is self-imposed. Because of a desire to accomplish more during the day, some people neglect sleep.

Many times, though, a sleep disorder is to blame for restless nights. Even if you try to sleep for a solid eight hours, you may not reach the deep, refreshing REM sleep required to refuel and refresh your body. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a common problem in patients of all ages. With OSA, soft tissues block airflow while you sleep. You actually stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, repeatedly during the night. (more…)

Dr. Stewart Keeps Smiles Strong, Bodies Healthy with Comprehensive Gum Disease Therapy

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) recently reported that approximately 3 out of 4 Americans suffer from gum (periodontal) disease. That’s an astounding statistic and one that Dr. Stewart wants to change! He offers personalized periodontal treatments to keep gum disease at bay and eliminate damage to oral and overall health.

What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth. The early stage of the disease, called gingivitis, causes few or no symptoms. Red swollen gums and bleeding when brushing may be the only indicators that something is amiss. As the disease progresses, sufferers may experience chronic bad breath, receding gums, and pockets of infection between teeth and gums. The most severe form of the disease, periodontitis, can result in the loss of teeth, gum tissue, and bone. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. (more…)

Exciting Innovations in Dental Sleep Apnea Therapy

It has been several weeks now since I have returned from the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and as I review my material and all that I learned from that meeting my enthusiasm for providing this wonderful service for my patients grows.

For example, the latest in appliance therapy was on display from the top companies in the industry. We now have options to treat patients with few to no teeth with sleep appliances as well as those that grind their teeth at night and have muscle pain and need oral appliance therapy. Probably the most exciting advance is in combination therapy which is the combination of a CPAP mask and an oral appliance. These masks can now be custom made to fit your face and are attached to an oral appliance which makes them easier to wear, allows the air pressure to be decreased and is a possible solution for those patients who have failed CPAP therapy. I will be taking some advanced training in combination therapy later this month and will share more with you soon. (more…)

Teens with Troubled Sleep

Are you concerned about your teen’s sleep habits? Teenagers should get about 9 hours of sleep a night. Drinking energy colas, sodas, and coffee—and even excessive cell phone use—can negatively affect sleep in teens.
Other interesting sleep facts about kids and teens:

  • Furthermore, teens who are “morning people” tend to get better grades.
  • Teens who get more sleep seem to perform better in athletics.
  • Kids who suffer with migraines are more likely to have sleep disorders.
  • Kids with sleep-related breathing disorders can have blood pressure problems during sleep.
  • Snoring in kids affects cardiovascular function.
  • Kids who sleep well listen better.
  • Children who have sleep apnea are at increased risk for brain damage or lower IQ. (more…)

Fun Facts about Sleep

Some people nap with their eyes open

The longest a person has stayed awake is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes

A new baby in the house causes parents to lose 400-750 hours of sleep in one year

Elephants lie down for REM sleep, but spend the other four cycles standing up

Some animals have sleep cycles like humans, but we don’t know if they dream

The most wild and outrageous dreams occur during REM sleep

Three man-made catastrophes are linked to human error in people who were sleep deprived: Exxon Valdez, Challenger, and Chernobyl

100 years ago, people slept a few hours longer, on average, than we do today

The Internet is one of the biggest distractions to sleep, according to experts

We didn’t record REM sleep until the 50s because scientists were worried about wasting paper

Sleeping pills can disrupt the grieving process

Babies need 10 hours of sleep a day, teens 9, most adults 6.5 to 7.5, women may need one hour more than men to ward off depression, and people over 65 need only 6 hours


How Much Sleep is Enough?

You’ve heard about getting a solid eight hours, meaning a complete eight hours of sleep at night. The truth is, 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep is ideal. Studies show that people who get more or less statistically do not live as long as those who regularly sleep 6.5 to 7.5 hours a night. You should know, though, that the “best” amount of sleep varies over different demographics.

Children require more sleep; women in their third trimester of pregnancy require more sleep; some people require less sleep. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci slept 1.5 to 2 hours per day and took 15 minute naps every 4 hours. He died at age 67. Thomas Jefferson had a very erratic sleep schedule, but for the most part, he slept about 2 hours a day. He died at age 83.  Thomas Edison slept less than 5 hours a night and died at age 83. While these great historical figures have some admirable traits we should emulate, their sleep habits aren’t one of them. (more…)

How to Fall Back Asleep During the Night

If you awake at night and have trouble getting back to sleep, the first thing you need to do is stay in bed for at least 15 minutes, keep your eyes closed, and try to clear your mind. This will tell your body that you are still in relaxation mode. After at least 15 minutes of lying still with no results, keep the lighting low, and prepare a glass of herbal, decaffeinated tea or warm milk for yourself. You might try a low-stimulation activity like light reading.

  • DO NOT turn on bright lights
  • DO NOT eat sugar, drink alcohol or caffeine, or smoke
  • DO NOT turn on the television
  • DO NOT stress out (more…)

Tips to Help You Fall Asleep at Bedtime

Whether or not you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, you can improve your ability to fall asleep with a few simple lifestyle changes. Many reputable sources, including the Mayo Clinic, recommend similar tips:

  • Do not drink caffeine in the evening (coffee, sodas, tea, chocolate, etc.)
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol before bed
  • Don’t eat or drink too much before bed
  • Exercise daily
  • Drink a cup of warm milk or decaffeinated tea before bed
  • Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day
  • Avoid the news and loud television shows before bed
  • Create a dark, quiet, and cool environment in your bedroom
  • Don’t take naps during the day
  • Go to the restroom, let the dogs out, and lock the doors before you get into bed
  • Turn off the lights when you go to bed
  • Use a comfortable mattress and bedding
  • Before bed, begin to wind down and limit stimulation

When you get into bed, practice deep breathing, picture a warm, comforting scene, and purposefully relax your body, starting with your toes and working up to your head. Some people like to listen to soft, relaxing instrumental music or enjoy some light reading to help them become tired.

I’m Dr. James Stewart, and I treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in my Livonia dental office. If you try these tips and continue to have trouble sleeping soundly, give me a call.

Poor Sleep Related to Stroke, Heart Attack, and More

If you’re not getting good sleep, you may be at risk for serious health problems. We know that proper sleep allows the body to repair and the mind to renew. We also know that heart attack, stroke, and depression occur frequently in people with sleep disorders. But there’s more!

Research shows that sleep disorders might contribute to the frequency of epileptic seizures, low immunity, growth and development problems, mental disorders like depression and schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

There may also be a link between sleep problems and asthma attacks, which, like strokes, often occur in the early morning or during the night.

Another interesting fact—patients with sleep disorders tend to complain of more pain and request a higher level of pain medication. (more…)