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.

When the brain determines that it’s getting no oxygen, it alerts the body to wake up and breathe. Some people wake suddenly, gasping or choking to draw in air. Others don’t fully awaken, but wake just enough take in oxygen and disrupt a healthy sleep cycle.

Soft oral tissues can block airflow because they’re oversized, swollen from sinus problems, or because the lower jaw relaxes and slips backward during sleep. If you sleep next to a snorer, you’ve probably noticed that snoring increases when the person is on his or her back. You should note, snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, but some people who snore do not have sleep apnea.

If your sleep disorder stems from jaw position during sleep, I can prescribe an oral appliance that will hold your jaw in proper position while you sleep. Simply wear the device when you go to bed, and your snoring and sleep apnea could go away. Many of my patients have found significant relief and improved quality of life from wearing a sleep appliance. It’s a good option for people who are CPAP-intollerant, too.

If you’re one of the one-fifth of American adults who feel sluggish all day, come in and see me for a sleep consultation. We’ll talk about how to diagnose and treat your condition so that you can feel alive, awake, and alert when the sun is shining.