You’ve tried drinking less coffee, getting more exercise, and going to bed much earlier. But you still wake up feeling exhausted. It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to concentrate at work. Last week, you even fell asleep in your chair. If this sounds like you, there’s a good chance you are exhausted because you’re waking up repeatedly during the night thanks to sleep apnea.
When Does Bad Snoring Indicate Sleep Apnea?
Everyone can snore from time to time, so if you or someone you love makes a little noise at night, that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s when the snoring is both loud and chronic that you could be suffering from sleep apnea. This disorder happens when the muscles around your airway relax too much during sleep. This causes the air passages to narrow, creating vibrations (snoring) as you try to push air through. Worse, your airway can close, making your body think you’re suffocating. You quickly wake up, which opens your windpipe. Problem solved, so you immediately fall back to sleep, only to have the airway close again, and so on. People who suffer from sleep apnea can wake up hundreds of times each night, which is why they always feel so tired.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Your first step in diagnosing sleep apnea is to complete a questionnaire we’ll give you at our Alma, MI dental office. This gives us data we need, such as if you’re falling asleep at work, if anyone else is hearing you snore loudly, and more. Then we will take measurements of your neck and throat to see how at risk your windpipe is should those muscles relax too much at night when you’re asleep. We will also have specialized tools to get more measurements, such as a pharyngometer to measure your airway and rhinometer to measure your nasal passages. Perhaps most important is the sleep study.
Can I Do A Sleep Study At Home?
Since sleep apnea is marked by repeatedly waking up during the night, it’s important to collect data from you as you sleep. In some cases, you have to stay overnight in a hospital so they can monitor you during the night. Many patients have trouble with this, since staying asleep is already a battle without adding the unfamiliar noises and bed in a hospital. That’s why our office offers an in-home sleep study. This way, we can get the diagnostic data we need while you stay in the comfort of your own home.
How Can A Dentist Help?
In many cases, a person suffering from sleep apnea can get relief from a dental appliance. This is a small device similar to a mouthguard that you wear over your teeth while you sleep. While it is small, it can shift your jaw so your windpipe can stay open throughout the night. Such a dental appliance is often enough to help reduce or even eliminate the problems caused by sleep apnea.
What Is A Sleep Apnea Machine?
Sleep apnea machines are really called CPAP machines, or continuous positive airway pressure machines. CPAP is a combination of a device, mask, and plastic hose connecting the two. You wear the mask while you sleep, and the device keeps a positive flow of air into your mouth. You can still exhale just fine, but this slightly higher air pressure helps keep your windpipe open. In turn, this stops the snoring and waking up that’s causing all the problems.
At Mid-Michigan Dental Excellence, our staff has the training and tools to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. For more information, or to make your next appointment, call us at 989-796-4848 or fill out our online form today.