It’s really for both mom and dad, and so much better than a new tie or Yeti! We have all heard the age old complaint of ‘sawing logs’ or ‘snoring like a freight train’. Probably so often that it almost seems normal to snore, but the truth is snoring is anything but normal! It is the first step on a slippery slope that ends with some scary consequences! However, it doesn’t have to have a bad ending, so read this short blog for some more insight into what snoring is really about!
The benefits of sleep are massive! Not just the number of hours, but also but also quality sleep matters. Adults need about 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. If they get less, it is more than just being a little tired for a day. In fact, it may actually be fatal! Of course, with the lifestyles we tend to live today, most of us fall a little short. While the body can deal with a lot of things, we will discuss a few of the red flags and some simple solutions and strategies.
New habits are hard to build, but the reality is harder. The average life expectancy of unmanaged Obstructive Sleep Apnea is only 55 years old! While it isn’t exclusively a male issue, it is more common in men, and especially in men carrying extra weight. In fact, a 17inch or larger neck size is a huge red flag for men. With women, a neck that is 15inches or larger raises that same red flag. The harsh reality is two fold. To start, most physicians don’t even look for sleep issues. The studies have shown that patients report only one in four physicians even ask about sleep. Meanwhile, poor sleep is increasingly being seen as the root cause of multiple illnesses like high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and a host of other issues.
So, what is good sleep?
While the only way to really know about the quality of sleep is to test it, there are some guidelines. For starters, you should be asleep for about 8 hours. Secondly, it should take about 15-20 minutes to fall asleep every night. Once asleep, you should be able to stay asleep throughout the night. You shouldn’t snore and while you shouldn’t toss and turn all night, you should move some. When you wake up, you should feel refreshed and ready for the day. You also shouldn’t hit a wall in the middle of the afternoon or evening and feel like you need a nap.
There’s no doubt that all of us will encounter something like this from time to time, but it should be the rare exception and not the norm. You should also be able to enjoy dreams every night. Among the many things we do while we sleep are healing our bodies and putting away daily stresses. Good quality sleep is also a requisite for weight management and being able to lead an active and healthy life. These are all indications of a good night of sleep, but the real issue and importance runs much deeper!
It’s just sleep.
Is it really that big of a deal?!
Actually, yes! If you have sleep apnea, you are twice as likely to die in your sleep! It happens all the time in the news. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had several medical issues, and all of those diseases are derived from chronic Obstructive Sleep Apnea. He also had OSA. The night he passed away, he wasn’t wearing his CPAP. It has been a while, but for you Deadheads, Jerry Garcia is on that list. Sopranos fans will fondly remember James Gandolfini. Reggie White and almost certainly, Robin Williams are on the list. It isn’t all men either. Carrie Fisher is also one we lost to Sleep Apnea.
As a dental office, we can’t treat all the , but we are often the front line of the team who can help. Our goal is simply to catch the issues as early as possible to that a much more comfortable solution is still an option. As a part of our routine screenings, we look at your risk assessment for things that indicate sleep and airway issues. There are some pretty significant indicators like taking high blood pressure medication. In fact, if you are taking 2 medications, you have a 90% or greater chance of having Obstructive Sleep Apnea!
But Dad has always snored…
As we go through a new patient evaluation, we look for the reasons why someone snores. In children, it is almost always enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Unfortunately, hoping that the kids outgrow the problem, it is often simply watched. While that kid is growing, all of the cranialfacial development and cognitive growth is also happening. If they can’t breathe and sleep well, then during the formative years they are undernourished. It is a tragic mistake and one that we hope stops happening!
As adults, one of the primary issues that causes snoring and airway issues is a problem with the nasal airway. Things like a deviated septum or enlarged turbinates are very common. We have a team that we have worked with for years so that we can help to guide you to some of the best physicians available to help get you some answers. On the other hand, sometimes it also requires some structural support to keep the airway open while you sleep. A dental sleep appliance also helps with that.
Snoring by the numbers.
The research has shown a few things that are important to remember. First, is 50% of snorers have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This means that half of people who snore are simply loud sleepers, but the other half have a serious and life-threatening issue. In terms of helping with snoring, a dental appliance is a great solution. For mild and moderate Sleep Apnea, there is also an appliance that will help you to manage the dangerous medical problem.
This is the important part. Although half of the people who snore aren’t at risk of dying in their sleep, this changes when you narrow the pool to loud snorers. This would include the person who snores loud enough to make it hard for someone to go to sleep. It also includes the snorers who are loud enough to wake someone up. Obviously, it also includes the people snore loud enough that they can be heard from the hallway. For loud snorers, there’s a 90% chance they have a life threatening airway issue. For the 10% who don’t, there’s also a decent chance they will wake up with bruised ribs from their bed partner who can’t sleep because of the noise!
Snoring is worth treating?
Whether you have sleep apnea or not, if you snore loudly enough for someone to mention it, it’s worth treating. If it isn’t slowly killing you, it is ruining the sleep for the people you care most about!
Fortunately, the solution is pretty simple. We can screen for some metrics on your sleep and also get you plugged in with our sleep team. If you are dealing with mild or moderate sleep apnea or (hopefully) simply snoring, a dental appliance is a powerful and comfortable solution. If your issues are more involved, we can get you connected with some physicians to help. Either way, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Give us a call and set up a consultation. We can fill in the blanks and get you some additional information and set up a home sleep screening device for you!