Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 at 8:03 pm
The American Sleep Association estimates that between 50 and 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. That’s a lot of Americans with problems getting rest. Other medical studies suggest that sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea while impacting 20 percent of U.S. adults, go undiagnosed in almost 90 percent of patients.
Unfortunately for many adults, problems getting a quality night’s sleep are often chalked up to stress and anxiety. Feeling tired throughout the day or not waking up refreshed after a night’s sleep are solved by chugging another cup of coffee in the morning or downing an energy drink mid-day. People may not realize that a sleep disorder could be impacting the quality of their sleep and their overall health. However, there is a way to help determine if an undiagnosed sleep disorder is to blame, and it starts with an at-home sleep study.
What Is an At-Home Sleep Study?
An at-home sleep study or an at-home sleep test is a diagnostic tool that a physician may employ to help diagnose sleep disorders or disturbances. In many cases, an at-home sleep study is used to determine if an individual is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Sleep apnea is a term used to describe several conditions that result when a person stops breathing during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an individual’s airway becomes blocked, or obstructed, stopping the flow of air. OSA can cause a person to move out of the deep sleep phase or wake them up entirely.
An at-home sleep test requires a portable device that should be approved by your physician. There is no need for an overnight visit to a sleep clinic. The test can be taken in the comfort of a person’s own home. While there are different models and types of equipment, basically, a portable sleep test device is a compact breathing monitor that will measure an individual’s breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort while they sleep. The machine gathers the information, and then a physician will examine the data and use it to make a diagnosis or decide to conduct a more in-depth study.
How to Prepare for an At-Home Sleep Study
First and foremost, follow all your physicians’ instructions carefully. If you are already feeling tired and need an afternoon pick-me-up, avoid caffeine. Do not have a drink with dinner and avoid the temptation to take a little afternoon catnap. All these things can interfere with your sleep and impact the quality of your at-home sleep test.
Depending on your doctor’s instructions, you may need to conduct the test for as many as three consecutive nights. Make sure that you go to bed at your usual time and don’t make any sudden or drastic changes to your bedtime routine. Apply the equipment as directed. If something happens that wakes you up, such as a sick child coming into your bedroom or a fire alarm going off, make a note of it and share the information with your doctor.
An at-home sleep test is a convenient and often less stressful way to help your doctor get to the bottom of your sleep issues. At Silent Night Therapy, we are deeply committed to helping patients explore their problems and find ways to get the rest they deserve.
Tired, cranky, or feeling sleep-deprived? Silent Night Therapy offers at-home sleep tests, so if you feel that you might have sleep apnea, call us and set up an appointment today!
Posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021 at 6:57 pm
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by periods where an individual’s breathing randomly stops and then starts back up again. There are different classifications of sleep apnea, the most common being obstructive sleep apnea. Other sleep apnea disorders include central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Although there are different sleep apnea disorders, in general, most cases of sleep apnea result in a person’s breathing repeatedly stopping and starting again through the night. This disruption in breathing can wake a person up multiple times during the night, cause them to choke or gasp suddenly, and generally prevents them from getting a full and healthy night’s sleep.
While the major complaint about sleep apnea is that an individual feels fatigued the next day, the condition can trigger must more significant health problems. Sleep apnea is linked to low blood oxygen levels, high blood pressure, and heart problems. The condition can also increase a person’s risk for developing diabetes, eye problems such as glaucoma, and certain metabolic syndromes. In short, sleep apnea is more than just not getting a good night’s sleep. It is a disorder that needs to be taken seriously and treated immediately.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea happens when there is some type of blockage obstructing an individual’s airway. This blockage could be a result of a deviated septum in the nose or the relaxation of certain throat muscles. The most common sign of sleep apnea is snoring. Other signs include:
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Morning headaches
- Changes in mood or irritability
- Nighttime sweating
- Observed periods of breathing that stops (could be caught by the individual or their partner)
- Decreased libido
Another less talked about symptom of sleep apnea is teeth grinding. Many people don’t associate grinding their teeth with sleep apnea, which can mean that the condition goes undiagnosed. The Sleep Foundation reports that there may be a link between obstructive sleep apnea and a condition known as bruxism, or teeth grinding.
Teeth Grinding and Sleep Apnea
Some medical studies have closely examined the possible connection between sleep apnea and teeth grinding. While there seems to be a correlation between the two conditions, there is still no clear explanation for why teeth grinding and sleep apnea are linked. One of the most prominent theories about the connection between the conditions is that sleep apnea triggers bruxism. It is hypothesized that when an airway becomes obstructed, the muscles in the mouth and jaw move to try and reopen the blocked airway. This muscle movement may trigger teeth grinding.
Another possibility is that clenching and grinding may help to lubricate the tissues of the mouth and the back of the throat, which become dried out due to sleep apnea. Other theories indicate that the anxiety and stress that the body undergoes when it stops breathing may cause the body to inadvertently clench or grind.
Signs of Bruxism
Some of the most classic signs that you may be a “teeth grinder” include:
- Tooth pain
- Fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Neck pain
- Popping or pain in the jaw joint or temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
- Other sleep disturbances
If you have any of these issues, know you are a teeth grinder or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is time to talk to a professional. The New York OSA experts of Silent Night Therapy are a dedicated sleep team that can review your symptoms and direct you toward the right diagnosis and treatment for your condition.
You don’t have to live in pain or feel like you’ve been drained of energy before your day has even begun. Call us today at 631-983-2463, and let’s work together to get you a better night’s sleep.
Posted on Thursday, July 1st, 2021 at 9:46 pm
More than 22 million Americans live with sleep apnea. Of those people, it is estimated that 80% of those people are undiagnosed. Further, for the 20% who are diagnosed, many do not treat their sleep apnea properly. It is clearly evident that an easy to use and accessible solution is needed to help these sleep apnea patients.
Sleep apnea can lead to many health risks. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to strain on your heart and cause high blood pressure and enlargement of your heart. Sleep apnea also reduces the quality of sleep you’re getting every night, leaving you drowsy and irritable during the day. It could potentially put you at risk for accidents when driving, working, or operating heavy machinery. It is crucial to treat sleep apnea so that you can prevent these issues.
The “gold standard” for treating sleep apnea is the CPAP device. Though the CPAP is effective, it is unfortunately not the right solution for everyone. Many patients who have been prescribed a CPAP device find it intolerable to use and simply don’t use it at all, which leaves their sleep apnea untreated. Sleep apnea patients may be desperate for a solution that doesn’t involve an uncomfortable, bulky, and noisy machine. This has led to discussion about the possibility of a pill that can treat sleep apnea. Is a pill the right solution to treat sleep apnea? So far, research suggests that the answer is no.
Medications like benzodiazepines can treat sleep apnea, but they are rarely recommended by doctors. In a world that treats so many health conditions and diseases with medications, this may seem surprising, but benzodiazepines merely relax the airway tissues in your throat. This is not generally helpful because obstructive sleep apnea is most often caused by airway blockages that result because of relaxed tissues in your throat, so a medication to further relax your throat isn’t going to help the situation. Unfortunately, a pill is most likely not the right solution to treat your sleep apnea.
So there’s no magic pill to treat your sleep apnea, and your CPAP machine is absolutely intolerable to sleep with. What does that leave you with? Oral appliance therapy! This treatment is the perfect solution for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who cannot tolerate their CPAP device. It is a custom fitted mouth guard that works with the muscles in your mouth and throat to prevent blockages and reduce instances of apnea. There is no face mask, oxygen tube, or bulky machine to deal with. Just a small mouth guard that will help you get the amazing night’s sleep you’ve been dreaming of!
If you’re looking for a better solution to treat your sleep apnea, you’ve come to the right place! Give us a call at 631-983-2463 to learn how we can help.