Narcolepsy vs. Sleep Apnea

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Narcolepsy vs. Sleep Apnea

Narcolepsy vs. Sleep Apnea

Posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022 at 3:33 pm    

Narcolepsy vs. Sleep Apnea

If you find yourself falling asleep during the day, even if you got a night’s sleep, you could be suffering from one of a number of sleep disturbances. It’s never a good sign to be tired during the day, especially if you need to drive or work. If you’re really getting a good night’s sleep, why are you falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon?

Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy

Of the three types of sleep apnea, the one that is the most common cause of daytime sleepiness is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, blocking your upper airway. When your airway is blocked, your body wakes up, sometimes so briefly you don’t even notice it. These interruptions in your sleep can happen as often as 30 times an hour. Waking up every couple of minutes, even if you fall immediately back to sleep, is not good for your sleep.

Narcolepsy is a rare neurological disorder. Only about 1 in 2,000 people have narcolepsy. That’s between 135,000 and 200,000 people nationwide. Narcolepsy is believed to affect the brain’s control of the sleep-wake cycle. People with narcolepsy can suddenly fall asleep during the day, even in the middle of a task. They also experience interrupted sleep, with vivid dreams called hypnagogic hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and nightmares.

It appears that sleep apnea and narcolepsy are unrelated. Although about 25% of people with narcolepsy experience sleep apnea, it does not appear that sleep apnea causes narcolepsy. The two disorders have different causes and different treatments.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy

If you’re experiencing daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, or other symptoms that could indicate either sleep apnea or narcolepsy, you should see a sleep apnea specialist who can help you determine what is going on. Dr. Clifford Brown is a member of the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorder Disciplines, so he will know what questions to ask and what tests to use to determine whether you have sleep apnea or another sleep disturbance.

The best way to tell the two disorders apart is a sleep study. The study will reveal the levels of various hormones and oxygen in your bloodstream before and after you sleep. This will help determine the exact cause of your sleep disturbance.

People with narcolepsy may lack a brain chemical called hypocretin. Normal levels of this chemical would indicate your sleep problem is more likely to be sleep apnea, whereas low levels of hypocretin indicate narcolepsy. Medical tests can confirm this diagnosis.

If Dr. Brown finds that you have sleep apnea, then your treatment can continue at Silent Night Therapy. We can fit you with an oral appliance to realign your jaw and prevent your throat from becoming obstructed during sleep. Our team will advise you on other steps you can take to sleep soundly and avoid daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

Contact Silent Night Therapy Today

Call our office at 631-983-2463 for your complimentary consultation about your daytime sleepiness and nightly restlessness. We’re here to diagnose your problems and help you get more restful sleep.


Long-Term Health Issues from Untreated Sleep Apnea

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2022 at 4:28 am    

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a patient to stop breathing while they sleep. Pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Snoring is a common symptom associated with sleep apnea. Many patients living with sleep apnea experience feelings of tiredness during the day due to disruptions in their sleep. However, other long-term health issues can arise in patients who fail to treat their sleep apnea, from heart disease to diabetes.

Let’s look at some severe health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea and how using an oral appliance can help mitigate those risks.

Potential Health Risks Caused by Sleep Apnea

A broad range of health issues have been linked back to sleep apnea. Some of the most common include:

  • Heart problems – Sleep apnea can increase your blood pressure, leading to heart problems like arrhythmia and heart failure. Sleep apnea was attributed to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher’s cause of death after she suffered a heart attack in late 2016.
  • Liver problems – Patients with untreated sleep apnea may experience liver problems like scarring, abnormal levels of liver enzymes, and fatty liver disease.
  • Gastrointestinal issues – Patients living with sleep apnea are more likely to experience heartburn and symptoms of GERD (acid reflux), which can also disrupt sleep.
  • Asthma – Sleep apnea can make asthma worse and cause other breathing problems. You may feel out of breath or fatigued after completing a strenuous activity such as exercising.
  • Diabetes – People with sleep apnea sometimes develop insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 diabetes.
  • Psychological issues – Sleep disruptions caused by sleep apnea can lead to mental fogginess and memory loss.
  • Lowered libido – Long-term untreated sleep apnea can contribute to erectile dysfunction and decrease sexual desire.
  • Weakened immune system – Failing to regularly get a good night’s sleep due to sleep apnea can lead to a weakened immune system, which can leave you vulnerable to other illnesses and conditions.

Other potential long-term health complications associated with failing to treat sleep apnea include obesity, metabolic syndrome, higher cholesterol levels, headaches, irritability, stroke, and even death.

How Using an Oral Appliance Can Help

Some sleep apnea patients turn to CPAP machines to help them breathe at night. However, these machines are loud, bulky, uncomfortable, and require electricity to work. There are also health risks resulting from improper maintenance of CPAP devices, which have to be regularly cleaned. And in 2021, the FDA recalled millions of CPAP devices manufactured by Philips Respironics due to carcinogenic chemicals found in the device’s sound abatement foam, which can break down over time.

At Silent Night Therapy, we offer an alternative, non-invasive solution: oral appliance therapy. Our custom-fit oral appliances gently guide the jaw forward to prevent obstructions in your airway. They are as effective at treating sleep apnea as any CPAP machine, but without the noise, inconvenience, and health hazards associated with those devices.

Contact Us

Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? If so, contact Silent Night Therapy on Long Island to schedule a consultation with Dr. Clifford Brown. Dr. Brown has extensive experience helping patients treat their sleep apnea through oral appliances, and was one of the first sleep practitioners on Long Island to provide this affordable alternative solution. Call us by phone at (631) 983-2463 or reach out to us online.


What You Need to Know About CPAP Intolerance

Posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 at 7:17 pm    

Treating obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can be effective. A tube connects a mask covering the nose and mouth with a machine to deliver pressurized air into the airway. The device keeps your airway open so you can breathe while you sleep. Unfortunately, some people suffer from CPAP intolerance, which prevents them from treating their sleep apnea with CPAP therapy.

CPAP intolerance is a serious problem and can worsen sleep apnea symptoms. Many times, someone will take a CPAP machine home with them and realize they can’t use it. Instead of looking for another solution, they accept that they must continue to suffer from their symptoms.

Common factors associated with CPAP intolerance include:

  • Leaking mask
  • Latex allergy
  • Poorly fitting mask
  • Uncomfortable straps and headgear
  • Interrupted sleep from noises made by the CPAP machine
  • Claustrophobia
  • Limited ability to move while sleeping

When sleep apnea patients don’t receive adequate treatment, CPAP intolerance can increase the risk of developing various medical issues, such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Treating Sleep Apnea Symptoms with Oral Appliance Therapy

Obstructive sleep apnea causes repeated episodes of stopped breathing while a person sleeps. The most common symptoms of this sleep-related breathing disorder include:

  • Night sweats
  • Loud snoring
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Restlessness while sleeping

Without the necessary treatment, obstructive sleep apnea can negatively impact your overall health. You face sleepless nights, daytime fatigue, and a range of health issues. You might think there isn’t a solution to your problem with CPAP intolerance. However, you could benefit from an alternative treatment.

Oral appliance therapy can prevent your airway from collapsing as you sleep. An oral appliance fits like a retainer or mouthguard. It supports the jaw in a forward position or holds the tongue in place to promote breathing.

You can choose from four popular devices based on your needs:

  • Respite Blue+ – This oral appliance is customizable, so it fits comfortably in the mouth. Interlocking wings and a dual block design allow wearers to sleep in their favorite position while the device keeps their airway open.
  • The Adjustable Herbst – The Adjustable Herbst consists of two pieces with a hinged mechanism on the upper and lower parts. Advancement of the mandible and titration is possible using the advancement screws on the hinged mechanisms.
  • The EMA – The smallest appliance offered to patients is the Elastic Mandibular Advancement (EMA). A strap with varying flexibilities and lengths keeps two individual trays together. The wearer can enjoy the comfort and lateral movement from the 2 mm vacuum form material on the trays.
  • Dynaflex Dorsal – One of the most popular appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea is the Dynaflex Dorsal. The device is made of two pieces and allows for comfort and lateral jaw movement. The hardware on the device also keeps the lower jaw in place while the wearer sleeps.

Contact Silent Night Therapy

At Silent Night Therapy, we believe every patient deserves quality sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea affects your health and can interfere with your daily routine. You should explore your options for treatment to manage your symptoms and sleep more soundly.

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea and CPAP intolerance, oral appliance therapy might be the treatment for you. Call Silent Night Therapy at 631-983-2463 today for your next appointment.


Common Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Posted on Monday, October 25th, 2021 at 2:06 pm    

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person to stop and start breathing while they continue to sleep. It’s a serious condition that can lead to a range of health problems, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and abnormal liver function.

Unfortunately, diagnosing sleep apnea can be a challenge because many symptoms are similar to those that point to other medical conditions. It’s critical to see a specialist who can accurately diagnose the problem and create an effective treatment plan.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  • Central sleep apnea – The muscles that control a person’s breathing don’t receive the correct signals from the brain.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – The muscles at the back of the throat relax during sleep, restricting airflow.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome – This happens when someone has central and obstructive sleep apnea together.

Central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea cause similar symptoms. A doctor can perform tests to determine which type you have and how to treat it.

Signs That You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Most people don’t realize they have sleep apnea unless their partner informs them of their loud snoring. Sometimes, this symptom goes ignored and untreated. Many believe it’s a minor issue without any cause for concern.

However, snoring can indicate a serious issue with a person’s breathing while they are asleep. Sleep apnea causes the muscles at the back of the throat to relax, resulting in the airway closing or narrowing. Snoring happens when air flows past these relaxed muscles, causing the tissues to vibrate.

Loud snoring isn’t the only symptom. Other common warning signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Night sweats
  • Sore throat or dry mouth after waking up
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Restlessness or waking up frequently at night
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Forgetfulness

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor right away.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Various treatments are available if you suffer from sleep apnea. The right treatment for you will depend on the type you have and how severe it is.

Common sleep apnea treatments include:

  • Oral appliance therapy – An oral appliance can help keep your mouth in the best position for a better night’s sleep. There are four types of these appliances available at Silent Night Therapy, and we will help you choose the right one and custom-fit it to you.
  • Positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy – A machine pushes air through a mask worn over the nose and mouth to keep a person’s airway open while they sleep.
  • Lifestyle changes – Obesity increases the risk of sleep apnea. Losing weight could reduce the frequency of symptoms and improve the quality of sleep.
  • Surgery – There are multiple procedures to repair malformed or excessive tissue that prevents air from flowing through the throat or nose.

A qualified sleep expert could determine which treatment would be best to meet your needs. Do not hesitate to get a diagnosis of your disorder right now and avoid medical complications in the future.

Contact Silent Night Therapy for Your Free Consultation

At Silent Night Therapy, we understand the importance of a good night’s sleep. You need to feel well-rested to work and tend to your daily responsibilities. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you likely experience interrupted sleep and wake up feeling fatigued. You should not have to face the adverse physical and mental effects of a treatable disorder.

Call Silent Night Therapy at 631-983-2463 right now for a free consultation and learn about the available options to treat your sleep apnea.


How to Deal with a Snoring Partner

Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 at 7:53 pm    

Sleeping is the body’s way of relaxing and recharging for the next day. You might look forward to getting a good night’s sleep after a busy and exhausting schedule. You start to wind down after dinner and experience euphoria once your head hits the pillow. Then suddenly, your partner starts to snore, preventing you from falling asleep as easily as you had hoped.

Snoring is a common problem. According to statistics from the Sleep Foundation, around 40 percent of women and 57 percent of men snore. It’s disruptive for the person who shares their bed and is unable to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, it can be extremely unhealthy for the snorer.

When someone snores, it means their brain isn’t receiving adequate oxygen. Their airway becomes obstructed for some reason as they sleep, causing them to gasp for air. This leads to consistent disruptions throughout the night and doesn’t allow the person to get the quality sleep they need to function the next day.

What Happens When a Person Snores?

Before we can dive into solutions for your partner’s snoring problems, you first need to understand what happens when someone snores. The sound produced during snoring occurs when the air flowing through the throat or nose becomes restricted.

When a person lies on their back, their tongue and muscles at the back of their throat relax, obstructing the airway. Total blockage can occur if the muscles relax too much, causing them to stop breathing entirely.

The body’s natural reflex is to cough or gasp for air, waking the sleeper in the process. The cycle of awakening to regain control of their breath and falling back to sleep all night disrupts sleep quality for both people in the relationship.

Common Causes of Snoring

Snoring can happen for many reasons. The most common include:

  • Structural issues – Some people can’t avoid snoring because of the structure of their bodies. Someone with a deviated septum has a more challenging time receiving the air they need while they sleep. The only thing that could fix a deviated septum is surgery, and most people don’t have the finances for it.
  • Lifestyle choices – Obese individuals can carry excess weight around their neck. The fat surrounding the upper airways can interfere with breathing and lead to snoring. Losing weight, especially the fat around the airways, could alleviate this problem and even eliminate the snoring entirely.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder. It causes someone to start and stop breathing repeatedly as they sleep. Loud snoring could be a warning sign that your partner has sleep apnea, especially if you notice them gasping for air as they sleep.

How to Stop Your Partner from Snoring

If your partner snores, you might struggle with daytime fatigue and other problems that affect your routine and overall quality of life. Below are some tips you can use to deal with your snoring partner so both of you can sleep better.

Different Sleeping Position

Inform your partner of the best positions to sleep in so they don’t snore. Experts recommend side sleeping to manage sleep apnea symptoms and reduce the occurrence of episodes.

If your partner can’t comfortably sleep on their side, they could try to sleep on their stomach with their head turned to either side. This allows gravity to pull the tongue and muscles at the back of the throat forward, so they don’t rest against the airway.

The worst sleeping position is on the back. This obstructs airflow through the nose and mouth, resulting in snoring.

Diet and Exercise

Everyone knows how important it is to maintain a healthy weight and eat the right foods for overall good health. However, what you might not realize is living a healthy lifestyle can also reduce instances of snoring.

If your partner is overweight, encourage them to begin a diet and exercise regimen. Losing fat in their neck could reduce the pressure placed on their airways so they can breathe easier as they sleep.

Sleep Separately

It’s not ideal, but if you’ve tried various remedies that haven’t stopped the snoring, you might have no choice but to sleep in different rooms. Although the idea of sleeping separately can be undesirable, it will allow you to get the sleep you need to be at your best the next day.

Seek Medical Care

When all else fails, you can take your partner to a sleep clinic to determine whether their snoring is due to sleep apnea. Alternative treatments, such as lifestyle changes, might not be enough. If your partner snores because of a medical condition, they will likely need a professional’s help to manage their symptoms and episodes of sleep apnea.

Contact Us

If your partner snores and seems not to get enough sleep at night, contact Silent Night Therapy right now. Our team of professionals can determine whether your partner has sleep apnea and advise them about the available treatment options so you both feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning.

Call us for a complimentary consultation at 631-983-2463 or reach out to us online.


Five Reasons Why CPAP Users Should Try Oral Appliances 

Posted on Sunday, October 3rd, 2021 at 9:01 pm    

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, the best treatment for the condition is the one that you will actually use. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that causes an individual to intermittently stop breathing while they sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea cases, breathing stops due to a blockage of the airway, sometimes because of the collapse of soft tissue in the throat. CPAP machines constantly deliver pressurized air throughout the night and help keep a person’s airway from collapsing.

However, CPAP machines aren’t the only treatment option available to people suffering from sleep apnea. Some oral devices also have a good track record of alleviating symptoms and helping individuals get a good night’s rest. If you feel like you are unhappily chained to your CPAP machine, here are five reasons why you may want to consider trying an oral appliance instead.

Comfort

CPAP machines can be uncomfortable. Many people report feeling claustrophobic when they wear a full mask. People who frequently toss and turn at night find that they tend to dislodge or remove their mask with their thrashing, defeating the purpose of wearing the mask or nasal cannula at all. An oral appliance is generally worn inside the mouth, almost like the retainer you had as a kid. The appliance helps to hold the jaw in the correct position and open the airway. Some individuals find wearing a properly fitted oral appliance to be much more comfortable than a CPAP machine.

Get Closer to Your Partner

Some sleep apnea machines are loud and bulky. Your partner either must contend with your snoring or the constant hum or drone of the CPAP machine. An oral appliance is silent and delivers comfort for you and comfort for your partner.

Less Embarrassment

Sleep apnea can be an embarrassing condition for some people. Who wants to invite a new partner over to spend the night, only to be hooked up to a machine with a giant face mask? Sleep apnea is your business and no one else’s. An oral appliance is small, discreet, and can be worn without anyone being the wiser.

Safe to Travel With

It’s not that CPAP machines are unsafe to travel with, but they sure are cumbersome and inconvenient. They take up valuable luggage space and make flying a hassle. Traveling with an oral appliance is easy since its case conveniently fits in a purse, pocket, or carry-on bag.

Good for Long-Term Compliance

Unfortunately, many people are gung-ho about getting their sleep apnea under control in the beginning. However, struggling with a CPAP machine may make some people lose the battle before the war. The cleaning, maintenance, and discomfort associated with a CPAP machine may eventually discourage people from using the device. Oral appliances can be better for long-term compliance.

If you want to explore all your sleep apnea treatment options, consult with the team at Silent Night Therapy. We can diagnose your sleep condition and give you treatment options that will address your specific issues. If you are ready to get a better night’s sleep, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

 


What Is the Best Sleeping Position?

Posted on Monday, September 13th, 2021 at 7:41 pm    

Choosing the best sleeping position is about more than just comfort. If you suffer from sleep apnea, the way you position your body could significantly affect the quality of sleep you’re getting.

Even though you might feel the most comfortable in one specific position and can’t seem to fall asleep in another no matter what you do, your preference for that particular sleep position could be preventing you from getting a full night’s sleep. Additionally, your chosen sleeping position could increase how often and how intensely your sleep apnea episodes occur.

Below are the most common sleeping positions people turn to and which ones you should use to improve your sleep quality and reduce the number of sleep apnea episodes you experience while sleeping.

Sleeping on Your Side

Sleeping on your side is the most recommended position for someone suffering from sleep apnea. You can ease some of the symptoms, such as snoring. An added benefit is that side-sleeping can also manage symptoms of other conditions, such as acid reflux.

When you sleep on your right side, it encourages blood flow and maximizes lung capacity. Your best option is to stretch out your body entirely while you sleep. If you curl up into the fetal position, it could worsen your sleep apnea symptoms or increase the frequency of your episodes.

Sleeping on Your Back

If you sleep on your back, you might experience frequent and severe episodes of sleep apnea. That’s because it is the worst sleeping position you could use. When you lie down on your back, the soft tissue and tongue relax towards the back of the throat, blocking the airway. When the brain doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs, it forces a person awake to gasp for air.

Unfortunately, some people can’t seem to get comfortable in a new sleeping position. If you have always slept on your back and failed at trying a different position, you might be stuck. However, there are some things you could try to make this position more optimal for your quality of sleep.

Be sure to sleep on a firm mattress. A firm mattress can provide the support your spine needs. You should also place a pillow underneath your knees to relieve pressure on your back.

Instead of sleeping with the back of your head on the pillow, turn your head to either side. This can prevent your tongue from relaxing and obstructing your airway. Elevating your head can also keep your airway open.

Even if you’re able to fall asleep in a better position, you might find yourself waking up each morning on your back anyway. You could avoid this by surrounding your body with pillows so you can’t roll over in your sleep.

Sleeping on Your Stomach

Positioning your body on your stomach is another good way to manage your sleep apnea symptoms. It’s not the best option, but it’s better than sleeping on your back.

When you’re lying on your stomach, gravity works to pull your tongue and soft tissue down so they don’t block your airway. There’s also less of a chance that you’ll snore if you sleep on your stomach.

You should use a soft pillow and position your head comfortably to avoid placing tension on your shoulder or neck. If your head faces down instead of to the side, you can prevent airway obstruction. Some manufacturers design pillows specifically for stomach sleepers so you don’t have to smash your face into the pillow while you’re sleeping.

Additional Options to Manage Sleep Apnea

You might have tried conventional methods to reduce or eliminate your sleep apnea episodes. You might have even turned to a CPAP machine.

If you’re looking for alternative options, you should consider specific lifestyle changes. The most common include:

  • Avoid smoking and drinking – Cigarettes and alcohol exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. If you eliminate them from your life, you could potentially alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall quality of sleep.
  • Lose weight – Obesity can worsen sleep apnea episodes. If you lose fat around your upper airways and maintain a healthy weight, you could avoid airway obstruction while you sleep.
  • Exercise – Everyone knows the many benefits of exercise. Managing sleep apnea is one of them. If you increase your physical activity, you improve not only your overall health but also lose the fat that pushes against your upper airways.

Contact Us

If you suffer from sleep apnea and want to discuss your treatment options, do not hesitate to contact Silent Night Therapy. We can review your symptoms to offer a proper diagnosis and advise you about whether oral appliance therapy is right for you.

Call us at 631-983-2463 today for your complimentary consultation.


Nocturnal Teeth Grinding Linked to Sleep Apnea 

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
  • Gasping
  • 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
  • Headaches
  • 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.

 


Will a Good Night’s Sleep Help My Heart?

Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 at 12:46 am    

The quantity and quality of sleep you get each night has a profound effect on your overall health. You may not realize it, but getting a good night’s sleep can have a major impact on your stress levels, blood pressure, and cardiovascular fitness.

The most common sleep disorders that Americans experience are sleep apnea and insomnia. Scientists believe that up to 25% of American adults suffer from sleep apnea or insomnia. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to breathe more shallowly and more irregularly while you sleep. This is caused by tissues in the mouth and throat that block the airway. People who suffer from sleep apnea often wake up in the morning still feeling tired and groggy.

The Journal of the American Heart Association recently published a study that found that in a study of 500 women, those who suffered from sleep disorders had worse eating habits than others. Those who did not get enough quality sleep tended to eat more food in general, and more foods with added sugars. Diet is linked very closely to the risk of developing cardiovascular problems down the road. People who overeat or are obese are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found evidence that suggests that people who sleep irregularly are more likely to develop heart disease. Conversely, the participants who had regular bedtimes and more consistent sleep durations were less likely to develop heart disease.

These studies do not conclusively link poor sleep habits to a decline in cardiovascular health, but they do suggest that there is a connection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked poor sleep with Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, all of which can contribute to cardiovascular problems.

Make an Appointment With Silent Night Therapy

If you are worried that your sleeping patterns put you at a higher risk of developing more severe health problems, call Silent Night Therapy to put your mind at ease. Our sleep specialists will work with you to find the source of your disruptive sleep, whether it is insomnia, sleep apnea, or another issue. Please give us a call at (631) 983-2463 or contact us online.


Patients With Generalized Epilepsy May Be at Higher Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 at 12:53 am    

Researchers have discovered a connection between epilepsy and obstructive sleep apnea, also referred to as OSA. A 2018 article from Practical Neurology explains this connection. The authors of the article, Michelle L. Dougherty, MD and Karin G. Johnson, MD, argue that epilepsy can affect sleep apnea and that the converse is true as well.

Dougherty and Johnson wrote in the article that epileptic seizures can disrupt a person’s sleep habits. Additionally, anti-seizure medications may also diminish the possibility of healthy sleep. This is because some of these medications are muscle relaxants, which can impact the upper airway. And other medicines cause weight gain; obesity is a contributing factor to OSA.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when your upper respiratory structure repeatedly collapses during sleep. This causes repetitive disrupted sleep, snoring, trouble breathing, and the inability to deliver oxygen to the brain. Sleep apnea often leaves the patient feeling groggy the next morning and foggy throughout the day.

An article from Neurology Today argues that people with generalized epilepsy are often at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea than people with focal epilepsy, which is characterized by seizures that affect one part of the brain. The article also states that people with epilepsy and undiagnosed sleep apnea are at a higher risk of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Matthew T. Scharf, MD, Ph.D., one of the doctors who authored the study, said epilepsy patients should always be screened for sleep disorders.

Despite the studies, doctors are still not sure how exactly epilepsy affects sleep apnea and, conversely, how sleep apnea affects epilepsy. However, they have uncovered sufficient evidence to connect the two, and now many doctors advocate for more sleep disorder screenings in people with epilepsy.

Make an Appointment With Silent Night Therapy

If you have epilepsy and believe you should be screened for a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, please do not hesitate to reach out to Silent Night Therapy. Our sleep specialists have the tools and expertise to diagnose your sleep problems and help find practical solutions that fit your lifestyle. If you prefer to do an at-home sleep study, we can provide you with a kit mailed straight to your door. Please give us a call at (631) 983-2463 or contact us online.