Posted on Thursday, September 15th, 2022 at 11:20 am
Nighttime sleep is our chance to let our bodies recharge and become well-rested for the next day. When our sleep is disturbed, it can lead to daytime sleepiness or being cranky with those around us. There are a variety of reasons why poor sleep can happen, including a condition called sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that has a negative impact on a person’s breathing during sleep. The most common type is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When a person has OSA, the throat muscles relax during sleep and cause the airway to collapse and be blocked. This happens repeatedly throughout the night.
Symptoms of sleep apnea can include loud snoring, waking up with a dry mouth, and gasping for air while you sleep. Sleep apnea may lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Daytime drowsiness
- Increased risk for diabetes
- Increased risk for stroke
These effects, in turn, can have other impacts, such as falling asleep while driving due to drowsiness.
What Is a CPAP Machine?
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is a device that keeps a person’s airway open while they sleep. It involves wearing a mask that covers the nose, although some masks cover the mouth as well. The mask is connected to a tube that blows air from the machine into the mask.
Should I Try a CPAP Machine If I’m Over 80?
If you believe you may have sleep apnea, you may be considering trying a CPAP machine. It’s important to understand that these devices are not for everyone. In fact, CPAP machines are typically so uncomfortable that many patients do not end up using them as a lasting solution.
In addition, a recent study suggests that CPAP machines may not be effective for people over age 80. In this age group, the study did not find a significant difference between those who used a CPAP machine compared to those who did not.
These results are important to consider. Due to the uncomfortable nature of a CPAP machine, the negative sleeping experience may outweigh the potential benefits. This is especially true if there are no detectable benefits for a person over age 80.
An Alternative to a CPAP Machine
In addition to CPAP machines, there is an alternative treatment option called an oral appliance device. There are several different kinds, and they are custom designed for a person’s mouth. Oral appliances are suitable for most patients, including those with dentures or even with no teeth. An oral appliance is usually more comfortable than a CPAP machine. This can make it a better long-term solution that a person will actually use each night.
Call Us to Learn More
If you think you might have sleep apnea, now is the time to act. Getting better sleep can have a positive impact on many areas of your life. Contact Silent Night Therapy now at 631-983-2463 to discuss your situation with a member of our team of New York sleep specialists.
Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2022 at 3:43 pm
Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a common condition. It occurs when the force of the blood against the artery walls is significant enough to eventually cause problems like heart disease.
Many people with dangerously high blood pressure show no symptoms or signs. Some of those suffering from hypertension experience shortness of breath, nosebleeds, or headaches, but it is important to note that these symptoms may not be present until their level of hypertension has become life-threatening. That’s why it is crucial to have your blood pressure level checked regularly.
Sleep apnea is also a common condition. It causes abnormal breathing while sleeping and can affect anyone at any age, although men suffer from it two to three times more often than women. Middle-aged to older people also have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Often, sleep apnea is not recognized by the affected person. Sometimes a bed partner may notice the symptoms of sleep apnea, which prompts a visit to the doctor. Ask your partner if they have noticed any of these signs of sleep apnea while you sleep:
- Pauses in breath during sleep
- Loud snoring
- Gasping or choking during sleep
During the day, you may experience excessive drowsiness, irritability, trouble focusing, morning headaches, or dry mouth. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. Only a qualified doctor can make that diagnosis.
Types of Sleep Apnea
The three types of sleep apnea are:
- Mixed Sleep Apnea
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is the most common of the three types. If it is left untreated, OSA can lead to health issues like stroke, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and, yes, hypertension.
When OSA causes you to periodically stop breathing, stress hormones are released into your system that may lead to high blood pressure. The stress hormones are released because your body senses that your blood oxygenation has decreased.
Treating Sleep Apnea May Lower Your Blood Pressure
If your blood oxygen levels stabilize when you get treatment for your sleep apnea, your blood pressure may also improve. Some people are even able to reduce their blood pressure medications after getting their sleep apnea under control. Always consult with your doctor before adjusting any medications.
Other Causes of Hypertension
Although untreated sleep apnea can cause hypertension, it is important to consider other risk factors. These may include:
- Being overweight
- Too much salt in the diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Alcohol consumption (more than 1 or 2 drinks per day)
- Older age
If you have hypertension, it is important to have a doctor make an evaluation as to its cause. They can also determine whether sleep apnea is a contributing factor.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, contact Silent Night Therapy to schedule a consultation. We offer the alternative, non-invasive solution of oral appliance therapy. By preventing obstructions in your airway, these oral appliances are as effective as any CPAP machine. Call us today at 631-983-2463 for an appointment.
Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2022 at 3:31 pm
Caffeine in the form of tea was discovered in China around 3000 years ago. As a species, we’ve been enjoying that stimulant’s buzz ever since. It’s rare to find someone today who doesn’t get their “caffeine fix” one way or another- whether it is through tea, coffee, soda pop, or an energy drink.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may be curious about the effects that caffeine has on your sleep. Scientists have wondered that too, and have conducted multiple studies to determine whether there is a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and caffeine consumption. We’ve compiled some of their findings for you.
The Positives of Caffeine
If you are reading this quickly and retaining what is being said, you may be enjoying caffeine’s primary selling point- it can improve focus and concentration. And when consumed in moderation, coffee and tea can decrease the risk of several cancers, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. Read on to decide if these benefits are worth the potential downsides, especially in relation to sleep.
The Cycle of Caffeine Reliance
Here’s a fun conundrum: what if the thing you use to fight grogginess makes it so you lose sleep and become groggy? We’ve all had those days when we rely on our favorite caffeinated beverage to get through it all without dozing off. Then, all the caffeine in our system gives us a jittery, fitful sleep, and we wake up the following day feeling even worse.
This cycle can be draining for anyone, especially someone dealing with sleep apnea. That’s why avoiding caffeine in the evening and maybe even the afternoon is important. Caffeine can take up to ten hours to completely clear your system.
The High Blood Pressure Connection
Caffeine consumption can be a contributing factor in the development of high blood pressure. If left unchecked, high blood pressure can cause sleep apnea. Suddenly, we have another destructive cycle. High blood pressure gives you sleep apnea, sleep apnea makes you need more caffeine during the day, and more caffeine during the day increases your blood pressure. You can see where this is all leading: moderation is best regarding caffeine consumption.
The Emotional Component of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
A lack of sleep can put someone on edge. Mood swings and depression are commonly reported by those with sleep apnea. The answer? Ingesting tons of caffeine to give you a lift, of course. Is this a good long-term solution? Not even close. By reducing your caffeine intake, you’ll sleep more soundly, feel better emotionally, and hopefully not need a chemical lift.
For Help with Your Sleep Apnea, Contact Us
If you have found yourself caught in a cycle of using caffeine to make up for a bad night’s sleep, contact Silent Night Therapy today. Take the first step in getting the sleep you need and call us at 631-983-2463.
Posted on Friday, July 15th, 2022 at 4:17 pm
If you use a CPAP machine but have experienced discomfort and other side effects, know that you’re not alone. There are some common (and quite frustrating) side effects related to CPAP machines, but there are also solutions that you could explore to treat your sleep apnea without needing to use the machine. Some common side effects of CPAP machines include:
Discomfort: Your mask might feel bulky or constrictive. The hose sometimes gets in the way of sleeping in any position that is not on your back. If the sleep apnea equipment pressure is too high, exhaling might be uncomfortable.
- Claustrophobia – Because it fits snugly over your nose, many people feel claustrophobia while wearing a CPAP mask.
- Aerophagia – This means that you are swallowing air. This may cause gas and bloating. It usually occurs when the CPAP pressure is too high.
- Nosebleeds or Dry, Stuffy Nose- The constant airflow into your airway sometimes causes a dry or stuffy nose and may trigger nosebleeds.
- Mask Leak – Air leakage can occur if your mask isn’t adequately cleaned or does not fit properly. If there is a leak, your CPAP machine may not be able to reach its set pressure.
- Infections – Lung or sinus infections can occur if your CPAP mask isn’t cleaned correctly.
- Headaches – This is a less common side effect of CPAP machines. Headaches might occur if you have a blockage in your sinuses or your pressure is too high.
- Dizziness – This symptom often resolves on its own after a short time of wearing a CPAP mask.
- Shortness of Breath – While this is a common complaint in CPAP users, it is usually just a sensation. A CPAP machine doesn’t limit the amount of air you can inhale.
Consider Switching to an OSA
Oral appliance therapy allows you to ditch the CPAP machine in favor of a removable oral appliance you wear when you sleep. The device is similar to a sports mouthguard or dental retainer. It keeps the airway collapsing by supporting your jaw in the correct position. An oral sleep appliance (OSA) will be custom fitted to you and is effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Treating sleep apnea could prevent strokes, heart disease, and diabetes. You’ll also notice improvements in daytime concentration, alertness, and emotional health. Oral sleep appliances are often preferable to CPAP machines because they are easy to use, do not have as many annoying side effects as those mentioned above, and are extremely easy to travel with!
If you are experiencing side effects from your CPAP machine, consider switching to an oral sleep appliance. At Silent Night Therapy, our OSA specialists have the experience and skills to help create an OSA that could help you ditch the CPAP machine once and for all. Contact us online or by phone at (631) 983-2463.
Posted on Saturday, July 2nd, 2022 at 4:10 pm
A study released in the peer-reviewed journal SLEEP in 2015 found that people with untreated sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident than the general population. This same study found a 70 percent reduction if the sleep apnea patient used CPAP therapy for an average of at least 4 hours per night.
The study’s principal investigator and senior author summarized their findings as follows: “This study provides strong evidence that obstructive sleep apnea patients have an increased traffic accident risk and that this risk can be modified if CPAP treatment is used adequately.”
In other words, the excessive daytime sleepiness common to people with untreated sleep apnea leads to an increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel. It is also important to note that a higher percentage of fall-asleep crashes result in fatalities than any other accident cause.
The Emerging Role Sleep Deprivation Plays in Car Crashes
Most people are aware of the most frequently cited reasons for automobile accidents. These reasons include speeding, alcohol use, bad weather, and aggressive driving. The role that sleepiness might play in accidents is not yet fully understood. Although sleep deprivation is the primary cause, it can also be caused by medication, alcohol, and circadian rhythm factors such as jet lag or a long shift at work.
One difficulty in ascertaining sleep’s potential role in a crash is that there is no simple procedure to measure a person’s sleepiness. If an investigator suspects alcohol as a factor, they can administer a blood alcohol content test. No such test exists to confirm if someone is sleep deprived.
Sleep’s role in auto accidents is also hard to determine because not all investigators are adequately trained in spotting the signs of sleep deprivation as a cause. It many times goes un-reported as a factor. Thus, the actual number of crashes caused by an untreated sleep disorder is unknown.
The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) is behind efforts to educate Americans about the symptoms of sleep disorders. With more general awareness, disorders like sleep apnea might be more frequently diagnosed and treated.
The Importance of Sleep
Most Americans know that exercise and a proper diet are crucial to good health. Sadly, getting a good night’s sleep is often left out of the general health conversation. The fact is, a lack of proper sleep adversely affects almost every marker of health. Regarding the brain, a lack of sleep may cause irritability, forgetfulness, mood swings, and depression. A body that is sleep deprived may develop heart disease, obesity, and a compromised immune system.
Don’t Leave Your Sleep Apnea Untreated
Don’t leave dangerous sleep apnea untreated. Take the first step on the road to getting the sleep you desperately need by calling the experts at Silent Night Therapy to schedule an evaluation and discuss how an oral sleep appliance might work for you.
Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022 at 4:05 pm
Alcohol and Sleep Apnea
Many people like to have a drink before bed. They believe it relaxes them and helps them sleep. But does it? More recent studies have shown that the “relaxing glass of wine” may be doing more harm than good. Not only could it be making it harder to get a good night’s sleep, but it could also be making you so relaxed that you sleep too deeply.
Alcohol and Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production increases when it gets dark and decreases when it’s light. Drinking alcohol up to an hour before your regular bedtime can reduce your melatonin production by up to 19 percent. Lowered melatonin levels lead to restless sleep, which leads to fatigue and sleepiness the next day.
Alcohol and Relaxation
It is true that alcohol relaxes your muscles. That can be a good thing if you’re tense. It can be a bad thing if your body needs to wake up. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it tends to slow your breathing. If your breathing becomes too slow, as it might with sleep apnea, your body tries to wake you up to start breathing normally again. Under the effect of a depressant, like alcohol, you may be too relaxed to wake up quickly.
This cyclical effect leads to prolonged apnea events, increasing the effect of sleep apnea and making you feel even more unrested the next day.
Alcohol and Sleep Apnea
There is a connection between alcohol and sleep apnea, although doctors are not sure what it is. It does not appear that drinking causes obstructive sleep apnea, but the effects of excessive alcohol use can create conditions that lead to sleep apnea.
Because alcohol relaxes the muscles, drinking too much before sleeping will relax the upper throat muscles, causing them to collapse backward into the airway. This is the primary cause of obstructive sleep apnea. The effect can be worsened by alcohol’s tendency to relax all muscles, making waking up more difficult.
Weight gain is associated with excessive drinking and with obstructive sleep apnea in a negative feedback loop: as you gain more weight, your sleep apnea will become worse, leading to daytime lethargy and increasing weight gain.
In general, if you have difficulty sleeping or believe you have sleep apnea, you should avoid drinking less than three hours before bedtime.
Treatment for Alcohol-Related Breathing Problems
If you believe you have sleep apnea related to late-night drinking, don’t despair. The first step is to see the experienced Silent Night Therapy sleep team for a complimentary review of your sleep habits and lifestyle. Relief from your poor sleep could be as simple as adjusting your nightly routine and losing a few pounds.
The next thing our team will do is determine whether you have sleep apnea, either through a home sleep study or by sending you to a sleep clinic for a night’s examination. Our doctors will determine the best course of treatment after a thorough review. Give us a call at 631-983-2463, and we’ll help you get on the road to a restful night’s sleep.