Sleep apnea can cause fatigue
You probably think that if you regularly sleep for seven or eight hours, you are getting a good night’s rest. So, what explains your habitual fatigue first thing in the morning, and why does it continue throughout the workday?
Do you nod off at your desk or even during a conversation with a colleague, and doze during meetings? If you feel fatigue often, then you may be afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea. Your doctor or dentist will be able to help you determine if that is the case.
Sleep apnea explained
When a person is asleep, the throat muscles naturally relax. If these muscles relax too much, they can interfere with breathing. With sleep apnea, breathing actually stops for up to a minute or more until the brain sends a signal for breathing to continue. Interrupted breathing can occur numerous times during the night, starving the body of oxygen and making it impossible to enjoy quality sleep. If the pause in breathing lasts for 10 seconds or longer, it is known as obstructive sleep apnea.
How can a dentist help?
A dentist can provide a device to be worn at night to help prevent sleep apnea. The most commonly prescribed appliance is the Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). A MAD fits over the upper and lower dental arches, allowing the lower jaw to be eased forward and the muscles at the back of the throat to be less constricted.
An alternative is the Tongue Retaining Device (TRD), which is used to hold the tongue in place and keep the airway open. These appliances offer an alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices where a sleep apnea sufferer wears a facial mask while sleeping. Your dentist and/or doctor can help you decide which option is best for you.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, make a dental appointment and learn how your dentist can assist you to sleep better. Please contact us for more information.