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Managing obstructive sleep apnea with your Michigan dentist restores healthy rest


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We need more than just a little shut-eye. We require healthy sleep, a concept that is foreign to a vast majority of people around the world. As we rush from one task to another, we wish for more hours in the day, rather than taking the necessary time to recuperate. Stress, dietary habits, and scheduling are all factors in our massive lack of sleep.

The idea of healthy sleep has changed significantly in the last century. As recently as the early 1900s, people slept an average of nine hours per night. How long we sleep today varies widely. With about eight being the average, the CDC reports that as much as 30 percent of Americans, ranging in age from 20s to 60s, sleep only six hours a night, or even less. The reasons why we are so sleep deprived today vary as much as the hours we sleep.

Finding the cause of sleep deprivation is important to health

A key factor in our level of health is sleep. During this activity, the body goes through significant, rejuvenating processes. Over the years, research on sleep patterns has revealed that we complete several stages as we sleep. We begin with light non-REM, moving into deep non-REM. Within two hours of falling asleep, we should move into our first REM sleep, where we might stay for about 15 minutes. In REM sleep, we are unable to move our arms and legs. Some believe this is so we do not act out our dreams.

As the night wears on, we move from REM sleep back into light and deep non-REM sleep. Eventually we resume REM sleep at some point. The necessity for REM sleep has been well-documented, but we often fail to overlook the importance of all stages of sleep as a whole process. During non-REM sleep, the heart rate is slowed, and body temperature and blood pressure are lowered. It is during these stages when the body is rejuvenating and restoring its strength, memory, and other facilities.

When we fail to get the sleep we need, we suffer greatly. Symptoms of sleep loss are immediately visible, and worsen the longer sleep is disrupted. They include:

  • Impaired function, with slower reflexes.
  • Higher instance of accidents.
  • Lack of mental clarity. Foggy thinking.
  • Difficulty remembering.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Extreme daytime sleepiness.
  • Microsleeps, when sleep occurs quickly, at inappropriate times, such as a stop light.
  • Obesity.
  • Depression or mood swings.
Sleep is important, and yet our success at getting healthy sleep may seem beyond our control. Some people suffer from what they think is chronic snoring when, in fact, they are losing sleep due to obstructive sleep apnea. We treat this condition effectively in our Michigan dental office. It is far more severe than snoring, as breathing actually stops at times during sleep.

Dr. Bernstein has years of experience treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea, helping them comfortably get back to healthy sleep patterns with a simple oral appliance. If you or a loved one experience symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, contact us for a consultation.


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