If your breathing is disordered when you’re supposed to be asleep, you’re not really getting the rest you need — no matter how long you stay in bed. The most common type of sleep disorder that affects breathing is called sleep apnea, and it affects about 22 million women, men, and children in the United States.
At South County Sleep Solutions, Dana J. Rockey, DMD, analyzes and treats disordered sleep breathing at our office in Newport Beach, California. Whether you have a medical condition or just want to optimize your health and performance, it all “rests” on a good night’s sleep with clear, unobstructed breathing.
Apnea literally means “without breath” in ancient Greek. So if you have sleep apnea, you’re sleeping without breath. Those snores, gags, chokes and awakenings during the night are a sign that you’re not getting the oxygen you need to restore your body and rid yourself of toxins.
If you have the most common type of sleep apnea, which is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), something is stopping you from taking full, deep breaths. You may have an abnormally structured nasal bone, called the septum, which could deviate into one nostril or another, blocking it off so you can’t breathe fully.
Large tonsils, a large tongue, or fat around your neck can also obstruct your airway while you sleep. If your snoring is just mild, taping your mouth shut at night so that you breathe only through your nose may help you get a full night’s rest. If your OSA is moderate or severe, however, you need more of an intervention.
You could also have a less common type of sleep apnea, called central sleep apnea (CSA), which is a disorder that affects the signals your brain sends to your lungs while you sleep. Some people even have a combination of both CSA and OSA. Which do you have? A sleep study gives you the answers.
Your organs — including your brain — need steady and full breaths rich with oxygen in order to repair the damage that occurs during the course of an average day. They also need oxygen simply to function.
An untreated breathing sleep disorder risks damaging essential organs such as your:
Damaged organs or organs that can’t function optimally are more likely to fail. That’s why disordered sleep breathing is serious enough to contribute to or cause:
Treating your disordered sleep breathing restores your health and bodily functions, reducing your risk for early death.
If you’re not sleeping well because you can’t breathe throughout the night, you won’t feel rested when you wake up in the morning. You may find yourself stumbling through your day, feeling like you’re functioning in a heavy fog.
Without rest and oxygen, your cells can’t produce the energy you need to power through your day. Fatigue makes it hard to focus, too, so your performance at work or school may suffer. One of the most dangerous aspects of disordered sleep breathing — for you and others — is that daytime sleepiness raises your risk for being in a car accident.
You might also find that your libido drops. If you’re a man, you might not be able to achieve and maintain erections reliably anymore.
Obesity is one of the main underlying conditions that contribute to just about every life-threatening disease or conditions out there. You can exercise all you want, and even change your diet, but if you don’t get the sleep you need, you might not be able to lose weight or improve your health.
That’s why Dr. Rockey takes a holistic approach to health, starting with improving your breathing at night. A simple oral appliance could be enough to resolve your disordered breathing, boost your health, and allow you to move from dog-paddling through life to reclaiming the energy and vibrancy that’s your birthright.
Are you getting enough quality sleep at night? Find out by scheduling a sleep consultation or sleep apnea treatment today. Call us at 949-558-0554 or use our online form.