You’ve likely heard that the best things you can do to improve your cardiovascular health are to exercise and eat right. However, the quality of your sleep also has an impact on your heart’s overall health.
And speaking of which, did you know that people who grind their teeth at night often do so to open their airway? This is why teeth grinding can often be a symptom of sleep apnea.
Left untreated, sleep apnea has been linked to higher risks of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Keep reading to learn more.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which your breathing is repetitively disrupted while you’re asleep. These respiration interludes commonly last 10 to 20 seconds and can occur 5 to 100 times an hour.
The lack of oxygen strikes you to wake up momentarily, though you may not recall it. It can also cause various health issues, and can even result in death in some cases, so it should be taken seriously.
Is It Sleep Apnea or Just Snoring?
Not everybody with sleep apnea snores, and not every person who snores has sleep apnea. So, how can you distinguish between common snoring and a more severe case of sleep apnea?
The most obvious warning sign is how you feel throughout the day. You’re less likely to experience chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness if you simply snore because it doesn’t negatively impact the quality of your sleep the way sleep apnea does.
Another indicator is how you sound when you snore. You should get checked for sleep apnea if you are gasping, choking, or making any other strange noises. And again, if you tend to grind your teeth as well.
Managing Sleep Apnea
Together, you and your doctor should decide what lifestyle modifications you may need to put in place if you get diagnosed with sleep apnea. These may include:
- Shedding some pounds.
- Doing regular exercise.
- Moderating your alcohol consumption
With the right adjustments, you’ll gradually feel more awake and less sleepy during the day. If you sleep next to someone, they may also notice a decline in snoring or gasping noises throughout the night.
Additionally, it may be necessary to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine or oral appliance as directed every time you go to bed, (though it may take some getting used to). This apparatus can maintain a consistent airflow while you sleep, greatly alleviating sleep apnea symptoms.
Nevertheless, speak with your doctor if you are having trouble adapting to your CPAP or if your symptoms persist despite undergoing treatment.
It should also be noted that there are different kinds of CPAP masks, so it might take a few tries to find the one that fits you the best.
Why Do Fall Winds Worsen Sleep Apnea?
Although more studies are required to determine why sleep apnea symptoms tend to be more severe in the fall, the colder and windier weather is undoubtedly a major contributing factor.
The underlying causes of sleep apnea can be exacerbated by cold weather. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, happens whenever the airway narrows, making breathing more challenging. Thus, your body doesn’t get enough air, which lowers the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream.
Sleep apnea is significantly worse in the fall season due to the lower humidity. Inhaling cold air through the mouth can dry out your airways and lungs.
People who have sleep apnea experience breathing disruptions during the night. These can make you feel tired and make it difficult for you to concentrate. And if your brain and other organs aren’t receiving sufficient oxygen throughout the night, this could lead to more severe health conditions further down the line.
Sufficient, quality sleep is necessary for optimal health. If you find yourself grinding your teeth at night and suspect that you may have sleep apnea, the experts at Dogwood Dental Spa in Waxhaw Nc can help you get all the information you need and point you in the right direction to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.