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Is your loud chronic snoring starting to affect your partner’s sleep? Every morning you’re waking up with a headache and feel like you got practically no rest. You probably think if you could just get some temporary relief from your sleep apnea symptoms, you might be able to get your sleep schedule back on track. Everyone deserves quality rest in order to function at work and throughout the day. Read on to learn how often your sleep apnea is affecting you, and how you can treat it to provide you and your partner some relief.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

This sleeping disorder impacts people all around the globe. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which affects about 22 million American adults. You’re not alone if you suffer from some of these symptoms:

  • Loud chronic snoring
  • Periods of sleep in which you stop breathing (reported by your partner)
  • Gasping for air
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Headache in the morning
  • Fatigue during the day
  • Short attention span
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Hard time staying asleep

If you’re affected by one or multiple symptoms on this list, visit your medical provider so they can determine what tests you may need and establish a diagnosis. Obstructive sleep apnea specifically occurs when your throat muscles relax, and your airway becomes blocked. Leaving your sleeping disorder untreated can impact the oxygen levels in your blood and affect your day-to-day life.

Are You Experiencing Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea Every Night?

If you have sleep apnea, your breathing can be affected for 10 to 30 seconds during each episode while you’re sleeping. Throughout the night, this can happen up to 400 times. It can not only disturb your rest, but also make you less productive throughout the day and make it dangerous to do normal tasks such as drive. After a diagnosis is made, you can start treatment and get the help you need to improve your quality of life.

How Can You Treat Your Sleeping Disorder?

You may have done a sleep study and been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. If this is the case, you can start looking into various methods of treatment. Some of the most widely used include the continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP machine. It uses a small mask that goes over your nose and mouth and continuously blows air to open up your airways while you sleep.

If you have a hard time getting to sleep using a CPAP machine because it’s too loud or obstructs your face too much, you can always visit your dentist. They can provide you with an oral appliance specially made to reposition your jaw and tongue to help open up your airway. Most patients prefer this because it’s more comfortable and less cumbersome to sleep with. You can also use a combination of both methods.

If you suffer from this sleeping disorder, you’re not alone, and there’s no need to worry. Knowing what symptoms to look out for is a great first step in identifying it and seeking help. Everyone deserves a great night of rest so they feel fully functioning and productive each day!

About the Author

Dr. Kent Smith is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and American Sleep Breathing Academy as well as the President of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy. He has been improving his patients’ quality of life for over a decade and believes that every person deserves a great night of rest. He runs two sleep practices in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and developed a sleep curriculum at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit Sleep Dallas’ website or contact 844-409-4657.

The post Do You Experience Sleep Apnea Symptoms Every Night? appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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When it comes to sleep apnea, there’s good news and bad news: The bad news is that an estimated 1 out of every 4 adults in the U.S. has it. The good news is that there are simple and effective treatments that greatly minimize its impact on your health and quality of life. But, although so many people have sleep apnea, it’s still common to have questions such as what the risk factors are and whether it can get worse with time. In this blog, you’ll get answers to those questions and find out more about the many options for treatment and how they can help you.

What Are the Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea?

Below are some of the most common risk factors for sleep apnea. However, it’s important to note that you can still have it, even when none of these factors are present:

  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Physical anatomy such as a large neck, tongue, or tonsils
  • Nasal blockages, polyps, or allergies
  • Eating or drinking too close to bedtime
  • A deviated septum.
  • Age and gender (men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women)
Can Sleep Apnea Get Worse With Time?

Unfortunately, sleep apnea can progress over time. If any of the risk factors listed above change, it can subsequently worsen your symptoms. For example, if you have allergies that flare up in the springtime, you may notice increased signs of sleep apnea such as more daytime fatigue or irritability.

Or, since sleep apnea tends to naturally progress with age, you may simply notice additional symptoms with the passage of time.

How You Can Prevent Sleep Apnea From Getting Worse?

For many years, the only sleep apnea treatments were surgery or a CPAP machine. Fortunately, treatment options have changed tremendously. Now, you can halt the progression of sleep apnea with an oral appliance that’s much easier to tolerate and also very effective. There are many different types of these lightweight, portable appliances, all of which open your airway at night to allow for better breathing.

An experienced sleep dentist will spend time targeting the specific cause of your sleep apnea so they can recommend the absolute best type of appliance for your needs. In moderate to severe cases, they may recommend combined therapy in which an oral appliance is used along with a CPAP machine. This makes the use of a CPAP much more comfortable and also more effective.

With the right type of therapy, you can prevent your sleep apnea from getting worse and enjoy the many benefits of deeper, more restful sleep each night.

About the Author

Dr. Kent Smith is a sleep dentist and highly-respected leader in his field. As the President of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, he’s passionate about helping people find relief from the negative consequences of this common condition. If you think your sleep apnea may be getting worse or you have any questions, he can be reached via his website.

The post Can Sleep Apnea Get Worse? Find Out Here and Also Learn About Treatment appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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Sleep Dallas Blog by Brianna Bloom - 1M ago

Summertime – it’s here! Bring on the longer days filled with sunshine, busy schedules, staying up late to socialize, vacations and other adventures. Unfortunately, the season of jam-packed schedules and distractions can make it harder to stick to a consistent sleep schedule and hotter temperatures can make sleep elusive and less refreshing. Don’t despair, though! With a few mindful changes, you can find yourself back on track and waking up with the energy you need to take on the season. Follow these tips to help ensure a good night’s sleep during the hottest of summer nights.

Keep the thermostat in the 60s. Do not be tempted to move your thermostat to the 70s to save money during sleep. Good sleep will make you more productive, so don’t trip over dollars to pick up nickels. If you don’t have air conditioning, make sure to use a fan to keep the air circulating.

Take advantage of the cooler mornings to get outside and reset your circadian rhythms. The sunshine can help reduce troubles falling asleep and help  eliminate the urge to stay up late. This will increase your sleep drive in the evenings when you need melatonin release and proper preparation for sleep.

Reduce light indoors. As daylight hangs around longer, bringing rays into your living quarters deep into the evening, you need to consider darkening the inside environment of your home by dimming the inside lights about an hour before your desired sleep time. Blackout curtains are a good option if you’re willing to make the investment, but a sleep mask works to block out light as well. This will help mimic those times hundreds of years ago when we would sleep as soon as darkness prevailed.

Avoid screen time before bed. Much like you need to dim the lights in a room before bed, it’s important to avoid light exposure from electronic screens. Electronic devices emit blue light, which can trick your body into thinking it’s daytime. Switch them out for a relaxing wind-down ritual like reading a book or having a cup of tea.

Use breathable bedding. Bedding plays a crucial role in helping your body cool down enough to sleep. During the summer in particular it can be helpful to use a lighter blanket than during other times of the year. The type of material your sheets are made of can make a difference too–look for sheets derived from natural fibers, made from lightweight cotton or bamboo or those with moisture-wicking properties or microfiber.

Keep a consistent bedtime routine. Although it can be tempting during the summer to change your routine for vacations or other activities during the week, sudden changes in your sleep schedule can disrupt your body’s internal clock. If you must change your sleeping patterns, gradual adjustments to your sleep and wake times are the way to go.

Hit the shower before bed. Rinsing off before bed is not only relaxing, but it also helps to remove sweat and sunscreen from the day which can be refreshing. Make sure to keep it on the cooler side, since hot showers increase the body temperature, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine during certain parts of the day. The later in the afternoon, the more important it is to stay away from caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it’s job is to disrupt sleep. By limiting consumption to the morning, you’re allowing your body sufficient time to metabolize it and lessening the chances that it will make it harder to fall asleep.

Alcohol, on the other had, initially makes you sleepy, but reduces REM sleep due to the way the body metabolizes it.. Limiting the amount of alcohol you’re consuming and keeping it to 3 to 4 hours before bedtime can help reduce interrupted sleep.

Keep food to a minimum before bed. Late-night feasting can be a fun way to socialize during the summer, but it can affect your quality of sleep. Eating too late can affect your body’s natural release of HGH and melatonin, important hormones for sleep.

Stay hydrated throughout the day.  Hydration plays a key role in how you feel during the day, but also how well you sleep at night. Even mild dehydration can drastically disrupt your sleep, leaving you dry, parched and prone to snoring. Yet, drinking too much water in the evening can also be troublesome by causing you to wake up repeatedly during the night to use the bathroom. Combat this problem by consuming water regularly throughout the day and slowing down your intake a couple of hours before bed.

Finding the time and energy to devote to a good sleep can be difficult during the summer, but following these tips can make it an easier process. If you still find yourself suffering from trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, than it might be a bigger issue than the summer heat. You could be suffering from a sleep condition like sleep apnea, which requires diagnosis and treatment to alleviate sleep issues. Contact Sleep Dallas today to learn more about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.

The post Sleep Well in a Heat Wave appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has entered the spotlight in recent years due to increasing research showing its potential health benefits and medicinal uses. CBD is a chemical compound called a “cannabinoid” that is found in the Cannabis sativa plant (from which both hemp and marijuana are produced). The compound is extracted and mixed with oil to create CBD oil, which is then used as a supplement to help relieve chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, and other ailments. Unlike its sister compound THC — the chemical responsible for the “high” feeling one gets from using marijuana — CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects.

CBD Oil and Sleep

CBD oil has also been shown to provide relief from several conditions that affect the quality of our sleep. To begin, CBD acts as a stress suppressant — effectively decreasing our anxiety level and allowing our mind and body to relax enough for sleep. CBD oil is also commonly used for pain relief, especially chronic pain, and for easing sleep-related ailments associated with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

For those who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome, CBD oil has been recognized as a natural and effective alternative to pharmaceutical prescriptions and over the counter medications such as sleeping pills and cold medicine.

CBD Oil and Weight Loss

Research is limited and scientists are still working to understand the connection between CBD oil and weight loss, but many hypothesize that the connection is a result of the way CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its receptors throughout the body. Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD oil suppresses appetite, can burn fat, has the ability to turn bad fat (white fat) into good fat (brown fat), and reduces the risk of metabolic disorders like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

CBD Oil and Anxiety

Anxiety is often the primary reason that people seek out CBD oil, as it is known for its calming effects. Promising research has shown that CBD may be an effective treatment for those looking to manage or reduce symptoms associated with social anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

It’s believed that CBD promotes the body’s processing of serotonin, which is a key chemical and neurotransmitter that regulates functions like mood, anxiety, sleep, appetite, and other emotions.

Choosing a CBD Oil Supplement

When choosing CBD oil, it’s important to look for the following qualities to ensure you’re getting a high-quality supplement.

  • US-grown, organic hemp
  • Full-spectrum or whole plant oil
  • THC level of 0.3% or less
  • Extracted using the CO2 extraction method
  • Third-party tested for CBD concentration, THC level verification, and presence of impurities
Purchasing CBD Oil

One such brand that fits the bill for a high-quality CBD oil is Zilis UltraCell. Made from hemp sourced through a USDA-certified organic producer in Colorado, UltraCell CBD is created with a proprietary water-soluble formula that allows for 30 times more absorption into the body than regular CBD oils. UltraCell also offers Booster supplements can be used in conjunction with its CBD oil to deliver vitamins and minerals in one powerful punch that can support homeostasis, target cognition and weight, and help you sleep better.

In response to high patient demand and inquiries, Sleep Dallas has is now an independent ambassador of Zilis UltraCell products, which can be purchased online or in our office.

The post Can CBD Oil Benefit Sleep Quality? appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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You have sleep apnea, and you know that you need to treat it so that you and your partner can get better, more restful sleep. Instead of a clunky CPAP machine, you decide to go with an oral appliance that you wear at night. And what’s more, you’ve even decided to get a custom mouthguard from a qualified sleep dentist to ensure that it fits comfortably and works properly. But on your first couple of nights wearing the appliance, you run into problems. Maybe it feels tight or uncomfortable, makes you drool, or makes falling asleep a little more challenging. Well, here are some ways to help you get used to your snoring mouthguard for sleep apnea treatment.

Find the Right Kind of Mouthguard

Even though oral appliances to treat sleep apnea and TMJ issues are still relatively new, there are tons of them available. Some are made to be worn on the bottom teeth, while others are fitted for the upper. Some only cover a few front teeth, which helps those who have a sensitive gag reflex. Others use very thin materials—the variations go on and on. Some potential brands that your dentist may recommend based on your specific situation include the following:

  • MicrO2.
  • Panthera.
  • Narval by ResMed.
  • The SUAD.
  • Moses Appliance.
  • Respire Pink.
  • OASYS.
  • Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP).
  • Elastic Mandibular Advancement (EMA).
  • SLEEP NITE.
  • AveoTSD.

It may take some experimentation to find the right kind of mouthguard for you, so don’t give up!

Have Your Dentist Adjust Your Mouthguard

Although your custom mouthguard should fit your mouth properly, it may not be completely perfect. If it causes your teeth to feel sore or causes pain, call your dentist and ask them to make a few adjustments. They can make it feel more comfortable for an easier transition. However, feeling like your mouthguard is tight or just generally uncomfortable is completely normal. In fact, you want the mouthguard to be at least somewhat tight so that it stays in place during the night.

Keep Your Mouthguard Clean

Even if you adjust quickly to having a mouthguard in place, it doesn’t mean that it can’t become uncomfortable at a later date. That’s why you need to take care of your mouthguard. Just like your teeth, your mouthguard can accumulate plaque and bacteria over time. If you don’t rinse and gently brush your appliance on a regular basis, it can develop an unpleasant odor or discoloration from the bacteria. You may even want to consider soaking your mouthguard in denture cleaner to provide additional protection against buildup and bacteria.

Be Patient

It can take nearly a month to start and retain a new habit. If you consistently wear your mouthguard at night, eventually your brain will become familiar with how it feels in your mouth to the point where you won’t even notice it anymore. So give it some time, and don’t throw in the towel.

Change isn’t always easy, but you can adapt to it. Following these tips can help you reap sooner the benefits of treating your sleep apnea with an oral appliance. Pretty soon you’ll be waking up feeling refreshed and energized instead of exhausted.

About the Author

With many years of experience, Dr. Kent Smith is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Sleep and Breathing Academy, of which he serves as president. For five years, he hosted a weekly radio show about sleep disorders called Pillow Talk. In addition, he wrote sleep curriculum for the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. At Sleep Dallas, he offers all the brands of mouthguards listed in this post. To make an appointment with him, call his Irving or Frisco offices or click here.

The post 4 Tips for Getting Used to Your Snoring Mouthguard appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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You don’t have time. Your snoring isn’t that bad. It’s okay if you don’t get good sleep. The excuses for not getting sleep apnea treatment could go on and on. If you consistently snore and wake up still feeling tired after a full night’s rest, you may brush it off as no big deal and try to live with it. But doing so can lead to more than just daytime drowsiness. You could suffer other serious, ill effects to your health and safety. Seeking treatment helps you get restful sleep and prevent potential negative health risks. Keep reading this post to learn more about just a few examples of the dangers of untreated sleep apnea in Frisco and how to get relief.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

When your breathing stops during sleep, your brain produces a stress hormone to wake you up enough to resume breathing. That hormone also triggers a spike in your blood pressure. Over time, these spikes can start to become the norm, even while you’re awake. High blood pressure is a major contributor to heart disease, which causes one in every four deaths in the United States. Ignoring your sleep apnea could lead to significant, long-term effects on your heart health and the longevity of your life.

Complications in Pregnancy

Research has shown that sleep apnea leads to serious health risks for both the mother and the baby. Pregnant women with sleep apnea are more likely to develop preeclampsia, high blood pressure during pregnancy that often causes preterm birth, and to deliver their babies via cesarean section. Their babies are more likely to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit than babies born to babies without sleep apnea.

Weight Gain

Studies have shown that people who get quality sleep frequently weigh less than those who don’t. That’s because sleep deprivation causes the hormones that signal hunger to become distorted. Also, when you already feel fatigued, you’re less likely to exercise on a regular basis.

Safety Risks

Did you know that driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated? It’s not safe to drive or operate machinery with sleep deprivation. You could be putting yourself and those around you at higher risk of an accident.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The good news is that sleep apnea is a treatable condition. By turning to an expert in sleep apnea treatment, you can finally get the rest you desperately need. Many times a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine provides relief from symptoms. However, others find the CPAP machine more disruptive than sleep apnea. In these cases, a simple, customized oral appliance can help open up your airways at night by repositioning the lower jaw.

No matter the reason for not seeking treatment, your overall well-being and safety are worth the time and effort to address your sleep apnea. Not only will your partner thank you, but you’ll also be able to enjoy better rest and health in the long run. If you have or think you have sleep apnea, don’t wait to see a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

About the Author

Dr. Kent Smith is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Sleep and Breathing Academy. He also serves as president of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy. In 2012, he was the first in Texas to be awarded a Dental Sleep Medicine Facility Accreditation. To schedule an appointment with him, you can call (844) 409-4657 or click here.

The post 4 Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea in Frisco and How to Treat It appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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Sleep Dallas Blog by Brianna Bloom - 4M ago

Improved health and wellness is an important priority for millions of people — and rightly so, for without it, what do we have left? Yet, the true foundation on which we are able to preserve, maintain and/or restore our health is often overlooked. Quality sleep. It’s so simple but frequently relegated to the bottom of our priority list because after all, life. Amiright?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 1 in 3 Americans are not getting the recommended 7 or more hours of sleep per night, despite sleep deprivation being an associated risk factor for a host of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.

So, what really are we giving up when we don’t get enough quality sleep?

Sleep and the Brain

Sleep plays a pivotal role in brain health, and sleep deprivation – both short and long-term – can quickly take a mental toll. Too many restless and late nights may be secretly making their mark on your brain’s vital functions – memory, focus, mental well-being – and making you more susceptible to diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and depression. A few ways excessive nights of poor sleep can affect brain function include:

  • Concentration and productivity: Optimal concentration and productivity require a well-rested brain. Without proper sleep, your attention span is compromised, your reaction times slow, and your productivity dwindles. What’s worse with all these negative side effects is that you put yourself at greater risk for automobile and workplace accidents. 
  • Memory: According to a study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles, sleep deprivation causes neural cells to slow down their absorption of visual information and translate it into thought. In other words, it disrupts cells ability to communicate with each other, which causes delays in memory and visual perceptions. Sleep deprivation also harms memory recall since the process of memory storage for long-term recall occurs during sleep.
  • Depression: Most of us know that consistently poor sleep may be a sign of depression, but did you also know that a lack of sleep increases your chances of developing depression. Particularly among young adults, there is a strong correlation between insomnia and major depressive disorder.  
  • Brain waste disposal: While you sleep, your brain undergoes the massively important work of cleaning itself through the disposal of protein clumps. In a sleep deprived person, protein can accumulate in the brain, even reaching to toxic levels in the worst cases.
  • Hormone levels: Serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol are the key hormones involved in the thinking process and in the regulation of mood and energy levels. Since many of these hormones are released into the body during sleep, sleep deprivation can throw our hormones into disarray and dysregulation. 
  • Decision making: Sleep deprivation affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is the center for decision making, causing people to act on impulsively. 
Sleep and the Body
  • Heart health: Sleep and heart health go hand-in-hand. Since blood pressure levels drop during sleep to give your heart much needed reprieve from daily stressors, people who are sleep deprived maintain higher blood pressure levels for longer periods of time, taxing the heart and increasing their risk of heart disease and strokes.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Those who experience habitual sleep deprivation are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The research is compelling and should serve as a caution against not getting enough sleep. 
  • Weight gain: When you’ve only slept a few hours, chances are you’ll find yourself reaching for more fatty comfort foods to satisfy your hunger. That’s because sleep deprivation contributes to feelings of increased hunger to supplement for the lost energy we should be getting from sleep. Also, who has the motivation to exercise when they’re feeling exhausted?! 
  • Athletic performance: For athletes and aspiring athletes (or not!) alike, a solid night’s rest makes a drastic difference when it comes to getting your head in the game. The list of functions needed for athletic performance that are supported or hindered by the amount of sleep you get is long: Your focus is better, reaction times improve, injury rates lower, accuracy and sprint times are higher, and you incur fewer mental errors. 
  • Immune system function: Our immune system is heavily dependent on quality sleep to be able to properly protect us. Not only can sleep deprivation make us more prone to illness or infection, but it can also delay recovery time.
Sleep Quality vs. Sleep Quantity

Are you ready for an inconvenient truth? Here it is: Sleep quantity does not equal sleep quality. The sleep world terms this “sleep efficiency,” and according to the National Sleep Foundation, signs of good sleep efficiency can be identified by: sleeping 85% of time spent in bed, taking 30 minutes or less to fall asleep, waking up no more than once per night, and being awake for 20 minutes or less during the night after falling asleep. 

What's your sleep efficiency? - YouTube

How to Get the Best Sleep

For many of us, our bedtime routine and/or our sleep environment are major contributors to getting quality sleep. The strategies themselves are pretty simple, if we only pay attention and commit to them. Read more about: Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment & Bedtime Routine

When Sleep Quality is Hampered by Existing Sleep Conditions

For some, common sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, among others, may be contributing to chronic sleep deprivation. These disorders are entirely treatable but require a medical diagnosis and prescribed treatment to get on the right track. 

Insomnia, characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, has symptoms that include: low energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in mood, and decreased performance. Insomnia can be acute, resulting from a specific circumstance that is only temporary, or more serious. Chronic insomnia is more severe, and tends to occur at least 3 times a week and lasts at least 3 months.

Sleep apnea is marked by the cessation of breathing during the night. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include: loud and frequent snoring, gasping and choking, pauses in breathing, fatigue during the daytime, trouble concentrating, memory loss, insomnia and irritability. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form and occurs when the soft tissue of back of throat collapses and the airway becomes blocked during sleep. Central sleep apnea involves a failure of the brain to tell your body that it needs to breathe during the night and does not involve an airway blockage.

If you think you are suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, it is important that you seek medical attention to gain a diagnosis and explore your possible treatments.

The post Making Sleep a Priority appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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Maybe you’ve heard from your partner that your snoring is keeping them awake, or maybe your snoring is waking you up in the middle of the night. Either way, you suffer from a snoring problem that impacts every aspect of your life — from your low productivity during the day to your lack of restful sleep at night. Snoring can be caused by many factors and it’s important that you seek medical advice if you suffer from it on a regular basis. The good news is that once you identify what is causing your snoring, you can begin to treat the problem and find peaceful sleep again.

What is snoring & what causes it?

Simply put, snoring is the sound of air and throat tissues vibrating against each other as air is forced through an obstructed airway. The narrower the airway, the more vibrations and the more persistent the resulting snoring.

Snoring can be caused by a variety of factors, some more serious than others. As we age, the muscles in our throat lose strength and become less taut, which causes the tissues to relax, and can lead to snoring. Various anatomical abnormalities — such as nasal obstruction, deviated septums, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, and excess throat and nasal tissue — can also cause snoring.  Even certain medications, alcohol use, smoking and being overweight can play a part.

Signs of Snoring

If you frequently experience any of these symptoms, you may suffer from persistent snoring and should seek the guidance of a medical practitioner to determine its severity and appropriate treatment options.

    • Restless sleep
    • Morning headaches
    • Breathing pauses during sleep
    • Sore throat when you wake up
    • Gasping and choking in the night
    • Chest pain at night
    • Daytime sleepiness
    • Difficulty concentrating

When left untreated, snoring can progress in severity and become a sign of either upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), conditions that are characterized by a decrease or cessation in breathing during the night due to a blocked or partially blocked airway. 

Symptoms of UARS

Frequently a precursor to obstructive sleep apnea, UARS is the middle point on a spectrum between benign snoring and OSA. People suffering from UARS experience a decrease in oxygen flow (breathing) due to an obstructed airway, to the extent that it interrupts sleep. Many of the symptoms of UARS overlap with those common to snoring and sleep apnea, including: 

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent waking in the night
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep 
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OSA is on the severe end of the snoring spectrum and much like UARS, obstructive sleep apnea shares many of the common indicators of snoring. The condition is characterized by a severe blockage of the throat that causes a complete cessation in breathing, multiple times per hour during the night. Individuals with OSA are at increased risk of developing severe health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and diabetes, just to name a few. 

Treatment for Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

Sleep disorders are diagnosed through a sleep study, which is administered and analyzed by a sleep physician. Once a sleep-breathing disorder has been diagnosed, treatment options are dictated by the severity of the condition, among other factors, and typically include a CPAP machine, surgery, and/or oral appliance therapy.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from a sleep-breathing disorder, such as persistent snoring, UARS, or OSA, contact Sleep Dallas today to set up a consultation. 

The post When Snoring Becomes a Concern appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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We’ve all been there: Lying in bed, wide-awake, cursing the coffee we had a 10 am this morning. Or perhaps it was the workout we did after work. Or maybe it’s that deadline we’ve been stressing about. For anyone that has suffered from elusive or unrefreshing sleep, you know that the smallest thing can derail a good night’s rest. The good news, however, is that small things can also improve your potential to get quality sleep. And one of those things is diet.

Foods that Contain the Sleep-Inducing Amino Acid Tryptophan

Almost certainly, we’ve all experienced the after-Thanksgiving food-coma that takes even the most energetic of us out for the count. This phenomenon is attributed to an amino acid named tryptophan, which is found in fish, eggs, dairy, and many meats including turkey. An essential amino acid (meaning that the body can’t make it and that we must get it from the foods we consume), tryptophan is used in the production of serotonin and melatonin, chemicals essential for sleep and our sleep-wake cycles. Ensuring that your diet contains sufficient levels of tryptophan can help set the stage for a good night’s sleep. 

Try some of these foods which contain high levels of tryptophan.  

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Soybeans
  • Cheese
  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Elk
  • Honey

Calcium & Magnesium’s Role in Sleep 

We all know that magnesium and calcium are necessary for healthy bones, but they also play a key role in loads of other bodily functions such as sleep. 

Magnesium

One of seven essential macrominerals, the body requires large quantities of magnesium that, as with tryptophan, we must acquire through our diet. A healthy magnesium level not only regulates our metabolic health, mood and stress, it also promotes deep, restorative sleep. What’s more, a deficiency of the mineral has been linked to insomnia and frequent late-night awakenings. 

Calcium

Calcium aids in the brain’s use of tryptophan, which, as we established above, is essential for the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and the sleep/wake regulating chemical serotonin. Research has shown that calcium deficiency is linked to sleep disturbances, including poor or insufficient REM sleep. 

Foods that are high in calcium and magnesium include:

  • Almonds
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, mustard greens)
  • Tofu
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Broccoli
Other Sleep-Supporting Nutrients & Foods

In addition to tryptophan and calcium and magnesium-rich foods, there are numerous other foods that support healthy sleep.

  • Lettuce, for instance, contains lactucarium, a nutrient with sedative properties.
  • If you prefer grains over greens, pretzels, corn chips and rice all have a high glycemic index, which helps tryptophan enter the brain.
  • Other sleep-inducing foods contain B6, which plays a key role in helping you fall asleep. Foods that are high in B6 include tuna, halibut, salmon, and pistachio nuts.
  • If you prefer sipping a cup of tea before bed, chamomile and passion fruit tea are great alternatives. Chamomile tea is associated with increased amounts of glycine, which is known for its relaxing properties and as a mild sedative. Passion fruit tea contains harman alkaloids that act on the nervous system and help to promote tiredness.

If you continue to suffer from poor sleep despite diet changes and other efforts, you may be experiencing a more severe sleep problem that needs to be diagnosed by a qualified professional. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and others require effective treatment to restore quality sleep and prevent significant related health issues. Contact Sleep Dallas today to schedule a consultation. 

The post Foods that Help You Sleep Better appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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Fall is officially here, school is in session, and darkness is beginning to descend earlier and earlier each day. With most families sticking to a stricter schedule this time of year, it’s important to establish and adhere to a nightly bedtime routine to ensure everyone in the family — adults and children, alike — benefit from the mental and physical restoration that quality sleep provides. 

Sleep Routines and Children

Adequate sleep is inextricably linked to proper brain development, emotion regulation, and the ability to focus. When children don’t get sufficient sleep, they’re likely to experience learning challenges and behavior problems, leading to an array of difficulties in school and the classroom.

In a study conducted among adolescents between 1991 and 2012, researchers found that the amount of sleep children receive has declined over the past twenty years. Other polls and studies have also demonstrated that teens especially are receiving much less than the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, in large part due to their electronics habits and inability to log off at night. 

The key to improving problematic sleep behaviors in children can be as easy as setting a nightly routine. A 2015 multinational sleep study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that a regular bedtime routine is associated with better sleep in young children up to six years old. The children that adhered to a consistent night routine were found to have earlier bedtimes, an easier time falling asleep, fewer wakings in the night, and a longer sleep duration.

Sleep Routines and Adults

Chances are if you are a parent then you probably have a set bedtime routine for your child(ren) — but what about yourself? If you are relying on weekends to catch up on a lack of sleep (a phenomenon called social jetlag), you are doing your body more harm than good.

According to a 2017 study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, experts found that social jetlag leads to poorer health, worse mood, and an increase in sleepiness and fatigue. Perhaps more startlingly, the study found that each hour of social jetlag is associated with an 11% increased risk for heart disease. 

And yes, while there are often many factors contributing to late bedtimes and short nights, bedtime routines can benefit adults, too, by helping calm the mind and body in preparation for a better night’s sleep.

A key component to establishing a successful sleep routine is to be consistent with sleep and wake times that allow the circadian rhythm to operate at its best. A 24-hour cycle that serves as the body’s internal clock. the circadian rhythm regulates sleep-wake cycles, eating habits, and other important bodily functions such as brain activity. 

Establishing a Routine

Regardless of age, everyone can benefit from setting a nighttime routine. Follow these tips to get your sleep schedule on track:

Start with a comfortable environment. Make sure that your sleeping environment is absent of light that could cause potential disturbances. Not only should it be sufficiently dark, but the temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit and the environment should be quiet.

Avoid highly stimulating activities right before bed. Leave work projects, emails, social media and TV watching behind, and focus on a more relaxing activity such as reading or listening to music. Anything with a screen should be avoided, as the light in your device can cause sleeping difficulties by convincing your brain that it’s daytime.

Eliminate caffeine after midday. Too much caffeine can keep you up all night, so try to keep caffeine consumption to the morning.  

Don’t drink alcohol too close to bedtime. Although consuming alcohol can make it easier to fall asleep, it ensures that the second half of your sleep is not refreshing as it should be.

Exercise regularly. Physical activity can reduce stress and anxiety, and can help relieve the symptoms of sleep disorders. Exercising too close to sleep can hinder your ability to fall asleep, so try to give yourself enough time to relax between your workout and bedtime.

Avoid naps if you have trouble sleeping. Naps in the afternoon may make it more difficult to sleep at night. Eliminating them may help.

Be consistent with your sleep schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to help regulate your body’s internal clock. If you have trouble with this, keep track of your bedtime and the number of times you wake during the night.

Write down your thoughts. If you have trouble sleeping because your mind is too cluttered with things you need to accomplish, write down a to-do list for the next day or journal your feelings. This can help relieve your mind of unwanted thoughts.

If you have tried everything and you still find that you have problems sleeping, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. Our practice specializes in treating sleep apnea and snoring with the use of oral appliances. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

The post Establishing a Nightly Bedtime Routine appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.

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