Weston Sleep Specialist Explains the Risks of Snoring and Sleep Deprivation

Stephen J. Pyle DDS, a Weston dentist and expert on sleep apnea wants the community to understand that persistent heavy snoring is not just an annoyance but could be a sign of a serious medical condition. If you or your partner routinely snore loudly or wake up gasping for air you may be suffering from sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses blocking your airway. Obviously when the airway is blocked oxygen is not getting to your brain, heart or other organs and muscles that thrive on oxygen. This oxygen deprivation can lead to stroke, heart attack, diabetes and an array of other serious medical conditions.

Just as dangerous as the actual oxygen deprivation is the fatigue and drowsiness that the condition can leave you with. If you are spending your night constantly interrupting your sleep due to sleep apnea you are opening yourself up other, everyday hazards that go with drowsiness.

5 Dangerous Effects of Sleep Deprivation

  1. You wouldn’t drive drunk. You know the hazards of operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. But did you know that driving drowsy has essentially the same effect on your reaction time as driving buzzed? According to a National Geographic documentary driving fatigued is the top cause of high-severity crashes.
  2. Studies show that women are more likely to suffer serious effects from sleep deprivation than men. Fatigue is linked to greater psychological distress and that distress appears to be more severe in females placing them at a higher risk for sleep related disease.
  3. Sleep deprivation puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to developing mental disorders such as depression. Sleep deprivation doesn’t cause depression but makes the person more susceptible to developing it than a person with a healthy, regular sleep pattern.
  4. A full night’s sleep "flushes" your brain. That sounds pretty strange but in 2013 the NIH found that a good night’s sleep does in fact flush toxins that develop during waking hours that result in a "dirty brain" if not adequately flushed at night.
  5. Finally the National Transportation Safety Board says that losing sleep degrades or impairs decision-making, reaction time, situational awareness, memory, communication to the tune of 20% to 50%.

The good news is if your poor sleep habits are caused by sleep apnea the condition can be easily treated and you can end the everyday fatigue. While Dr. Pyle cannot offer a diagnosis, as a dentist he is often the first medical professional to see the conditions that lead to sleep apnea and refers many patients to sleep disorder MDs. He works closely with those doctors to treat patients with a simple dental appliance that resembles a sports guard worn at night.

If you believe you suffer from sleep apnea, call our Weston dental office today for an exam to scan for the condition!