adult man happily asleepWe all know the drill: eat fewer calories, avoid carbs, exercise more, drink less alcohol, don’t smoke, keep a regular schedule, and get a good night’s sleep. In an ideal world, we would all:

  • Land in our appropriate weight range
  • Have a low BMI (body mass index)
  • Sleep eight hours a night
  • Minimize alcohol intake
  • Avoid smoking 
  • Get cardio exercise five times a week
  • Avoid all processed food
  • Use sunscreen

But it’s the real world, folks, and we are human. We are flawed creatures who will eat too much at our favorite restaurant, order that after-dinner drink, skip the gym on Saturday morning, sneak a cigarette from the spouse, and lay on the beach too long. In that absolute dream world, we would all sleep a good 8 to 9 hours a night and wake up refreshed, energized, and excited to take on the day. We’d be sharp at work all day, be delightful to share space with and find joy in the everyday things we often overlook.

Sleep/Lifestyle Connection

Your Aberdeen, North Carolina, sleep apnea dentist can help you get that great night’s sleep with some sleep apnea treatment options, but making healthier lifestyle choices is on you. Before offering suggestions to reduce the severity of your Obstructive Sleep Apnea, let’s take a look at what it is and what its symptoms are. Studies show that sleep apnea can be prevented and/or reduced with healthier lifestyle decisions. Some of you may be ready to take on the challenge of changing your life to get the good quality sleep you need to thrive.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

While there are basically three types of sleep apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the one that prompts many people to seek the help of a sleep apnea dentist. With OSA, you must get an official diagnosis before sleep apnea treatment may begin. Previously, you could only undergo a sleep study in a clinic where you would be hooked up to machines, wires, and electrodes and monitored by lab techs while you slept. 

Now, thanks to amazing advances in sleep testing, you can have a sleep test done in your own home. Most of these at-home sleep tests are conducted over two nights, and your results are sent to your North Carolina sleep apnea dentist. It’s much easier than trying to sleep in a lab watched by technicians while hooked up to loud machines with wires.

What Happens with OSA?

Sleep apnea occurs when your airway is so relaxed at night that it collapses while you’re sleeping. This causes you to choke and gasp for air during sleep and wreaks havoc on your sleep cycle. Snoring is the sound you make when your airway is so relaxed that you’re trying to force air through to breathe. Many people won’t even know the severity of their snoring until their partner calls their attention to it. Most people who snore have sleep apnea, and virtually every person with sleep apnea snores (loudly, in many cases).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Millions of people in the United States have sleep apnea, but many of these people go undiagnosed because the symptoms are often seemingly unrelated. The symptoms of sleep apnea may affect all areas of your life, but these are the most common:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Impaired concentration
  • Sleep apnea choking/gasping for air
  • Snoring
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability
  • Decreased libido
  • Heartburn 
  • Leg swelling
  • Frequent nighttime urination (you’re awake more, which makes you realize you have to go to the bathroom)
  • Sweating while sleeping
  • Chest pain while sleeping

Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle to Reduce the Risk of Sleep Apnea

Here are some suggestions on how to prevent sleep apnea:

  • Lose weight if you’re overweight: Obesity is a major risk factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Avoid alcohol prior to going to bed
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening
  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise regularly (your body will be more tired and ready for sleep)
  • Try different sleeping positions, pillows, and mattresses (it may take some trial and error before finding what’s best for your sleep)
  • Find an Aberdeen sleep apnea dentist who can properly treat this complex condition

Live Healthy to Reduce Risk of Sleep Apnea in Aberdeen, North Carolina

If you’re ready to make healthier choices because you think poor sleep is affecting your everyday life and health, please contact Kuhn Dental Associates at (910) 692-4450

Sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mandy Grimshaw has years of experience treating sleep apnea. With so many advances in sleep apnea diagnostics and treatment, your options are much more appealing than in the past. You may also fill out our online contact form, and one of our sleep apnea team members will reach out to answer questions or schedule a new patient evaluation.