Sleep loss is a common problem among children, adults, and teens. Poor sleep can impact your health, happiness, school, work, and other areas of your life. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that interferes with your breathing, making it difficult to sleep soundly. If OSA is the cause of your sleeplessness, we can help! Your Bloomington sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Mike Milligan, from Eastland Dental Center, offers practical solutions for OSA symptoms.
If you have OSA, your airway may be obstructed by soft tissues in your mouth when you sleep. This can interfere with your breathing, prompting you to wake up frequently during the night gasping for air. Some common symptoms of this condition are:
OSA treatments range from the use of sleep apnea machines and devices to lifestyle changes to surgery. These treatments are designed to manage your symptoms so you can get the quality sleep you need.
CPAP therapy has been proven highly effective in treating OSA to promote better sleep. CPAP machines come with special masks that cover either your nose or your mouth and nose while you sleep. The mask is attached to a hose that’s connected to the machine. The machine pumps pressurized air through the hose into your airway as you sleep. This air keeps soft tissues from obstructing your airway so you can breathe freely and sleep deeply. With fewer disruptions in your breathing pattern, you can get a better night’s sleep.
If you find CPAP machines too intimidating, there are less intrusive oral devices you can wear at night to manage sleep apnea symptoms. Dr. Milligan can customize an oral appliance for your personal use. Some appliances guide your jaw forward to help keep your airway open as you sleep. Others control your tongue so that it doesn’t obstruct your breathing.
Your lifestyle can also contribute to obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. Obesity, alcohol, and certain medications can aggravate your condition. By losing weight and limiting alcohol consumption at night, you can help reduce OSA symptoms. Using a nasal decongestant or breathing strips at night may also improve breathing. If you sleep on your back and are having trouble breathing, you can try sleeping on your side to see if that makes a difference.
If all else fails, your doctor may recommend surgery to control lapses in your breathing when you sleep.