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Your Day Begins With Sleep

March 11 to 17, 2018, is Sleep Awareness Week, an annual event supported by the National Sleep Foundation. This week aims to promote the importance of good sleep best to achieve personal, family, and professional goals.

How much sleep do you need?

Sleep recommendations vary by age group. While it is generally recommended that newborns sleep 16-18 hours per day, adults are only recommended to sleep 7-8 hours per day. The quality of sleep you receive is also important. Frequent interruptions during sleep may lead to not getting enough hours of certain stages of sleep. If you often wake up feeling tired or have trouble focusing or staying awake during the day, you may not be receiving enough quality sleep.

How are your sleeping patterns affecting your health?

A lack of quality sleep can be detrimental to your overall health. It may affect your performance and mood, potentially making you irritable, depressed, or anxious. Not getting enough sleep has also been found to affect your physical health, causing an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

What are some lifestyle changes you can make to improve sleep habits?

  • Develop a sleep schedule and stick to it
  • Avoid caffeine later in the day
  • Avoid nicotine
  • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night
  • Limit naps and avoid afternoon naps
  • Avoid phone, computer, or TV use right before bed
  • Relax before bed (try reading or listening to soothing music)

Still, having trouble sleeping? You may be one of the 70 million Americans suffering from a sleep disorder.

Are breathing problems affecting your sleep patterns?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, often followed by pauses in breathing and choking/gasping sounds. These symptoms cause oxygen deprivation to your brain body and may cause you to wake up multiple times in a night, leading to poor sleep quality.

Excess body weight is a major risk factor for sleep apnea. There are a number of anatomic anomalies that may also cause sleep apnea. A few examples of anatomic causes include a narrow airway, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a narrow or improperly aligned jaw, deviated septum, and a wide or thick tongue.

What treatments are available for obstructive sleep apnea?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This treatment requires wearing a mask during sleep that is connected by a hose to the CPAP machine, which supplies a steady stream of air to keep your airway open while you sleep.

Oral Appliance Therapy

An oral appliance is a device that is worn like a mouth guard while sleeping. It prevents your airway from collapsing during sleep by either holding your tongue in position or sliding your jaw forward. This treatment is often recommended for patients who are unable to tolerate a CPAP machine.

Surgical Treatment

There are a number of surgical treatments that can address the various anatomical anomalies causing obstructive sleep apnea. Often, surgery is recommended for patients who are unable to use or tolerate the CPAP machine.

Nasal surgery can correct obstruction of the septum, the turbinates, and the nasal valve, allowing air to pass through without effort. Depending on individual needs, surgery of the upper throat (palate, tonsils, uvula) or lower throat (back of the tongue and upper part of the voice box) may be necessary. Maxillomandibular advancement surgery can provide enlargement and stabilization of the airway. This procedure moves the upper (maxilla) and/or lower jaw (mandible) forward, opening up the airway.

At the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction, surgical treatment plans for Obstructive Sleep Apnea are customized to fit individual patient needs. We offer a range of treatment options, from septoplasty to double maxillomandibular advancement surgery. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, take the first step towards a good night’s sleep by scheduling an appointment with one of our surgeons!

Sleep Awareness Week