Devastating effects of sleep deprivation
Because the body repairs and re-energizes itself through sleep, getting a good night’s sleep is vital to staying healthy and fit. Restful sleep is important for maintaining physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional stability.
Failure to get restful sleep over a prolonged period can result in the occurrence of serious medical conditions, which may detrimentally affect overal quality of life.
Several different conditions can contribute to sleep deprivation and many of those can cause devastating problems or even death if left untreated.
Depression and sleep apnea
Many people suffer from the potentially life-threatening sleep disorder known as
sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea interrupts the flow of air into the lungs when a person is asleep. This serious sleep condition can cause the sufferer to stop breathing for more than ten seconds at a time and may happen as often as ten times in an hour. These episodes occur when the muscles in the throat relax and the tongue blocks the airway thus reducing the amount of oxygen to the body’s main organs.
Medical experts believe that snoring is linked to sleep apnea and that both can cause serious health problems. Inadequate sleep plays a major role in depression, which can result from the inability to sleep over a period of time. Frequent mood changes occur and individuals have trouble controlling emotions. Lack of sleep can cause mood-related symptoms as well as physical ones.
A report by the Institute of Medicine discovered that approximately fifty to seventy million people suffer from chronic sleep disorders. Fortunately, sleep dentistry is an area that focuses on managing sleep-related disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and snoring with less obtrusive solutions than some medical ones.
Oral appliance therapy
Oral appliance therapy may be the appropriate treatment for some patients who resist using the standard medical treatments. The proper course of therapy for those suffering from sleep-related disorders must be determined through a joint consultation between a physician who makes the diagnosis and a dental sleep specialist.
Dental sleep specialists such as Dr. Ben Polan, a dentist in Beverly, use innovative oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-related disorders. Sleep apnea, snoring and other sleep related breathing disorders are treated successfully with oral appliances worn in the mouth while sleeping. These appliances resemble other orthodontic devices and are worn like a sports mouth protector. They allow proper breathing for a sleeping person by moving the jaw forward and opening up the back of the throat thus creating more adequate air intake.
Individuals who suffer from any sleep related disorders should consider the consequences of neglecting to seek treatment. Because there is a definite link between sleep deprivation and depression, an early definitive diagnosis and subsequent treatment from a dental sleep specialist can provide relief. When normal sleep patterns are restored, patients regain their physical and emotional well-being. Successful treatment enables a person to enjoy a good night’s sleep and an overall better quality of life free of symptoms that accompany sleep deprivation.