· 16 percent of study responders across our state experience persistent problems staying awake during the day, but only 10 percent reported having been diagnosed by a physician with a sleep disorder.
In addition to problems staying awake, the study also found that:
- 33 percent report that they snore,
- 25 percent complain that they have problems falling asleep,
- 31 percent cannot sleep through the night, and
- 35 percent of Georgians wake up in the morning feeling unrefreshed.
Sleep really is important!
Not only can sleep disorders make you feel tired and irritable, they can place you at higher risk of a driving accident, and affect your work performance. Lack of sleep and sleep disorders have also been linked with many serious chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
In addition to persistent daytime sleepiness, other signs of sleep disorders include:
- Snoring that is accompanied by pauses in breathing,
- Loud or disruptive snoring,
- Difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep,
- Awakening from sleep and feeling un-refreshed or with a headache,
- Tingling sensations in the legs or arms during evening hours,
- Physically acting out dreams during sleep.
The first step to treating a sleep disorder is a diagnosis by a medical professional.
Be prepared to share details about your sleep patterns and provide your doctor with as much supporting information as possible. You may need to ask your bed partner to find out if you snore or kick during the night. Be sure to let your doctor know if you wake up with a dry mouth, snore, experience morning headaches, can't sleep or frequently wake up in the middle of the night, or experience a tingling in your legs during the evening.
Your doctor will likely order a sleep study to determine if you are experiencing “obstructive sleep apnea” patterns during sleep. If this is the diagnosis, the most common treatment is CPAP, Continuous Positive Air Pressure. The CPAP machine gives pressurized air to the patient through a nasal mask worn at night.
Not all OSA sufferers tolerate the CPAP machine, and oral appliances are a viable alternative. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine identifies oral appliances as the first line of defense in treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
An oral appliance recommended by Dr. Durden, such as the SomnoDent MAS®, moves the lower jaw slightly forward. Because the tongue is connected to the lower jaw, this moves the tongue forward and tightens the soft tissues and muscles of the upper airway so that it does not obstruct the airway. The patient is able to adjust the appliance to move the jaw as far forward as he/she needs.
It takes about a month for the appliance to feel natural, after which it becomes habit. Sometimes an appliance can be is used in conjunction with CPAP because it can open and stabilize the airway so that the patient does not feel as much air pressure from the CPAP machine.
To determine if you are at risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, take this simple test to determine if you should be evaluated. A score of 9 or above is an indication that you should see your doctor.
If you believe that you or a loved may suffer from a sleep disorder, please contact our office or your physician for guidance on diagnosis and treatment.
Visit the CDC web site to read more:
CDC Sleep Information