How Sleep Loss Affects your Life

Serving Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Today, people in America are living longer than they did decades ago. Life expectancy in the United States peaked at 78.9 years in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. We all want to have a long, high-quality life. That means eating right, exercising, and avoiding bad habits. One key component of optimum health, however, is making sure you get the proper amount of good, restful sleep. TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville wants to explore the possible consequences of living with sleep loss—and how you can get sleep apnea relief in Belle Meade and Green Hills.

What causes sleep loss?

how sleep loss affects your life

The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that 50 to 70 million people in the United States are living with some form of sleep loss. For some, sleep loss occurs from a hectic schedule or working overnight shifts. Another common culprit of sleep loss is sleep-breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Patients with sleep apnea experience a blockage in their airway. This obstruction may be partial or complete, either diminishing airflow or totally interrupting breathing. The brain sends signals to the body to resume normal airflow. Doing so disrupts the sleep cycle, depriving a sleep apnea patient of the physical and mental restoration that takes place during the deepest stage of sleep.

These airway blockages are known as an apneic event. For someone with a severe, untreated case sleep apnea, these events could take place as often as a hundred times per hour. Just imagine what that does to interrupt your sleep on a nightly basis.

How does lack of sleep affect you?

Everyone experiences a night with little to no sleep on occasion. However, if you regularly suffer from poor-quality sleep, this has a negative impact on your mind and body. Living with sleep loss affects both your mind and body. It can change your mood and make you more irritable, harming your relationships with your friends and family.

Here are some other short-term ramifications of living with sleep loss:

  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • Lapses in judgment
  • Unable to fully enjoy activities
  • Lower sex drive
  • Obesity

Over time, the issues associated with sleep loss magnify, creating new problems. These include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cognitive decline
  • Impotence
  • Depression
  • An overall downturn in your physical health

Living with untreated sleep apnea elevates your susceptibility to a host of chronic, potentially fatal ailments, such as:

  • Cardiac disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Cognitive decline
  • Alzheimer’s

Sleep apnea also has been linked with certain forms of cancer—and a higher mortality rate with cancer in general. Researchers in Wisconsin found that cancer patients with a severe sleep breathing disorder had a mortality rate that was five times higher than those without the disorder.

How We Can Help

At TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville, we practice airway dentistry. This is a specialized area of dentistry that studies the relationship between the mouth and airway and how you breathe. An airway dentist in Nashville, such as Dr. Brian Devine, provides airway assessments to determine the severity of your condition. Next, Dr. Devine treats sleep apnea without prescribing a CPAP device. We prefer to provide treatment through a course of oral appliance therapy. Click here to learn more about our sleep apnea treatment philosophy.

The Signs of Sleep Apnea

Loud, frequent snoring is considered the primary warning sign of sleep apnea. If you or a member of your family snores loudly and also complains about always feeling tired, then sleep apnea could be present. Remember, sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment from a professional. Ignoring it only puts your health at risk.

Treating Sleep Apnea in Nashville

Each person deserves the ability to get the sleep they need. Without it, you will never be at your best, either physically or mentally. Meanwhile, chronic sleep loss has severe consequences for your overall health and wellness. If you think you have sleep apnea or another medical professional has diagnosed you with a sleep-breathing disorder, Dr. Devine can help. Sleep apnea treatment in Nashville means you will get the quality sleep you have been missing. Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about sleep apnea. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Devine, contact the office of TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville by calling (615) 329-1854.

TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville provide sleep apnea treatment for our patients in the areas of Nashville, Belle Meade, and Green Hills, TN.

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