For years, studies have proven that when you get more sleep, it boosts your mood, sharpens your brain, gives you a healthier heart and more energy to fight fatigue and illness. So why do we find ourselves walking around like zombies each morning? Have you noticed the demand for caffeinated energy drinks is rapidly rising? Is all this a sign of the ‘Coronavirus times’?
Sure, right now all of us are living in uncharted territory! The stress of social distancing, parents juggling work from home, and kids attending school online, all add to our daily concerns. Now, more than ever, it’s vital we pay attention to everyone’s sleep and anxiety levels!
Benefits of a good night's sleep
- Reduces stress – deep, regular sleep helps to prevent elevated levels of stress hormones caused by our fast-paced lives.
- Improves memory function and may make you smarter – getting quality sleep makes your brain more effective and productive, helping you feel sharper, more attentive and focused during the day.
- Fights off infections – during sleep, your body produces extra protein molecules to strengthen your ability to fight nasty germs that cause the cold, flu and other illnesses!
- Improves your mood – the better sleep you get, the better your ability to stay calm, cool and collected with your boss, co-workers and kids.
- Helps keep your heart healthy – regular, restful sleep encourages your body to relax, lowering stress levels, lowering your blood pressure, and decreasing inflammation in the cardiovascular system. All this reduces your risk of a heart attack and stroke.
- Maintains better weight control – sleep helps regulate the hormones that reduce your cravings for all those high calorie foods. It also helps control the way your body processes glucose, hopefully avoiding the long-term affects of type 2 diabetes.
How much sleep do we really need?
To feel rested it’s important to not only get the recommended number of hours each night, but also keep a regular sleep schedule. The younger you are, the more sleep you need!
- Adults need 7 to 8 hours
- Teens need 8 to 10 hours
- School-aged children need 9 to 12 hours
- Preschoolers need between 10 and 13 hours (including naps)
- Toddlers need between 11 and 14 hours (including naps)
- Babies need between 12 and 16 hours (including naps)
My kids and I are getting sleep, but still feel exhausted! Why?
People with obstructive sleep apnea often experience severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue, depression or irritability. They may have difficulty concentrating and may fall asleep at work or school, while watching TV, or driving.
Over 20% of the healthy adult population in the United States suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Approximately 30% of children with Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) have OSA.
Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a general term for breathing difficulties during sleep ranging from frequent loud breathing, or snoring, to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disorder involving repeated episodes of partial to complete blockage of the upper airway during sleep. Every time breathing stops the body perceives a choking phenomenon. Blood oxygen levels fall, the heart rate and blood pressure rise and hormones are released to partially awaken the brain from sleep to signal the body it needs to breathe. Silence from not breathing is often followed by loud gasping, choking or snorting sounds. Once a breath is taken, the brain returns to sleep and the process begins once again. Apnea events can occur from a few times to hundreds of times a night!
In addition to daytime fatigue, many Adult Sleep Apnea patients also complain of:
- memory problems
- morning headaches
- mood swings
- decreased libido
- nighttime sweating
- need to urinate frequently at night
Additional symptoms linked to Pediatric Sleep Apnea may surprise you!
Bedroom Observations (nighttime):
- Frequent Bed wetting – even at 9 years and older
- Habitual mouth breathing
- Long pauses in breathing
- Agitated sleep or unusual sleeping patterns
- Difficulty to wake in the morning
Behavioral Problems (daytime):
- Decreased performance / learning problems in school
- Attention and concentration problems
- Hyperactivity – sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as ADD/ADHD
- Irritability and/or aggressiveness
- Shyness and social withdrawal
- Daytime sleepiness
Screening is Key!
Orthodontists who treat OSA are uniquely qualified to identify certain signs of this disorder. Dr. Greenberg has extensive airway training and growth and development knowledge of the face and airway of patients at every age and stage of life. He explains, “through the screening process, we are looking for the recognition of a potential issue. If an adult or child is not getting enough oxygen during sleep, it can affect them long-term and can lead to years of potential developmental issues. We are not treating, but screening for those potential issues.”
Get answers! Learn about your OSA risks and treatment options.
Wouldn’t you like to know if you, your spouse, or your child are one of the estimated 22 million Americans who suffer from OSA/SDB? Contact us to schedule a complimentary sleep screening with Dr. Greenberg to evaluate your obstructive sleep apnea signs/symptoms and discuss practical, non-invasive solutions to improve your sleep/breathing health. In just a few seconds, our in-office 3D Orthodontics imaging gives a safe diagnosis, in a seated, comfortable, open-air environment. Dr. Greenberg also works in conjunction with other SDB physicians to formulate and conduct personalized OSA treatment plans depending on the type and severity of the condition.