Sleep Awareness Month is designed to bring awareness and education focused around the benefits of healthy sleep and its importance to overall health and well-being. This year, World Sleep Day 2021, “Regular Sleep, Healthy Future”, highlights sound sleep as a key component of everyday health. Simply stated, a person’s quality of life can actually be improved by regular, quality sleep! Conversely, when sleep fails, health declines, decreasing quality of life. Studies have demonstrated that stable bedtimes and rise times are associated with better sleep quality in young, middle-aged adults, and seniors. Regular sleepers have better mood, cognitive and executive function, and academic achievement.
A 2020 poll, by the National Sleep Foundation, found Americans feel sleepy on an average of three days a week, with many saying it impacted their mood, daily activities, productivity and more. Other health effects were headaches and feeling generally unwell.
How do we achieve regular sleep?
Humans are “hard-wired” for sleeping during the night and being active during the day. Sleep regulation has two basic components:
- Circadian rhythms
- Build-up of homeostatic sleep drive
These two components determine when we go to sleep, when we wake up, and how well we function and feel when we are awake.
A disrupted sleep/wake circadian rhythm can cause serious sleeping problems! Without the proper signaling from one’s internal clock, a person can struggle to fall asleep, wake up during the night, or be unable to sleep as long as they want into the morning. Their total sleep is reduced, which in-turn causes shallower, fragmented, and lower-quality sleep.
The best sleep is when we synchronize our sleep/wake times to our internal clock and our sleep propensity finds the perfect balance!
The World Sleep Society recommends the following 10 steps to achieve regular sleep:
- Fix a bedtime and an awakening time.
- If you are in the habit of taking a nap, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime and do not smoke.
- Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
- Use comfortable bedding.
- Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
- Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room.
Sleepiness isn’t normal. If you experience routine sleepiness you should address it! — Dr. Patrick Strollo, Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh
How Does Sleep Impact our Health?
Quality sleep is crucial to ensure good health and quality of life. Statistics reveal that 35% of people do not feel they get enough sleep! Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep is known to have a significant negative impact on our health in the long and short term. Next day effects of poor quality sleep include a negative impact on our attention span, memory recall and learning. Longer term effects are being studied, but poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation has been associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, weakened immune systems and even some cancers. Lack of sleep is also related to many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and psychosis. Most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, so why do sufferers rarely seek professional help? Dr. Greg Greenberg at RxSmile Orthodontics says it’s time to change that statistic! He is an airway-friendly orthodontist and his airway-specific training makes him uniquely qualified to screen, recognize symptoms, and assist in diagnosis of a variety of sleep breathing problems.
Sleep Breathing Problems
Breathing regularly during sleep is critical to maintain well-being and health. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). OSA is a disorder of repeated episodes of interrupted breathing caused by partial to complete blockage of the upper airway during sleep. The collapse of the airway may be due to factors such as a large tongue, extra tissue or decreased muscle tone holding the airway open. Each breathing pause can last from 10 seconds to more than a minute and is accompanied by a drop in oxygen associated with each event. The events may occur 5 to 50 times or more each hour. This puts a strain on the heart and can lead to a number of serious health conditions (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, NIH, 2009). Individuals are rarely aware of difficult breathing even after waking. Children suffering from OSA do not know what it is like to experience deep sleep and will not be able to tell you they didn’t sleep well.
Did you know that 80 percent of Type II and Type III obstructive sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed? Don’t let that be you! Untreated sleep apnea may lead to heart diseases, stroke, and vascular dementia. Studies show that effective treatment of OSA in children can partially to completely reverse the symptoms and long-term consequences, and eliminate adult sleep apnea, provided treatment is administered in a timely fashion.
Does your child breathe loudly or snore during sleep and exhibit some of the following symptoms:
DAYTIME SYMPTOMS (Behavioral Problems)
• 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
NIGHTTIME SYMPTOMS (Bedroom Observations)
• Habitual loud mouth breathing or snoring
• Frequent Bed wetting – even at 9 years and older
• Long pauses in breathing
• Agitated sleep or unusual sleeping patterns
• Difficulty to wake in the morning
It is critical they be screened for Sleep-Disordered Breathing because children will not outgrow OSA and are predisposed to be apneic as an adult! Do you, or an adult you know, use a CPAP or suffer from sleep apnea? We can help adults too with our oral sleep devices!
World Sleep Day Event
Complimentary Sleep Breathing Screening
The first step to a better night’s sleep is to book an appointment for a thorough sleep screening to determine the type and severity level of your OSA or sleep breathing problems. To help create awareness and celebrate the importance of healthy sleep at any age, Dr. Greg Greenberg, D.D.S. is offering a complimentary i-CAT 3D airway scan and analysis for Sleep-Disordered Breathing at NO CHARGE!
Request an appointment >
A complimentary sleep screening includes:
- i-CAT 3D airway scan – this state-of-the-art imaging system captures a high-definition 3D full model of your mouth and airway passages. This higher level of detail allows measurement of sinus and airway passages in order to automatically compute the total airway volume, and view segmented areas of constriction to aid in the treatment planning of obstructive sleep apnea and other airway disorders. In a few seconds, our 3D Orthodontics imaging gives a safe diagnosis, with less radiation, while patients are seated in a comfortable, open-air environment.
- Clinical examination – Dr. Greenberg will perform a thorough oral exam, review photos and 3D imaging
- Sleep Questionnaire – answer a few questions about sleep breathing, snoring, sleepiness and potential behavioral problems to assess if a sleep evaluation might be necessary.
- Recommendations for “what to do next” – Dr. Greenberg works in conjunction with certified sleep physicians to formulate and conduct OSA treatment options.
Dr. Greenberg, as an airway-friendly orthodontist, believes it is important to look past the teeth to give a complete picture of the long-term health and development of each patient. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Greg Greenberg at RxSmile Orthodontics to evaluate your obstructive sleep apnea signs/symptoms and discuss practical, non-invasive solutions to improve your sleep/breathing health. Please call 972-335-1300 (Monday through Thursday) or submit an online appointment request and we will respond within one business day.
Statistical references and talking points from WorldSleepDay.org
Dr. Greg Greenberg is a registered delegate for World Sleep Day. World Sleep Day® is a registered trademark of World Sleep Society.