Did you know that driving while sleepy is as dangerous as driving while drunk? Daytime sleepiness is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. It’s true. According to a 2016 AAA study, one in 10 U.S. highway crashes is the result of drowsy driving. But it isn’t just behind the wheel that sleepiness can make you dangerous. Work-related injuries increase. Your judgment decreases. You may become forgetful. (Did I turn off the iron? The stove?)
And while we all know that Americans, in general, suffer from a lack of sleep, people who suffer from sleep apnea are especially at risk for deep and chronic fatigue and dangerous sleepiness.
So, isn’t sleep apnea just a step above snoring? Not exactly. The true indicator of sleep apnea is when snoring stops – and your breathing stops along with it! Sleep apnea can cause a person to stop breathing hundreds of times a night and often for a minute or longer. Usually, your body decides it needs to wake you up to get some air, and so you startle awake with a gasp. That means you are waking up over and over, all night long, night after night. No wonder you are so exhausted.
Not only that, all those times your breathing stops are times you aren’t taking in any oxygen. If it only happened once in a while, like holding your breath while diving, that would be ok. But remember, this is holding your breath, sometimes up to several minutes at a time, and in severe cases, hundreds of times a night.
This oxygen depletion, or hypoxemia, along with the lack of high-quality sleep can lead to all kinds of symptoms and health problems such as:
And more! Dr. Alisa Reed and her Woodlands dental team can help. Dr. Reed is licensed and trained to treat and diagnose sleep apnea and works with a team of sleep physicians to find the right care for your particular case.
If you snore or suffer from chronic daytime sleepiness, please don’t risk your health – or the wellbeing of your fellow humans – give us a call at Alisa M. Reed DDS in the Woodlands and ask about our take-home sleep study devices. Start getting the rest you need today!