Sleep Apnea

Are you drowsy during the day with no explanation? Do you snore loudly or wake up breathless in the middle of the night? If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be one of more than 12 million Americans who are affected by sleep apnea.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 20-30 times per hour. Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Since the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don’t remember it, and many feel like they are getting a good night’s sleep when, in fact, they are not. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from achieving deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day.

What are the signs of sleep apnea?

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice.

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Waking up at night short of breath
  • Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
  • Headaches upon waking in the morning
  • Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  • Extreme drowsiness throughout the day

How is sleep apnea treated?

Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is typically the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This is basically an air pump and hose attached to a mask that covers the nose and mouth and is worn during sleep time. For patients who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, a dental appliance that can be provided by Alizadeh & Schreiner Orthodontics may be an alternative. Patients need to have had a sleep study and received a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea prior to our doctors providing a sleep appliance.