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’re not alone – millions of Canadians are affected by sleep apnea – a condition where your breathing stops periodically, 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 don’t remember, and 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.
Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioral — beyond that, your dentist can help with fitting oral devices that position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.