By Mark Levy | February 12, 2013
A myth is a story that is repeated often but isn’t actually true. Here are 6 myths about the importance of sleep and the truth behind the myth.
Most people don’t realize just how important sleep is for their brain function and overall health – in fact science is just starting to unlock what really happens while we are sleeping!
- Sleep isn’t that important because all that happens is your brain rests. Not true. Our brains are more active during sleep than they are during the day. During sleep our short-term memories get registered and “filed” in the cabinet that is our brain. This is a physical change in the brain that only happens as a by-product of sleep. Skip this important step and the things you learned today won’t be available for you to retrieve in the future.
- My body is used to sleeping less so I don’t need 7 or 8 hours. This myth is really common and you also hear about people who have gone “years” only sleeping 5 hours a night and they achieve great things. Most of us need 7 to 8 hours per night and you cannot condition yourself to operate on less sleep. When you are sleep deprived your mental performance is affected and even worse, we lose the ability to accurately judge how impaired our thinking actually is. A study done in 2003 showed that reducing sleep to 6 hours per night hurt mental performance as much as staying awake for 2 nights straight. Those folks who get by on less and still thrive – mutants!
- Weekends are for catching up on sleep. Sleeping late on Saturday and Sunday won’t make up for skipping sleep during the week. The productivity lost due to lack of sleep during the week won’t come back by getting up at noon on Sunday either. The best sleep habits mean keeping to the same schedule, this means going to bed and waking at approximately the same time every day (including weekends). Researchers have proven that a steady sleep schedule keeps our brains in top condition.
- Caffeine can make up for skipped sleep. Coffee might make you feel more awake but your thinking will still be slower than normal. Your body and brain goes through essential repair and rebuilding while you sleep – a caffeine jolt can’t mimic the physical restoration of a good night’s sleep. Drinking too much coffee when you are tired impairs your thinking even more by adding the jitters to the mix and making you feel even sleepier when it wears off.
- I’ll gain weight if I sleep 8 hours a night. This is a big, fat myth! Studies are now showing that a good night’s sleep is important for weight loss – plus you can’t snack while you are snoozed. Most diet doctors are now prescribing a full night of sleep every night along with a healthy diet to lose excess pounds.
- A good night’s sleep is impossible for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Not true – sleep apnea sufferers, and their bed partners, suffer from lack of sleep before they are diagnosed. Some patients find relief using a CPAP device but about half of patients have trouble sleeping in the mask. An oral appliance is a comfortable, easy way to treat your obstructive sleep apnea and breath easily all night long allowing you (and your significant other) a good night’s sleep.
If you snore loudly, have gained weight and suffer from daytime sleepiness you may have sleep apnea. Please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.
By Mark Levy | February 1, 2013
Yes, snoring is actually a very serious health problem. We usually make fun of those who snore but new evidence shows that snoring damages the carotid arteries – making this no laughing matter.
Researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that snorers had a higher risk for thickened or abnormal carotid arteries than people who were over weight or who smoked! “Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored. Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” said lead researcher Dr. Robert Deeb.
The scientists think that the changes to the carotid arteries are caused by the vibrations that occur during snoring, which cause trauma and inflammation of the arteries. They think that cardiovascular disease, usually linked to obstructive sleep apnea, actually starts with snoring although few studies have demonstrated the link.
Dr. Deeb made the point that “Snoring is generally regarded as a cosmetic issue by health insurance, requiring significant out-of-pocket expenses by patients. We’re hoping to change that thinking so patients can get the early treatment they need before more serious health issues arise.” It is true that insurance companies do not usually cover the cost of oral appliances for snoring but medical insurance does normally pay for oral appliances that are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
If you snore regularly you should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is diagnosed it can be treated using an oral appliance in most cases. Snoring can also be solved using an oral appliance that is worn while sleeping, thus preventing future damage. Please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your screening appointment and to learn more about oral appliance therapy.
By Mark Levy | January 18, 2013
The CDC found that men who were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea were twice as likely to suffer from depression as men who did not have a sleep disorder. It was worse for women with sleep apnea – they were five times more likely to experience major depression compared to those who didn’t have the condition.
Both men and women who had not been diagnosed with sleep apnea but reported some symptoms of the disorder were also more likely to suffer from major depression. The study authors looked for a link between depression and simple snoring but didn’t find one.
The vast majority of adults who suffer from sleep apnea are undiagnosed. Huge numbers of people with depression are also undiagnosed. This survey showed that 80% of people surveyed reported snoring or stopping breathing during sleep (big red flags for sleep apnea) had not been diagnosed with the sleep breathing disorder. Depression has been linked to sleep apnea in previous studies as well. Treating both disorders can save lives.
Many people avoid diagnosis of their sleep problems because they don’t want to use a CPAP machine. This is understandable, about half of patients given a CPAP find they cannot tolerate it. Using an oral appliance created by a trained sleep apnea dentist can keep the patient’s airway open throughout the night and most patients find that the oral appliance is easy and comfortable to use.
Find out more about oral appliances for sleep apnea by contacting your Columbus, OH sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Mark Levy, at 614-476-6696 today.
By Mark Levy | January 12, 2013
Are you pregnant and have you been told that you snore? A new study suggests that treating this mild sleep disordered breathing can help improve the health of the unborn baby.
The January issue of the journal Sleep contains the results of this study which used a CPAP to treat the mild sleep disordered breathing experienced by the mothers. The health of the fetus was monitored using fetal activity levels, a common marker for how healthy the baby is. The results showed that the average number of fetal movements greatly increased (almost doubled) when the mom slept with a CPAP versus the night that CPAP wasn’t used.
“What would otherwise have been considered clinically unimportant or minor “snoring” likely has major effects on the blood supply to the fetus, and that fetus in turn protects itself by reducing movements,” suggested Dr. Collin Sullivan, principal investigator. “This can be treated with readily available positive airway pressure therapy and suggests that measurement of fetal activity during a mother’s sleep may be an important and practical method of assessing fetal well-being.”
CPAP is a wonderful treatment for sleep disordered breathing like obstructive sleep apnea and snoring but about half of patients cannot tolerate sleeping with the masks and hoses that come with the machine. A wonderful alternative for these patients is an oral appliance created by a specially trained sleep apnea dentist. Oral appliance therapy is proven effective and patients find using the oral appliance easy and comfortable.
Find out more about snoring and sleep disordered breathing and it’s effects on your health by contacting Columbus, OH sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | January 11, 2013
The FDA has reduced dosage recommendations for sleeping pills containing zolpidem as the active ingredient. Ambien and other brands of sleeping aids use this ingredient. Because the ingredient remains in the blood the morning after taking a dose, the blood levels in the morning may still be too high for people to safely drive or operate machinery.
The FDA feels that by lowering the dosage recommendations, the morning blood levels of zolipdem will be reduced. Women are especially affected by this drug in that it takes women longer to flush it from their systems. The FDA recommended even lower doses for women. Patients who take the extended-release form of the drug have the highest blood levels of zolpidem.
The recommended dose for women will be lowered from 10 mg to 5 mg for instant release drugs and from 12.5 mg to 6.25 mg for extended release formulas. Dr. Ellis Unger of the FDA said “To decrease the potential risk of impairment with all insomnia drugs, health care professionals should prescribe, and patients should take, the lowest dose capable of treating the patient’s insomnia. Patients who must drive in the morning or perform some other activity requiring full alertness should talk to their health care professional about whether their sleep medicine is appropriate.”
If you are experiencing severe daytime sleepiness you may have a sleep breathing disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. Find out more about diagnosis and treatment options by contacting Columbus, OH sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy at 614-476-6696 today.
By Mark Levy | January 4, 2013
According to the CDC lots of people are asleep at the wheel – literally. One in 24 US adults admitted that they recently fell asleep while driving.
Health officials think that the number is actually higher because some people don’t realize that they nod off for a second or two – especially at stoplights or stopsigns. The data was gathered using a telephone survey of almost 150,000 people in 19 states during 2009 and 2010.
Researchers discovered that men were more likely to drive drowsy. People who were aged 25 to 34 were more likely to admit to falling asleep and, no surprise, those who averaged less than 6 hours of sleep per night. For some unknown reason people from Texas were also more likely to fall asleep – researchers speculate that maybe the Texas sample included more people who were overweight and sleep apnea prone, or more people between the ages of 25 to 34.
Sleep related crashes on our roads are reported every day. They make the news when they involve a tour bus (like last year’s New York crash) or another form of mass transit.
While some people are simply staying up to watch late night TV or work night shifts that affect their sleep, many people who suffer from daytime sleepiness have an undiagnosed sleep breathing disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing during sleep which lead to oxygen levels in the body dropping. Once these levels drop, the sleeper briefly wakens to begin breathing again but their sleep is fragmented, disrupted and does not allow them to awake feeling rested. Signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring, gasping during sleep, pauses in breathing during sleep and extreme daytime sleepiness.
Please contact Columbus, OH sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your sleep apnea consultation.
By Mark Levy | December 22, 2012
Do you know the signs that you, or a loved one, might have sleep apnea?
The number one sign is snoring. Now, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea but almost everyone with sleep apnea snores. This snoring is loud, persistent and no amount of poking and prodding from your bed partner will make it stop. If your spouse has moved into a bedroom on the other side of the house just to get some sleep then you might want to get screened for sleep apnea.
Another sign of sleep apnea is pauses in breathing during sleep. If you visit the YouTube site and search for “sleep apnea” you can see videos of sleep apnea patients who stop breathing. After the oxygen levels in the body drop because no air is coming in, the body signals the sleeper to briefly waken, gasp for air, and go back to sleep. These stopppages of breath and gasping may have been witnessed by your bed partner.
All American’s are tired but sleep apnea patients are really tired. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a sign of sleep apnea. This excessive daytime sleepines causes a greatly increased risk of accidents and a large number of car crashes each year are caused by drowsy driving. If you find yourself falling asleep during the day while sitting in a meeting or at a stoplight you need to be screened for a sleep disorder.
Please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.
By Mark Levy | December 18, 2012
Are you planning to travel during the holiday season? For patients with obstructive sleep apnea holiday travel, especially on airplanes, can be complicated.
While airport screeners are familiar with CPAP machines the bins used at the screening area are not particularly clean. I suggest placing your items in plastic bags before placing them in the screening bins to avoid contamination. Some patients choose to pack their CPAP in their luggage to avoid the “hassle” at the inspection line but luggage can be lost and not treating your apnea is a dangerous idea.
People with obstructive sleep apnea that travel frequently often choose an oral appliance instead of a CPAP. Most people who have tried CPAP and oral appliances prefer the comfort and ease of use that an oral appliance provides. There are no hoses to clean, no masks, no worries about distilled water… Your oral appliance is easily cleaned with a toothbrush or some denture cleanser. The oral appliance fits easily into your pocketbook or carry-on and does not require special treatment from agents at the airport. A big bonus – you can comfortably sleep on those long flights knowing that your apnea is controlled and that your snoring won’t disturb the passengers around you.
Find out if you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy by contacting sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy in Columbus, OH today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | December 8, 2012
Researchers learned about the damage to the brain that occurs in sleep apnea patients about 10 years ago. Now the same reserch team from UCLA has found that the female brain experiences more damage than men.
“While there are a great many brain studies done on sleep apnea and the impact on on’e health they have typically focused on men or combined groups of men and women, but we know that obstructive sleep apnea affects women very differently than men,” said lead researcher Dr. Paul Macy. He continued, “This study revealed that, in fact, women are more affected by sleep apnea than are men and that women with obstructive sleep apnea have more severe brain damage than men suffering from a similar condition.”
The researchers found that women’s brains were affected in the areas involved in decision making and mood regulation and that the female patients also showed higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms.
Women who experience daytime sleepiness, snoring, weight gain or have a large neck size should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by using an oral appliance instead of a CPAP machine. Most patients find sleeping with an oral appliance much more comfortable and easier than CPAP therapy and the treatment is highly effective.
Find out more about sleep apnea and treatment options by contacting Columbus, OH sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.
By Mark Levy | December 6, 2012
Researchers from Romania have found that people with obstructive sleep apnea have artery damage that is similar to that found in diabetic patients. The researchers noted that sleep apnea has been associated with high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
The researchers used ultrasound measurements of the heart among separate groups of patients that included: healthy people, those with moderate to severe sleep apnea and those with diabetes. Both the diabetic and sleep apnea groups showed changes in the arteries of the heart. Dr. Raluca Mincu said “Our study is a signal for cardiologists, pneumologists, and general practitioners to work together to actively diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, administer the appropriate treatment and assess arterial function. This will help avoid progression of early cardiovascular dysfunction through to heart failure, the final stage of heart disease.”
Anyone who snores loudly, is overweight or has been observed gasping for breath during sleep should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea. Many patients avoid seeking diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea because they are afraid they will have to use a CPAP machine during sleep. There is a highly effective and simple to use alternative – oral appliances!
Oral appliances treat obstructive sleep apnea by using your body’s own structures to keep the airway open during sleep. Oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea are available from dentists who have received specialized training in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep apnea dentist knows how to properly fit and adjust the oral appliance to give you optimal relief of your obstructive sleep apnea.
Feel better in the morning! Contact Columbus, OH sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.