Do you regularly wake up feeling exhausted despite a full night's sleep? Have you been told you snore, gasp, or stop breathing during the night? These could be signs you’re one of the many Americans suffering from sleep apnea without even knowing it.
Left untreated, sleep apnea robs you of restorative rest and puts you at higher risk for severe health conditions. But the good news is with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can finally get the peaceful sleep you’ve been missing out on. At Bay Area Sleep Solutions & Pain Center, Santa Clara, CA, sleep dentist, Dr. Pooja Goel treats patients from the greater San Jose area. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, contact our office at (408) 549-1602.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 or more times per hour when breathing pauses or becomes very shallow, oxygen levels in the blood drop. This triggers the brain to briefly wake up to resume breathing, though these awakenings are usually so brief that the patient doesn't remember them.
There are three types of sleep apnea:
Sleep apnea increases the risk of other medical issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Fortunately, effective treatments are available, especially when sleep apnea is diagnosed early.
Several factors increase sleep apnea risk:
At Bay Area Sleep Solutions & Pain Center in Santa Clara, CA, Dr. Goel evaluates patients for sleep apnea risk factors as part of our comprehensive diagnostic process. She can also advise on lifestyle improvements to reduce OSA severity.
If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea, don't be dismayed. There are many positive lifestyle changes you can adopt to prevent apnea events and improve your sleep.
Even a 10% reduction in body weight can lead to improved breathing and reduced severity of sleep apnea symptoms. Consult with your doctor or weight loss specialist to develop a customized diet and exercise plan to help you lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way.
Alcohol and sedatives are respiratory depressants, meaning they can relax throat muscles, making airway collapse more likely during sleep. Limit intake of alcohol, especially before bedtime, and avoid unnecessary sedatives. Discuss your medication regimen with your doctor.
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, such as brisk walking or swimming. This helps tone and strengthen upper airway muscles to prevent collapse. Weight-bearing exercise can also aid in weight loss efforts.
Adopting healthy sleep habits like sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, limiting screen time before bed, creating an optimal sleep environment, and following a calming pre-bed routine can all lead to higher quality sleep and reduced apnea events.
Smoking and tobacco product usage is linked to worse sleep apnea. Quitting can quickly improve breathing and oxygen circulation. Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement products or prescription medications to support your cessation efforts.
Sleeping on your back allows gravity to cause your tongue and soft tissues to collapse into your airway. Shift to sleeping on your side, propped up with pillows. Some devices can help prevent rolling onto your back.
Drink plenty of water during the day, as dehydration causes mucus membranes to become dry and swollen, narrowing breathing passages. Good hydration keeps airways lubricated.
Custom-fit oral appliances worn at night can gently reposition the jaw, tongue, and soft palate to open up constricted airways. Consult with a sleep specialist about whether these could be an effective treatment option.
Humidifying the air, especially at night, can help reduce nasal congestion, dryness, and inflammation that restrict airflow,providing symptom relief. Choose a cool mist model to avoid burns.
Common symptoms include loud snoring, gasping/choking during sleep, morning headaches, irritability, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Pay attention if a bed partner notices pauses in breathing. Bringing these symptoms to the attention of a sleep specialist can lead to getting properly diagnosed and treated.
Sleep medicine specialists are experts at diagnosing and treating OSA. They conduct thorough sleep assessments including overnight sleep studies to monitor breathing, heart rate, and oxygen levels. Based on these comprehensive evaluations, they create customized treatment plans for each patient.
An overnight sleep study uses specialized equipment to monitor heart rate, breathing, oxygen levels, brain activity, and snoring. This data helps diagnose sleep apnea, determine the severity, and decide on the most effective treatments. The non-invasive test gives valuable insight.
While there is no permanent cure for sleep apnea, the various treatment options can effectively manage symptoms long-term and improve quality of life. Lifestyle changes like losing weight and avoiding alcohol also help reduce the severity.
If daily fatigue and poor sleep have become the norm, take heart – there are positive lifestyle changes within your power to help manage sleep apnea and restore restful nights. With some adjustments to your daily habits around diet, exercise, sleep habits, and more, you can reduce symptoms and start waking up feeling refreshed. Regaining your energy, focus, and quality of life is possible.
Don’t put it off another night – call (408) 549-1602 right now to schedule a consultation. Our team of sleep health experts will partner with you to identify lifestyle improvements tailored to your unique needs and challenges. The first step is reaching out – with lifestyle remedies and proven therapies, peaceful slumber is within your reach. Serving new and returning patients from Santa Clara and surrounding areas such as San Jose, Los Altos and Alum Rock.
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