What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when the tongue and soft palate relax so much during sleep that they meet in the back of the throat fully blocking your airway. This is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Each time this happens, your sleep cycle is interrupted by your consciousness taking over just enough for you to breathe again. These are known as micro-arousals, and they prevent you from fully immersing in the restorative sleep cycles, particularly REM. It’s most problematic for back sleepers, but side sleepers may suffer from OSA, too.
Severe sleep apnea can result in 50 micro-arousals or more in a single hour, and actually shorten your life expectancy if left untreated. OSA sufferers experience a pervasive lack of energy, headaches, restlessness, memory issues, mood swings, and a dry or sore throat in the mornings. Patients at higher risk are male, overweight or obese, smoke, have chronic nasal congestion, or have a thick neck.
Confirming a sleep apnea diagnosis usually begins with an overnight sleep study. These studies are typically conducted in a laboratory setting and are costly and uncomfortable, Dr. Samadian offers his patients an at-home sleep study, making a diagnosis more cost-effective and comfortable. You’ll receive equipment that will measure your breathing throughout the night, providing Dr. Samadian with a full report on your quality of sleep and frequency of micro-arousals. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can also be diagnosed at this time.