To understand how sleep apnea can affect our overall wellness, we need to imagine the underlying causes and how they affect our body. Sleep apnea is defined as “a disorder that causes a disruption in breathing as you sleep.” These lapses in breathing can happen several times throughout the night, disturbing dreams and solid REM sleep, raising your blood pressure, exacerbating fatigue during the daylight hours, and contributing to a risk of heart disease and stroke.
Sleeping Difficulties in Women Versus Men
Gender differences absolutely play a role in whether one snores or lives with insomnia. Specific hormones are the active contributors in how men and women are affected and what type of treatments to consider. Snoring is one of the most significant factors in sleep apnea. How often one snores and to what degree is nothing to be embarrassed about, but if it continues for a long period of time, then it’s vital that you seek treatment before symptoms get worse.
The Impact on Men’s Sexual Health
In a 2009 study, 70% of 401 men experienced erectile dysfunction as a result of lack of a good night’s sleep. With limited rest the testosterone levels drop dramatically, as they peak with a decent sound sleep. This sex hormone thrives on shut eye, thus denying proper rest can lead to an impact on a man’s ability to have a normal sex life. If a man is prone to stress or poor nutrition the tendency to wake up during intervals throughout the night is likely.
As snoring is the third common cause of divorce, alleviating these habits with a quality diet, limited screen time an hour prior to sleep, meditation before late night hours, and having a comfortable mattress that works with a man’s body, sleeping patterns are less prone to being interrupted.
Differences in Women’s Sleep Habits
For a women, her hormones are based on circadian rhythms. Women tend to go to bed and wake up earlier than men. Since they experience shorter cycles and a deeper sleep, the likelihood of snoring is less in women versus men however women have a higher degree of depression, insomnia, and fatigue throughout the day. Sleep apnea for women can also be mistaken for symptoms of depression or hypertension, so it’s crucial they get the underlying causes diagnosed before treatment.
Things to Consider
–CPAP – The CPAP is a device that helps with opening the airway while you sleep. It is prescribed by a sleep specialist and has proven to be the number one treatment for severe cases of sleep apnea.
–Mandibular Advancement Device – repositions the lower jaw and tongue by pushing the lower jaw forward..
–Tongue Retaining Device – reposition’s the tongue in an anterior position by securing it with negative pressure in a soft plastic bulb that is directly in contact with the base of the tongue.
–Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) – a machine that provides two pressure levels, one during inhalation and a lower one during exhalation.
–Hereditary factors – Genetics might play a role in sleeping habits. If your parents suffered from insomnia and snoring, the chances of these being passed down through the generations are much higher.
–Diet – Eating unhealthy food as a rule definitely affects sleep. A higher percentage of insomniacs report (through daily food journaling) they consume more processed foods, and adhere to poor eating habits in general.
–Alternative holistic practices – Meditation, massage, essential oils, chakra balancing, peaceful environments, each of these harmonious practices contribute to a good night’s sleep and well-being.
The ramifications of getting a healthy night of sleep are profound. If your snoring is interrupting sleep for you and your partner, it’s crucial to find out if sleep apnea is the problem.Fortunately, Dr. Mensah at Integrative Family Dentistry in Mebane, NC has the solutions. Give his office a call today!