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A TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre of St. Louis patient experiencing great sleep after their diagnosis and treatment.

Educational Resources About Sleep Apnea and TMJ

  • TMJ Sleep Therapy Centre of St. Louis

What to Know About Sleep Apnea Treatment

Updated: Apr 17

Sleep Apnea Treatments by The TMJ and Sleep Centre of St. Louis

Many adults do not clock enough sleep each night to feel fully rested and rejuvenated in the morning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sleep deprivation impacts one-third of adults. Sleep rejuvenates the body and helps power the immune system; without enough sleep, the body feels drained, the mind isn’t sharp, and the individual is more prone to illness.

Sleep deprivation has many causes; some individuals stay up too late to accrue the necessary amount of sleep. However, others might unknowingly suffer from a condition called sleep apnea that disrupts their sleep cycles. What is sleep apnea?

About Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disorders

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that impacts the individual’s proper breathing patterns and disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycles. With sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked or obstructed; this results in breathing difficulties and sleep disruptions. When an individual suffers from sleep apnea, they exhibit irregular breathing patterns at night.

Sleep apnea can be mild or severe. In severe cases, the individual might experience numerous health-related symptoms. For example, the irregular breathing patterns associated with sleep apnea can impact blood flow and increase blood pressure and heart rate.

Correcting airflow and removing airway obstruction is crucial to alleviating the symptoms of this sleep disorder.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Doctors might refer to sleep apnea as ‘obstructive sleep apnea.’ This also is a different subset of sleep apnea called central apnea.

Most sleep apnea cases are obstructive. The cause of obstructive sleep apnea is an obstruction of the airway. However, this obstruction could have many different origins. For example, large tonsils might obstruct the airway and cause sleep apnea. A deviated septum or a larger tongue also can lead to airway obstruction. Some individuals have a head shape that leads to this condition, while others have a more relaxed throat that collapses the airway. Nasal congestion also could lead to sleep apnea; some allergy sufferers also could be diagnosed with related sleep apnea.

Understanding the cause of sleep apnea is important to treating each patient. Dr. Frith creates customized treatment protocols that alleviate the obstruction and treat the condition. Each patient’s treatment road map will be unique to their case.

Sleep Apnea Treatments by The TMJ and Sleep Centre of St. Louis

What are the Most Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms?

The primary symptom of sleep apnea is disrupted airflow while sleeping; this is characterized by irregular breathing habits during sleep cycles. Each individual also may experience other symptoms as the result of poor sleep and disrupted sleep cycles.

Sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, difficulty with concentration and focus, snoring, exhaustion, memory issues, and even weight gain. All of these symptoms also could be related to other medical issues or disorders, and it’s important for individuals to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

In some cases, sleep apnea can lead to more severe symptoms and health concerns like elevated blood pressure or heart rate. A lack of adequate sleep also could cause depression or other mood changes.

How Does Sleep Apnea Impact REM Sleep?

When we sleep, the body cycles through different stages of sleep. Some stages of the sleep cycle allow the body to be more aware, while other cycles encourage the body and brain to enter a deeper state of relaxation.

REM is an acronym for ‘rapid eye movement.’ During this phase of the sleep cycle, the body is more alert. According to the National Sleep Foundation, REM sleep cycles account for a quarter of sleep time. The NSF explains that this sleep cycle is the time individuals dream and is important for memory retention and for processing information. In addition, REM sleep helps the mind feel more focused and helps regulate moods.

Sleep apnea results in breathing irregularities that can disrupt sleep and normal sleep cycles. This means that REM sleep could be interrupted, resulting in symptoms like mood irregularities (anxiety), memory problems, or difficulties with concentration.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Sleep deprivation can result in an individual feeling tired during the day, struggling with concentration, mood issues and maybe even food cravings, too. Adults might wonder how much sleep they need each night to feel fully rested and rejuvenated in the morning.

Adults need more sleep than they might realize. The Mayo Clinic reports that adults need seven or more hours of sleep each night. Seven hours is the minimum amount of sleep needed for optimum health; some adults might need more sleep. Individual sleep needs could vary.

Sleep Disorders and Treatments by The TMJ and Sleep Centre of St. Louis

Sleep Disorders and The TMJ and Sleep Centre

An individual might suffer from sleep apnea without realizing that this sleep disorder is disrupting their sleep and impacting their health. Snoring at night could be indicative of sleep apnea, but, again, there are many symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.

Adults concerned about sleep disturbances or who experience symptoms of sleep apnea should schedule a consultation with Dr. Frith at the TMJ and Sleep Centre of St. Louis. Before the appointment, take a sleep assessment to better understand the symptoms. Dr. Frith and the team work with each patient to determine the underlying cause of sleep apnea and find the best treatment solution. Schedule a consultation today.


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