Sleep Apnea Dentist

  • Why do more women struggle with insomnia than men?

    Sleeping is an essential part of our lives. It helps us recharge for the next day. Research in this area has helped understand various sleep disorders.

    But most research has dodged the question of how different women’s sleep patterns are compared to men.

    Why is insomnia more common in women?

    The National Sleep Foundation survey, one of the first surveys in this field, found that 46% of women reported troubles with sleep almost every night. Other studies also conclude that insomnia is 40% more prevalent among women.

    A prominent reason for this difference is biological, where hormone production during pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and menstruation changes. But social and cultural reasons, like work and family, also play a role, according to the survey.

    Gender and sleep

    Gender differences have important scientific consequences. For instance, almost a decade ago, the Food and Drug Administration reduced the recommended dose of zolpidem, a drug similar to Ambien, by half for women to treat insomnia. This came after the discovery that women metabolized the drug much slower than men — which led to gender-specific guidelines.

    “It was important to raise the issue of sex differences — which is biological differences between women and men — to point out that there are differences in sleep in both the sexes,” said Dr. Monica Mallampalli, the senior scientific adviser for Healthywomen.org and a board member for Alliance of Sleep Apnea Partners.

    For example, obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, is typically found in men. But women also experience it, Mallampalli explained.Report ad

    “Usually, they’re misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, and the symptoms that they present are very different than what a typical man would present,” she said, adding, “it’s also mostly hormonal.” Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain all over the body, has also been linked to insomnia, peaking at puberty and menopause for women, both periods of hormonal change.

    What are the types of sleep problems women face?

    1. Depression, anxiety and stress

    Sleep is often tied to mental health and women are proven to be more likely to suffer through depression and anxiety. Studies show that women are more likely to ruminate about their concerns which can hamper their ability to fall asleep or go back to sleep.

    2. Pregnancy

    According to a study, around 30% of women say they rarely sleep and more than 50% have insomnia-like symptoms. Neck and back pain paired with difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position can disturb the quality of sleep. These problems can persist after childbirth.

    3. Obstructive sleep apnea

    Women with sleeping problems like obstructive sleep apnea are less likely to be referred to specialized sleep clinics, according to a study on gender bias in sleep disorder diagnosis. Mallampalli explained, obstructive sleep apnea is often underdiagnosed in women.

    4. Restless leg syndrome

    This syndrome creates a strong under to move limbs, especially legs, when lying down. Restless leg syndrome is also more common in men than women. Mallampalli adds that this syndrome is commonly seen in pregnant women.

    How do you improve your quality of sleep?

    Environmental stimuli such as a bright light in the bedroom, traffic noises, music, television, room temperature, pets and bedpartners can all affect sleep. The Society for Women’s Health Research created a Women & Sleep guide which suggests darkening rooms with blackout shades and drapes, turning off electronics in the room and double-paning windows for noise cancellation.

    Earplugs, eye masks and white noise machines are also extremely helpful. Caffeine and electronic gadgets should be avoided at night time, as well as stimuli like nicotine and alcohol, according to researchers.

    Mallampalli, who was involved in creating this guide, believes that by spreading awareness, more women will be able to advocate for themselves and ask their physical care physicians about sleep health. And this is how a change can begin.

  • Sleep-disordered breathing tied to greater preeclampsia risk

    Women with high-risk pregnancies who experience sleep-disordered breathing have an increased risk for preeclampsia, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

    The prospective observational cohort study involved women with high-risk singleton pregnancies, author Stella S. Daskalopoulou, MD, MSc, PhD, of the department of medicine’s division of internal medicine at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and colleagues reported in the study.

    Women with mid-gestation sleep disordered breathing have a 3.4 odds ratio for preeclampsia, and women with late-gestation sleep-disordered breathing have an 8.2 odds ratio for preeclampsia.
    Phan K, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. | Original Post

    High-risk factors included age of at least 35 years, BMI of at least 25 kg/m2chronic hypertension, pre-existing diabetes or renal disease, conception via in vitro fertilization and personal or first-degree relative family history of preeclampsia.

    Of the 235 women recruited between 10 and 13 weeks of gestation at two tertiary obstetric clinics in Montreal, 181 women completed questionnaires about their sleep based on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and restless legs syndrome during each trimester.

    Women identified with sleep disordered breathing (SDB), defined as three or more incidences of loud snoring or witnessed apneas each week, in the first or second trimester were diagnosed with mid-gestation SDB. Women identified with SDB in the third trimester were diagnosed with late-gestation SDB.

    The researchers also conducted arterial stiffness, wave reflection and hemodynamic assessments between 10 and 13 weeks and again six more times at approximately 4-week intervals through the rest of the pregnancy.

    Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), which is considered the gold standard for predicting arterial stiffness and is predictive of preeclampsia, and carotid-radial PWV were calculated to determine aortic and peripheral arterial stiffness, respectively.

    According to the study, the 41 women (23%) who had SDB also had increased cfPWV across gestation independent of blood pressure and BMI (P = .042). Also, only women with SDB saw an association between excessive daytime sleepiness and increased cfPWV.

    After 20 weeks’ gestation, women who had BP of at least 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg were diagnosed with preeclampsia.

    Women with mid-gestation SDB had an OR of 3.4 (95% CI, 0.9-12.9; P = .063) for preeclampsia, which increased to an OR of 5.7 (95% CI, 1.1-26; P = .028) for women who also experienced hypersomnolence. Women with late-gestation SDB had an OR of 8.2 (95% CI, 1.5-39.5; P = .009) for preeclampsia.

    Additionally, the researchers reported a positive association between excessive daytime sleepiness and central arterial stiffness in women with SDB but not in women who did not have SDB. Women who reported SDB and excessive daytime sleepiness appeared to have a greater risk for preeclampsia than women with SDB alone as well.

    However, women who had positive restless legs syndrome scores did not see increased odds for developing preeclampsia either in mid-gestation (OR = 1.23; 95% CI, 0.25-4.68) or late gestation (OR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.21-3.75). The same held true for women who had positive Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores in mid-gestation (OR = 2.11; 95% CI, 0.58-8.66) or late gestation (OR = 2.83; 95% CI, 0.65-19.81).

    Overall, the researchers said, there was an association between SDB in the first or second trimester and greater central arterial stiffness starting at 10 to 13 weeks’ gestation for women with high-risk pregnancies.

    Further, the researchers said, their results provide supporting evidence for arterial stiffness as an important mediator and promising surrogate endpoint for vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia, as well as for the need to screen for SDB throughout pregnancy.

  • What Is Sleep Apnea?

    Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired, even after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea.

    Woman with Sleep Apnea Snoring

    There are two types of sleep apnea:

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    The more common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when the throat muscles relax. It is an anatomical and neurological problem. During sleep, your airway collapses and blocks air from passing through. Some sleep apnea patients may gasp, snore or choke. Some are completely silent. Not all people who have sleep apnea snore. Not all people who snore have sleep apnea.

    Central Sleep Apnea

    The lesser common form of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles during sleep. Your body essentially “forgets to breathe”.

    What are the effects?

    This roller coaster sleep pattern leads to a loss of energy, concentration, productivity and an inability to stay awake during less active tasks. This may include reading, watching television and driving. In severe cases, the continuous oxygen deprivation caused by sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death. There may be a genetic component to this disorder as it often occurs within families.

    Can Sleep Apnea Be Resolved?

    Generally, in cases of very mild sleep apnea, symptoms have been resolved with weight loss, a reduction of alcohol intake, or a change in sleep position. Sleep experts suggest that most people with sleep apnea should not sleep on their backs, but instead on their left side.

    In more serious cases, oral appliance therapy which repositions the lower jaw and the tongue are very helpful to many patients and also those whose only problem is disruptive snoring. These devices gently keep your jaw forward during sleep to open your airway. For the vast majority of patients, the oral appliances are far more comfortable than CPAP therapy. In fact, experience shows that 83% of patients who try oral appliance therapy sleep comfortably for an average of almost 7 hours per night.

    CPAP machines offer continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) through a mask. Although this treatment helps many people, some cannot tolerate this method and may benefit from oral devices.

    Many people benefit from combination therapy; the use of an oral appliance and the CPAP machine.

    Seeking Treatment

    We recommend you seek treatment from an American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine Diplomate. Diagnosing sleep apnea currently involves a physician prescribed sleep test. These tests can be performed at home or at a sleep lab.  For more information on sleep apnea and resources, you can visit American Alliance for Healthy Sleep, 2510 North Frontage Road
    Darien, IL 60561 or National Sleep Foundation, 1367 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

  • New Website Launched for SADofNE

    Sleep Apnea Dentist Launches New Site

    We are pleased to announce the launch of our NEW website! Although you can still find us at SleepApneaDentist.com, we are simplifying things a little with our new domain name SADofNE.com.

    Our goal is to provide both patients and referring physicians a one-stop resource for all things Sleep Apnea. We have included both patient and physician pages for easy access to the information you may need.

    Our Patient Pages Include:

    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Oral Appliance Safety Data Sheets
    • Oral Appliance Care Instructions
    • Insurance Guidelines
    • Testimonial Videos

    Our Physician Pages Include:

    • Referral Guidelines
    • Sleep Apnea Explained
    • Treatment Options
    • FDA and Insurance Compliance

    We have also included blog pages where updated information related to sleep, sleeping disorders, sleep apnea, and the impact lack of good sleep can have on your overall well-being.

    New Features Coming Soon

    We are not done just yet. Please stay tuned for updated brochures that you may download for future reference, a LIVE CHAT feature, and more. 

    Your opinion and feedback matter!

    Should you have any information that you would like to have included on our site, please forward your suggestions via our contact form.