Updated: Jul 11, 2022
We all know it is important to get a good night’s sleep. But did you know that a good night’s sleep can help your health?
Sufficient sleep is necessary to function at your highest level and keep your body healthy. Despite this, The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that more than one-third of American adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis.
Sleep is so important that the CDC has labelled insufficient sleep as a public health problem. There can be dangerous consequences to lack of sleep such as car accidents and occupational errors. Lack of sleep also increases the likelihood of serious health problems like depression and obesity.
One reason that people do not get enough sleep is sleep disorders. And one of the most common sleep disorders is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is a serious sleep disorder that affects more than 22 million Americans. It occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. This can occur up to hundreds of times each night, for more than a minute or longer each time.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping and/or choking throughout the night, impaired attention and concentration, morning headaches, or not feeling refreshed in the morning. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
As many as 80 percent of people with OSA are living undiagnosed. Once diagnosed, sleep apnea is treatable, so it is extremely important to find out if you suffer from sleep apnea. The gold standard treatment for OSA is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. CPAP is a machine that increases air pressure in the throat to prevent it from collapsing when a person is breathing throughout the night.
Adults are not the only ones who suffer from OAS. According to the National Sleep Foundation, up to 4 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea, and it can begin as early as two years old. Sleep apnea often goes undetected in children, because approximately 20 percent of children snore occasionally. Unfortunately, other symptoms of sleep apnea are commonly misdiagnosed in children as ADHD, since children with sleep apnea may exhibit hyperactive behavior throughout the day.
Snoring in children is usually not a reason for concern, but if a child additionally shows signs of pausing while breathing, tossing and turning a lot throughout the night, chronic mouth breathing, bed-wetting or night sweats, or constantly being tired during the day, he or she may be suffering from sleep apnea.
CPAP machines are typically not used for children. Instead, the most common treatment is surgical removal of the adenoids and tonsils, which is a procedure known as an adenotonsillectomy. This treatment opens the throat to aid airflow and allow the child to breathe normally throughout the night.
Comprehensive snoring and sleep disorder evaluations
Minimally invasive office-based procedures to help reduce disruptive snoring
Diagnostic and therapeutic sleep testing
Positive airway therapy (CPAP)
Oral appliance therapy
Sleep position modification
This month, take the time to make sleep a priority. Get to bed early, wake up at the same time every day and help your body be ready for sleep with enough daily exercise. If you think you or a family member may be suffering from sleep apnea, get checked by an ENT specialist so you can begin treatment. Sleep is essential to life-make sure you’re getting enough of it.