Stay Awake at the Wheel from Now On

This week, November 6-12, is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, a public awareness campaign designed to educate young drivers (and everyone on the road) about the dangers of driving while sleepy.

There are many reasons why a person may be drowsy behind the wheel. They didn’t have any coffee this morning, they were up all night with a crying baby or studying for a big exam, or maybe the sound of snoring kept them awake.

Snoring can indicate a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea, and sleep apnea is one of the most common reasons why people fall asleep behind the wheel.

What is sleep apnea?

By definition, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally shallow breathing during sleep. With obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the most common type of the condition, airways become narrow or blocked during sleep, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain. When this happens, you will stop breathing for a period of several seconds, and, eventually, the brain will wake the body to re-initiate normal breathing. This disruption in sleep can occur several times within a single sleep cycle, making it impossible for you to obtain a solid night’s rest.

The Consequences of Sleep Apnea

If your nights consist of interrupted sleep, it’s likely that your days are foggy and you may fall asleep at dangerous or inopportune times. Falling asleep behind the wheel is just one of the results of sleep apnea. Daytime fatigue, headaches, irritability, insomnia, impotence, depression, and a weakened immune system are other consequences.

When to Seek Treatment

If left untreated, sleep apnea can escalate to a serious situation because your body and your brain aren’t receiving enough oxygen when you sleep. In addition to the risk of suffocation, sleep apnea has been linked to a number of heart-related health conditions because the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen.

Detroit cosmetic dentist Dr. Aziza Askari is highly trained in treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea. At your consultation, she will conduct tests to investigate and diagnose the problem. Once Dr. Askari has determined the extent of your condition, she can design a treatment plan specific to your needs. A minimally invasive and highly effective treatment option for sleep apnea is a custom-fitted nightguard to keep the jaw in a position that promotes free airflow during sleep.

If you suffer from interrupted nights and foggy days, it’s time for professional help. Call Comfort Dental Spa, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, at (248) 474-6434 to reserve an appointment, or visit us online at comfortdentalspa.com.