Healthy Habits To Improve Sleep Apnea Symptoms | Sleep Apnea Dentist in Glen Burnie MD

Dr. Paul Miller

Sleep apnea can come with many symptoms that affect our everyday lives. Loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, periods where you stop breathing during sleep, awakening with dry mouth, morning headache, difficulty staying asleep, fatigue, and mood swings are some common indicators of a lack of sleep.

Here are ten healthy habits recommended by our sleep apnea dentist in 21061 to consider for improving your sleep, to make it easier to fall asleep, and generally ease symptoms you might be experiencing:

Be Careful Taking Naps

  • Try taking a shorter nap earlier in the day
  • Limit your naps to lasting 30 minutes at the greatest 
  • Take a nap because you need it, not just because of boredom

Choose Activities Wisely

  • Watching TV before bed can stimulate your brain and keep you awake
  • If you do choose to watch TV, make sure to wear bluelight glasses and choose a relaxing show
  • Choose a book, relaxing music, podcast, or a sound machine

Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcohol

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch
  • Nicotine use can raise the risk of developing sleep apnea 
  • Nicotine is a stimulant and can mask exhaustion
  • Alcohol is a sedative, but despite falling asleep easily, it will decrease overall sleep quality, resulting in shorter sleep duration

Watch What You Eat

  • Avoid eating large meals right before bed
  • Eat a light snack instead
  • Avoid spicy or acidic foods

Exercise for 30 Minutes Each Day 

  • Can be anything, choose what is best for you
  • Exercise earlier in the day to give you more energy during the day and to sleep better at night

Keep a Tidy and Calm Space to Sleep

  • Make sure to keep your room clean
  • Will relieve stress of too much clutter
  • Will create a better sleep atmosphere

Set Your Phone to do not Disturb

  • Phone noises can wake you up and disturb your sleep
  • If you do this, you will forget about your phone 

Set a Suggested Curfew

  • Set a time to come home ensuring you will have enough time to get ready for bed
  • Depending on what you’re doing, adjust your curfew accordingly

Get a Comfort Pet

  • A furry sleeping buddy may relax you and create a sense of safety
  • Pets can reduce anxiety, making it easier to get to sleep

Write in a Journal

  • Getting your thoughts out on paper can reduce stress keeping you up at night
  • Writing things down may give you insight on why it’s so hard to sleep

Get to Bed, Wake Up at the Same Time

  • This will train your body to naturally feel tired and awake when it’s appropriate
  • Try not to stay up too late on the weekend

If you have questions or concerns about sleep apnea, or the symptoms you are experiencing, contact our sleep apnea clinic in Glen Burnie, MD today to schedule a consultation.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Sleep Apnea and Pregnancy | Sleep Apnea Treatment Near Me

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Glen Burnie

Women who are pregnant and have untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may face a number of health risks. Also, about 20 percent of pregnant women are struggling with obstructive sleep apnea and don’t even know it.

According to Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, sleep apnea during pregnancy can increase blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery. This condition can also increase the risk of needing a C-section, having complications with anesthesia, and possibly a longer labor.

Some scholarly articles have even suggested a relationship between OSA and miscarriage. 

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy 

It is hard to diagnose OSA during pregnancy, because the symptoms of OSA may overlap with the normal changes that come with being pregnant. Common side effects of pregnancy include headaches, heartburn, morning sickness, and changes in emotional health. This can also be a side effect of OSA.

You can be examined for common risk factors of OSA including a neck circumference greater than 16 inches, being overweight, having high blood pressure, and a low blood oxygen level. If you have any of these factors, you should contact our sleep apnea dentist in 21061 today.

Studies on OSA in Pregnancy

There have been studies conducted in pregnancy that report snoring steadily increasing through the three trimesters. Snoring three or more nights a week increases from 7-11 percent in the first trimester to 16-25 percent in the third trimester.

Although there are no published trials of treatment of OSA in pregnancy, there have been observational studies which suggest treatment can reduce blood pressure and improve the outcome of pregnancy.

Tips to Prevent Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy

It can be helpful if a woman sleeps on her side, and also patients with a mild form of OSA may benefit from sleeping with their head/upper body elevated. A mouth guard may be a good option as well.

Talking with our doctor about maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy is also a great way to take charge in preventing sleep apnea. If you struggle with sleep issues, don’t suffer any longer, contact our sleep apnea clinic in Glen Burnie, MD today and schedule a consultation.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Sleep Apnea: Is It More Common in Men or Women? | Glen Burnie MD Sleep Apnea Dentist

Glen Burnie MD Sleep Apnea Treatment

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, men are two times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than women. Add to this the fact that men are diagnosed with sleep apnea almost eight times more often than women.

Although it is true that men are more likely to develop this sleep disorder, there are many women struggling with sleep apnea who may not even know they have it.

Why are men more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea?

The Alaska Sleep Education Center has noted that there is an under-diagnosis and, oftentimes, misdiagnoses for women with sleep apnea. This is because women usually bring up their sleep problems with their general doctors and do not seek out advice from a sleep specialist. 

Usually, when we think of sleep apnea, we think of incredibly loud snoring. Women, on the other hand, will usually have different symptoms including lighter snoring and more subtle breathing problems. They will also report different symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, a lack of energy, and mood swings. 

How can this misdiagnosis be fixed?

The good news is that doctors are being better educated on symptoms of sleep apnea in women and recognizing the signs and symptoms. The most common signs of sleep apnea in a woman include snoring (and light snoring), excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and disturbed sleep.

Is treatment for sleep apnea different between men and women?

A recent scholarly article by Francisco Campos Rodriguez, notes that while there are differences in the symptoms of OSA between men and women, few studies have addressed gender differences in treatment recommendation.

If you are a woman who has experienced any of the issues above, it is important to get a proper diagnosis before considering any specific treatment options. If you are unsure about your symptoms, contact our sleep apnea dentist in Glen Burnie, MD today to schedule a consultation to begin your journey to better sleep and overall health.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Sleep Apnea Can Affect Depression | Glen Burnie MD Sleep Apnea Treatment

Dr. Paul Miller

Depression can be directly linked to sleep apnea. Those who suffer sleepless nights know the lack of sleep can affect your mental health immensely.

Even without having sleep apnea, there are many people who suffer from insomnia and many more Americans who do not get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Add the inconvenience of wearing either a mouthpiece or CPAP device while sleeping and it’s easy to imagine why so many struggle to get a decent night’s sleep..

How Are Depression and Sleep Connected?

According to the Sleep Foundation, depression and sleep have a bidirectional relationship, which means that not getting enough sleep can contribute to developing depression, and having depression can cause a person to develop sleeping issues. If you have one, it can cause you to develop the other. Adding sleep apnea to the mix can cause these symptoms to be even worse. 

When to Get Help

It may be overwhelming to know when to get help. Should you seek treatment for your depression first or is your sleep apnea the more urgent need?

Recent studies have shown that depressed patients who experience insomnia are not as likely to respond to treatment as those without sleep issues. In short, help for your sleep issues should be sought as soon as possible.

Help Yourself

Other than getting professional help, there are some basic lifestyle changes you can make to improve your symptoms along with any other treatments you receive: 

Alcohol and Nicotine: Alcohol depresses the nervous system which may make you fall asleep at first, but the effects will eventually wear off, causing you to wake back up. Nicotine is a stimulant, which will speed up your heart rate and brain. Avoiding these before bedtime or preferably altogether can improve your sleep. 

Sleep hygiene: This is a term used to include tips like waking up and going to bed at the same time everyday, only using the bedroom for sleep, and not watching TV before you go to bed. Staying awake longer and breaking up the day with more activities can also help.

The Bottom Line

You should definitely see a doctor if you are struggling with depression. It’s not easy to live with both depression and sleep apnea, but there are treatments available for both conditions that will coincide to offer a healthier and happier life.

If you are interested in finding out more about how sleep apnea can lead to, and feed depression, contact our sleep apnea dental office in Glen Burnie today to schedule a consultation.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Could a TAP Appliance be the Solution of Your Dreams? | Sleep Apnea Dentist in Glen Burnie

Glen Burnie Sleep Apnea Dentist

Do you want to rest more comfortably? The Thornton Adjustable Positioner, or TAP appliance may be exactly what you need to finally get a good night’s sleep.

This two-piece jaw repositioning device was design to treat snoring and sleep apnea. The mandibular and maxillary components of the TAP appliance are connected by a hinge that is fixed during sleep. It is comparable to a sports mouthguard, night guard, or a retainer.

How does it work?

The basic function of the TAP is to hold the jaw slightly forward. This ensures that that the tongue and soft tissues of the throat do not collapse back down into the throat, causing disruptive snoring and sleep apnea.

The TAP appliance has been shown to help 95% of patients breathe easier at night, reduce their snoring, and increase the quality of their sleep. 

Is a TAP better than the CPAP?

The TAP appliance is much different than the CPAP, which is a machine that delivers oxygen through your nose through a mask with a tube. It is very easy to travel with, will not disturb your partner while sleeping, does not include hoses or tubes going in your nose, and will also last you up to five years. 

How can I trust that TAP will work for me?

A sleep study was recently conducted in 75 patients with ages ranging from 28 to 74 years old. In the beginning, loud snoring was found in 96 percent of the test subjects.

After wearing the TAP appliance, it only occurred in two percent of patients. Altogether, 86 percent of participants in the study continued to use the appliance, with 60 percent being very satisfied and 27 percent moderately satisfied.

What is the cost of a TAP appliance?

The TAP appliance is the less expensive option when compared to a CPAP device. According to AAST, oral appliances are usually covered by medical insurance. 

Cons of the TAP appliance 

There are a few cons of the TAP appliance. To some, it may be slightly uncomfortable to wear, and it may not be a good choice for very severe cases of sleep apnea.

If you have been struggling with mild to moderate sleep apnea, and want to try a less noisy and bulky option, the TAP appliance is worth considering. Contact our sleep apnea dental office in Glen Burnie, MD today and we will schedule a consultation to find out what’s right for you.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

The Link Between Asthma and Sleep Apnea | Sleep Apnea Dentist Near Me

Glen Burnie Sleep Apnea Treatment

About one in 13 Americans suffers from asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. That includes some 20 million adults — nearly the same number who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While they are distinct conditions, mounting evidence shows a connection.

Landmark Study Shows OSA-Asthma Connection

A long-term Wisconsin study showed that asthmatic adults have a 40 percent greater risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than others. About 15 percent of the 550 study participants had asthma. In the study’s first follow-up, 27 percent of the asthmatic subjects had developed OSA, compared with 16 percent of non-asthmatic participants. Researchers also found that the longer a person lives with asthma, the greater their risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.

Asthma is a swelling and narrowing of the airways caused by allergens or other airborne irritants. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, trouble breathing, and chest tightness.

Obstructive sleep apnea also obstructs the airway. It results from muscle relaxation that causes soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. OSA interrupts breathing, sometimes for ten seconds or more, throughout the night. Sufferers tend to snore loudly, gasp for air, and wake up frequently.  

How Sleep Apnea Worsens Asthma Symptoms

Research shows that sleep apnea may aggravate asthma in several ways: 

  • OSA may irritate the smooth muscle around the airway and cause it to contract. In people with asthma, this serves to further narrow the airway and worsen symptoms
  • The gasping and choking that occur with sleep apnea can irritate nerves in the throat and esophagus, adding to muscle contraction around the airways
  • OSA may also release inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream, compounding the lung inflammation associated with asthma
  • Sleep apnea might make it easier for stomach acid to enter the lungs

Other research shows a correlation among four conditions: sleep apnea, acid reflux, asthma, and obesity. Many people with acid reflux overeat because saliva produced from chewing helps neutralize stomach acid. This leads to weight gain, which aggravates both OSA and asthma.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea and Asthma

A Finnish study shows that sleep apnea treatments can also improve asthma. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and oral appliance therapy are both effective ways to keep airways open during sleep.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea with or without asthma, talk to our doctor in Glen Burnie, MD about getting the relief you need. Schedule an evaluation and get important information on corrective therapy that will help you breathe easier.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Sleep Apnea and Driving Dangers | Dr. Paul Miller

One out of 25 adults report dozing off at the wheel in the past month, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency estimates that sleepy drivers cause 83,000 crashes, 37,000 injury crashes, and more than 800 deaths in an average year. Among the top reasons for drowsy driving is sleep apnea.

People who snore or who sleep six or fewer hours most nights are most likely to report falling asleep while driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disrupted sleep pattern caused by OSA results in many health problems, including daytime drowsiness. 

Learn the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

Ideally, you should refrain from driving if you feel sleepy, but this isn’t always possible. Recognize the signs of sleepy driving:

  • Drifting from your lane
  • Missing an exit
  • Frequent blinking or yawning
  • Hitting a rumble strip along the shoulder of the road

Two often-repeated remedies for drowsy driving include cranking the car windows open for some bracing fresh air or turning on music and singing. However, the NHTSA says these are not effective.  

How to Prevent Sleepy Driving

The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to treat the underlying cause. For those with chronic (long-term) daytime sleepiness, the solution is complicated, and a proper diagnosis is required. Daytime sleepiness has many causes, including narcolepsy and chronic insomnia, so it’s important to determine whether sleep apnea is to blame. Contact our sleep medicine practice for testing. We will measure a number of biometric markers, including how deeply you are breathing and the quality of your sleep cycle.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Treatment for sleep apnea may include use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device while you sleep. It pumps pressurized air into your nose and mouth using a hose and mask. While CPAP is considered the most effective therapy for obstructive sleep apnea, it is not universally tolerated.

Another highly effective option for many patients is oral appliance therapy. OAT, which looks like a mouthguard, repositions the tongue, jaw, or both to keep the airway open. Depending on the patient, it can be used with or without CPAP.

Talk to our sleep medicine doctor in Glen Burnie, MD to learn the best way to treat sleep apnea and stay safer on the road.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Sleep Apnea and Indoor Air Quality | Glen Burnie Sleep Apnea Dentist

Glen Burnie, MD 21061 Sleep Apnea

Air pollution’s well-documented effects on the body also extend to sleep quality. Research conducted over the past decade shows a strong connection between indoor air quality and sleep apnea. The good news: this problem is correctable. 

Glen Burnie, MD 21061 Sleep Apnea Dentist

Sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing conditions affect two in ten adults. About 80 percent of cases are undiagnosed. People with sleep apnea experience muscle relaxation that blocks the airway, causing them to briefly stop breathing. This occurs many times each night, resulting in poor sleep quality.

Scientists have identified many causes of sleep apnea, including obesity, late-night alcohol use, aging, and use of sedatives. Researchers are now adding indoor air pollution to the list.

Indoor Air Pollution and Sleep Disturbance

A landmark 2010 study showed how air pollution decreases blood oxygen levels, a process that disturbs sleep. Further studies demonstrate a link between indoor pollutants and shallow or interrupted breathing. The research shows that even a small amount of particulate in the air increases the risk of sleep apnea and shallow breathing by 60 percent. 

Improving Indoor Air Quality for Better Sleep

Whether cleaning the air in your bedroom resolves sleep apnea is still up for debate, but it can’t hurt. Breathe better at night with these tips from the American Sleep Association:

  • Avoid candles, wax melts, or plug-in air fresheners. They might make your home smell pleasant, but they add particulates and chemicals to the air. Opt for air-cleaning potted plants.
  • Turn on your air conditioner. A central system keeps air dry, fresh, and free of outdoor pollutants. Remember to change the filter and clean air ducts regularly.
  • If you don’t have an AC system, a whole-house HEPA filter is also effective at cleaning the air. 
  • Air purifiers are effective at removing pollen, mold, bacteria, and dust from the air in smaller spaces like bedrooms.
  • Ban cigarette smoking in your home. Its carcinogenic chemicals and other irritants are among the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution.
  • Keep your flooring clean. Hardwood and tile are easier to dust than carpeting. If you cannot remove carpeting, vacuum with a HEPA-filter attachment or bag at least twice a week.

Let our sleep apnea team know if making these changes improves your nighttime breathing. If you continue to experience sleep apnea symptoms such as snoring, gasping for breath, and insomnia, contact Glen Burnie sleep apnea dentist for a sleep evaluation. 

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Understanding Sleep Cycles and Health | Sleep Apnea Treatment Glen Burnie

Sleep Apnea Treatment Glen Burnie

Our sleep needs change during our lifetime and varies by individual; but the most important factor is getting enough quality sleep. The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) says people should feel alert and refreshed when they wake up, and not rely on napping to get through the day.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Glen Burnie MD

Scientists have determined that most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night for optimal health. When you suffer from interrupted sleep, such as that caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you are more prone to a host of health problems ranging from heart disease to diabetes, and from cognitive decline to memory impairment. In children, lack of sleep can cause hyperactivity, according to the ASAA.

What are Sleep Cycles?

Sleep is broadly divided into stages that cycle throughout the night: wakefulness, rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, and non-REM sleep. There are three stages of non-REM sleep, known as N1, N2 and N3, and one REM phase. Healthy sleepers cycle through these stages several times through the night. Let’s explore them in depth:  

  • Stage N1, the first non-REM stage, marks the transition from wakefulness to falling asleep. You may dream during this stage, be easily awakened, and aware of your surroundings to some degree.
  • Stage N2 is the point at which your breathing becomes automatic and your heart rate slows down. Healthy adults spend about half their sleep time in this cycle.
  • Stage N3 is also known as slow wave sleep or delta sleep because of the slower delta brainwaves recorded at this time. It is a regenerative stage in which the body repairs itself. The first N3 sleep stage of the night lasts between 45 and 90 minutes; thereafter it becomes progressively shorter. As people age, this stage gradually disappears.
  • REM sleep episodes become longer through the night, occurring every 90 minutes or so. The rapid eye movement phase is marked by brain activity: the eyes dart about below the lids and you experience your most vivid and memorable dreams. The body remains in a quasi-paralyzed state, so you do not act out your dreams.

During a sleep study, your sleep cycles are recorded and analyzed. This is a valuable diagnostic tool. People with sleep apnea tend to stay in the N1 and N2 stages of light sleep, with interrupted episodes of the more restorative N3 and REM sleep. That is yet another reason sleep apnea can cause long-term physical harm, and why OSA demands prompt treatment.

If you would like to discuss your sleep quality, or suspect you have sleep apnea, contact our 21061 sleep medicine office and schedule an appointment.  

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

What if I Can’t Adjust to a CPAP Machine? | Glen Burnie Sleep Apnea Dentist

Sleep Apnea Treatment Glen Burnie

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, therapy is considered the most effective way to treat moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); yet not every patient adapts to it easily. Here are adjustment tips and alternatives to CPAP.  

Sleep Apnea Treatment Glen Burnie

The American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) says that the compliance rate among people prescribed CPAP therapy is about 60 percent. That means nearly one-third of patients abandon the therapy after a few weeks or months. The average CPAP use is four or five hours a night, and not the recommended seven-and-a-half hours.

Reasons for CPAP Noncompliance

Among the most common reasons people abandon their machines are persistent discomfort, allergic-type responses, and noise.

Adjustment to forced air: The CPAP machine uses a hose and mask attached to a machine that delivers forced air to the mouth and nose. This prevents the airway from collapsing intermittently during the night. Some people have a difficult time adjusting to greater air pressure. The AAST recommends ramping the pressure up gradually. 

Ill-fitting mask: Some patients report a claustrophobic sensation when wearing their mask. This often occurs because the mask is too tight or does not fit properly. It can take some trial and error to find the right fit or mask type.

Stuffy nose: Leaky, poorly fitted masks can dry out your nasal passages. A CPAP with a humidifier and a heat option can help some patients breathe more easily.   

Dry mouth and throat: If you breathe through your mouth while sleeping, CPAP can alleviate snoring but make dryness worse. Sleep specialists recommend a chin strap to keep your mouth closed or experimenting with different types of masks.  

Allergic reaction: Some patients report feeling allergic to the CPAP mask. This is usually caused by infrequent mask cleanings, according to the AAST. Make sure you clean your mask and hose as directed. True allergy cases may arise if your mask is an old version made with latex. A CPAP mask allergy will usually appear on the first night it is worn, so make sure to contact your sleep specialist immediately if you experience a reaction.

CPAP noise: Newer machines are much quieter than older versions, but everyone’s noise tolerance is different. If your CPAP is keeping you awake, ensure the air filter is clean or speak to your sleep specialist. You can also try sleeping with earplugs or a white noise machine. 

Unconscious mask removal: It is not uncommon for new CPAP wearers to pull their mask off during sleep. Often the problem is related to congestion. Consider a humidifier to keep your nasal passages moist or a chin strap to keep your mouth closed. 

Oral Appliance Therapy as a CPAP Alternative 

For those having a difficult time adjusting to CPAP devices, oral appliance therapy is a highly recommended alternative or adjunct. This mouthguard-type device repositions the tongue, jaw, or both to keep the airway open. 

  • It can be used alone for those with mild to moderate OSA
  • It helps many people adjust to the CPAP machine
  • It can replace CPAP therapy for those who are unable to adjust despite their best efforts
  • It is ideal for travel

If you would like to learn more about CPAP alternatives, contact our Glen Burnie Sleep Apnea Dentist office for solutions that may help you get the restful night’s sleep you deserve.

Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: 410-729-6794
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061