It is common for people to have trouble sleeping when traveling at high altitudes. Lack of oxygen at high altitudes affects your ability to sleep since your body undergoes a series of adjustments known as acclimatization. Sleep apnea symptoms can affect a wide range of people. However, those who already suffer from them may find it more challenging to adjust.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when someone’s breathing is interrupted while they are asleep. Sleep apnea patients stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. Sleep apnea can cause various health problems, including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the muscle tissue in the heart), heart failure, diabetes, and heart attacks. Additionally, untreated sleep apnea can lead to job impairment, work-related accidents, motor vehicle accidents, as well as underachievement in school in children and adolescents.
In the event that you suffer from sleep apnea, we can address these potential problems head-on as well as prepare you for your trip to higher altitudes. Our dentist in Glen Burnie will suggest a few things to help you have a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep, including the following:
- Make sure you pack your CPAP machine and use it when traveling to areas where symptoms might worsen. If you do not use a CPAP machine, speak with your doctor before traveling to a high altitude about the possibility of using a CPAP or dental appliance.
- While at a high altitude, it is best to ascend slowly and drink adequate amounts of water. As the Institute for Altitude Medicine explains, your body loses water twice as quickly by respiration at high altitudes as it does at sea level, and dehydration can impact your sleep patterns. Pack several bottles of water in your carry-on bags so that you will have them available when needed.
- When staying in an area with a higher elevation, sleeping on the ground floor or even in a lower elevation room will help offset the effects of your sleep apnea.
- If you suffer from severe altitude sickness, you may need to consult with your doctor about prescribing medication.
People with sleep apnea face unique challenges when traveling to high-elevation destinations. With careful planning in advance, you can easily achieve a restful and relaxing trip.
A wide range of treatment options are available for sleep apnea. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please feel free to contact our Glen Burnie, MD dental office.