Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA
Health-conscious people stay mindful of lifestyle factors like what they eat, how much exercise they get, and making sure they get the proper amounts of vitamins. However, how you sleep also plays a huge role in your health. If you can’t remember the last time you had a good night of sleep, and you seem to be getting sick frequently, these two conditions likely are related. Ongoing research continues to establish a link between the lack of sleep and a weakened immune system. Your sleep apnea dentists in Agoura Hills at Integrative Dental Arts want to explore this issue in greater detail. Read on to see how sleep loss can affect your immune system and make you sick.
Sleep is crucial to maintaining your immune system
During the deepest stages of sleep, your body produces proteins that are crucial to keeping your immune system functioning at optimum levels. These proteins are especially beneficial in protecting you against the harmful effects of stress, inflammation, and infections. Without these proteins, your immune system loses some of its effectiveness in neutralizing bacteria and viruses when you become exposed.
A 2017 study conducted at the Medicine Sleep Center at the University of Washington is the latest piece of scientific evidence. Researchers studied 11 sets of identical twins that differed only in their sleep patterns. They found that each twin that had sleep problems also was more prone to getting sick, compared to their sibling, with the sleep-deprived twin demonstrating both a depressed immune system and an increased inflammatory response.
Sleep deprivation is more widespread in our society than you might think
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one of every three adults does not get the recommended amount of sleep. If you are an adult between the ages of 18 and 60, you should try to average a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. However, deep sleep is more important than how long you sleep. In other words, a person who gets six hours of continuous, uninterrupted sleep is going to be more rested and enjoy more of the benefits of sleep than a person who sleeps for 9-10 hours but has their sleep interrupted during the night.
We all experience a restless night from time to time, but living with consistent sleep loss definitely has a negative effect on your physical and mental health. Living with sleep deprivation over the long term actually magnifies your risk factor of a variety of serious, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses. This list of ailments includes cardiac disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.
Sleep disorder deprives more than 50 million Americans of restful sleep
According to data compiled by the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million adults in the United States suffer from some type of sleep disorder. One of the most serious types of sleep disorders is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway becomes impeded or completely blocked when you lay down to sleep. These blockages may occur due to a collapse of soft tissue in the throat, or if there is not enough room in the mouth to accommodate the tongue and tonsils—especially people with an underdeveloped dental arch.
Sleep apnea is a serious problem that requires proper diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional. A sleep apnea dentist possesses unique, specialized, post-graduate training to identify a problem with the airway and then treat the sleep breathing disorder using noninvasive measures.
Treating sleep apnea in Agoura Hills
At Integrative Dental Arts we prefer to use oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea. This involves wearing a dental mouthpiece that keeps the airway clear during sleep by re-positioning the lower jaw. This type of treatment often has a higher success rate and a better tolerance rate than CPAP—considered the “go-to” method of treating sleep apnea.
To learn more about how the sleep apnea dentists at Integrative Dental Arts can help you get the rest you need, call us at (818) 889-0400 to schedule a consultation.
Integrative Dental Arts provides comprehensive oral health care to patients in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village in southern California.