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Feeling sleepy all the time? Perhaps its sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which can cause extreme fatigue due to sleep loss and can affect many areas of your life, including driving, relationships and the onset of depression.

Driving while tired is an established risk factor for being involved in a deadly accident. This hazardous situation can be caused by driving after too little sleep, but it can also result from untreated sleep apnea. In addition to placing themselves at risk, untreated sleep apnea sufferers threaten the lives of other drivers. Reduced judgment can result in speeding, unsafe lane changes and mistaking red lights for green ones.


How sleep apnea can change your life

Sleep apnea and snoring can hurt relationships as well as health and overall quality of life. The stress of the situation can erode a relationship over time. Here’s more about the link between sleep apnea, snoring and relationship problems and how to solve the problem.

Sleep apnea is marked by nightly breathing interruptions and, in many cases, snoring. Sufferers spend life in a haze, too tired to perform well or enjoy anything as much as they used to. When snoring is present, the sleep quality of bed partners is also affected, often making them feel resentful over time. Because the sleep apnea patient is always exhausted, he or she is likely to be humorless, grouchy and sapped of libido. This combination of sleep deprivation and loss of companionship can slowly draw a couple apart. Sleep apnea patients often sleep for a normal number of hours, making it common for couples to never realize that a sleep disorder is causing their loss of intimacy.


Sleep apnea and work output are a poor combination

Working while sleep deprived is a drain on everybody involved. For the exhausted employee, it can turn even the most enjoyable work into pure drudgery. For the employer, the situation spells loss of productivity. Sleep apnea and snoring are a common cause of daily fatigue, and afflicted workers risk not only their safety but also their job security if they go untreated.


Depression and snoring or sleep apnea

Lack of sleep has long been known to be a risk factor for depression. A night of poor sleep can ruin anyone’s mood, but long-term sleep loss can also cause more serious mood disruption. Furthermore, the loss of performance resulting from sleep deprivation can decrease self-esteem as sleep apnea sufferers become less able to handle work, social interaction and other daily activities as well as they once could. Over time, this can progress to clinical depression with symptoms such as lack of interest, low appetite and thoughts of death.


Find your way back to healthy sleep

A consultation at Brghtleaf Dental may be the first step towards reclaiming your ability to drive safely, keep your relationship, hold down your job and prevent depression.

After making a diagnosis, Dr. Ana Brightleaf will discuss treatment options with you. This can range from lifestyle changes for mild sleep apnea to clinical treatments for moderate or severe cases. In the latter case, this may include CPAP or newer, more easily tolerated treatments, such as oral appliances and soft tissue removal.

“Sleep apnea can cause extreme fatigue. It can influence your driving amongst other things.”


Your safety is at risk when you’re sleep deprived

tired driverDriving while tired is an established risk factor for being involved in a deadly accident. This hazardous situation can be caused by driving after too little sleep, but it can also result from untreated sleep apnea.

In addition to placing themselves at risk, untreated sleep apnea sufferers threaten the lives of other drivers.

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Driving under the influence

Getting behind the wheel is never totally safe, but the risk is higher with even slight sleep deprivation. Under conditions of extreme fatigue resulting from sleep apnea, driving becomes a serious hazard. Reduced judgment can result in speeding, unsafe lane changes and mistaking red lights for green ones.

Concentration is markedly reduced, increasing chances of colliding with other vehicles, driving in the wrong lane or even heading down the wrong side of the road. Reaction time is extended, making it more difficult to avoid what might otherwise have been near misses.

Even the ability to stay in one lane is affected by sleep loss, with effects similar to those seen in drunk drivers.


Make driving safer with sleep apnea treatment

With treatment, drivers who suffer from sleep apnea can once again drive with confidence.

For workers whose livelihood depends on keeping a safe driving record, sleep apnea treatment can mean continued employability. Parents can maintain peace of mind each time they drive their children to school or daycare.

All drivers share a responsibility to other drivers as well as themselves, making prompt sleep apnea treatment imperative for anyone who operates a vehicle.


The road to safer driving

Drivers battling sleep deprivation symptoms due to sleep apnea and snoring should seek treatment right away. First, however, the condition must be diagnosed. Santa Monica sleep apnea sufferers can visit Dr. Brightleaf at Brightleaf Dental to be diagnosed and treated. Depending on severity and symptoms, lifestyle changes or clinical treatments may be recommended. CPAP, oral appliances and soft tissue removal are three of the most popular treatments offered by Dr. Brightleaf.