Dreaming of a Good Night’s Sleep
“Looking back, I could see where my health was declining and my relationships were becoming strained, and I didn’t know why,” Gail explains. Gail was at a loss for understanding why she was feeling so overwhelmed. Her mood swings at home and at work were puzzling, and she’d lost joy in the things she had once loved to do. The thought of dealing with holiday festivities brought feelings of anxiety instead of the joy she was accustomed to. What Gail discovered was that she was sleep-deprived and suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Gail’s experience is not unique. For many people, the holidays are a time of increased stress, anxiety, and depression. An article published in Psychology Today titled, What We Know About the Holiday Blues, identifies that the “holiday blues are a real phenomenon.” Stressors experienced during the holiday season can range from end-of-year work deadlines, to family gatherings, to financial concerns. However, when these stressors are combined with sleep deprivation caused by a sleep disorder, a time of year that should be filled with joy, family and friendship, can easily feel like an accident waiting to happen.
Sleep deprivation from OSA can lead to a variety of problems, ranging from hormone imbalances to impaired cognitive skills, heart issues, and drowsy driving. Yet, surprisingly, our society does not always place a priority on sleep. Dr. Rod Willey, founder of Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders notes, “Of the three pillars of health and wellness – Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep – society tends to see sleep as negotiable. However, it is an extremely vital pillar that should not be overlooked.”
Gail learned that the effects of sleep deprivation are far reaching and can have an impact on professional development, family life, and overall health. After a visit to Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders, Gail discovered that OSA is a chronic condition that interrupts sleep and causes stress on the heart. A typical sequence of an apneic episode occurs when a person falls asleep and the tongue and muscles relax. As a result, the lower jaw and soft tissues fall back toward the throat, and the airway is blocked. This causes for breathing to stop for anywhere from a few seconds to over a minute, until the brain causes the body to jerk in an attempt to wake the sleeper so that breathing can resume. Once back to sleep, however, the cycle can occur hundreds of times per night, causing sleep to be fragmented and fitful. Some of the signs and symptoms of OSA include waking multiple times throughout the night, daytime sleepiness, snoring, mood swings, high blood pressure, decreased cognitive skills, depression and anxiety. When left untreated, OSA may lead to a heart attack, stroke or even death.
Fortunately for Gail, and others like her, Koala® can help by providing a custom fabricated oral sleep appliance that is comfortable and easy to wear, and that provides reliable and effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Gail tells us, “Since being fitted with the oral sleep appliance, I’m enjoying family, friends and festivities again. I’m so grateful to the Koala® staff for helping me get the sleep I need. I’m living the dream, with a good night’s sleep.”
Check our Locations Page to find a Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders near you and discover how you can get a good night’s sleep too!
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