You know that when you don’t get good sleep, you feel drowsy during the day. Maybe you struggle to focus at work or to have energy to do much beyond the bare minimum. You may be tempted to brush it off as unimportant, but consistent sleep deprivation can have serious effects in the long run on your health, specifically on your heart. In this post, learn more about the relationship between sleep and your cardiovascular health and what your sleep dentist may be able to do to help.
Poor Sleep and Cardiovascular Disease
In the past, sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to an increase in the risk factors of cardiovascular disease, such as inflammation, blood pressure, glucose levels, and obesity. Conditions like sleep apnea that interfere with sleep quality have also been linked to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. On top of this research, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that participants who slept less than 6 hours were 27 percent more likely to have atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in their arteries throughout the body, than those who received a healthy quantity of sleep (7 to 8 hours). Another finding of the study indicates that those who had poor quality of sleep were 34 percent more likely to have atherosclerosis than those who had good quality of sleep.
Although more studies are needed to prove whether improving sleep promotes better heart health, for now, it’s clear that sleeping for enough hours and achieving and maintaining restful sleep every night can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
How Your Sleep Dentist Can Help
Those who get insufficient quantity of sleep can make lifestyle changes to address that aspect of sleep deprivation. However, for those who frequently wake during the night and suffer from sleep apnea, what can be done to improve their quality of sleep? Some dentists specialize in sleep medicine and can provide treatment for this condition through two common treatments: a CPAP machine or an oral appliance or both. A CPAP machine helps to keep the airways open during sleep, while an oral appliance repositions the lower jaw to keep facial tissues from obstructing breathing. For more severe cases of sleep apnea, combined therapy with both solutions may alleviate symptoms and allow for better sleep.
Getting good sleep is about more than just feeling more alert and energized. It could reduce your chances of heart disease and potentially add years to your life when you can enjoy better health and better quality of life. If you have sleep apnea or don’t sleep for a sufficient amount of time each night, take the necessary steps to improve your sleep. Your heart will thank you for it.
About the Author
In addition to over 30 years of dental experience, Dr. Mitch Conditt is board certified in dental sleep medicine and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. He also is a member of several professional sleep organizations, such as the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines. To schedule an appointment with him, you can call (817) 527-8500 or click here.