As humans, we tend to do everything we can to hold onto youth for as long as possible. We might exercise diligently, use all sorts of skincare products, and always be on the lookout for tips on how to eat better. But did you know that the quality of your sleep can also affect how rapidly you age? Research suggests that sleep disordered breathing, such as what is associated with sleep apnea, can speed up the clock. Let’s talk about why that may be the case and how you can tell if you would benefit from sleep apnea treatment.
Sleep Disordered Breathing and the Aging Process
There are essentially two ways of measuring physical age. Chronological age is simply the length of time that has passed since you were born. Biological age is a metric that compares how your body is functioning compared to what is expected at your chronological age. Basically, it is how old a person seems to be rather than how old they actually are.
A study from 2019, which had more than 600 participants, found that untreated sleep disordered breathing can accelerate biological aging. This issue is more prevalent among women than men, but both sexes are vulnerable to it. The more severe the disordered breathing, the greater the impact on the aging process.
How Well Are You Sleeping?
One of the authors of the abovementioned study noted, “Our data highlight the potential for sleep-disordered breathing treatment to improve age-related chronic conditions and longevity.” Since sleep apnea is a leading cause of sleep disordered breathing, it stands to reason that individuals who suffer from it can slow down, or perhaps even reverse, their biological age by seeking appropriate professional help.
Here are some signs that you might benefit from sleep apnea treatment:
- You snore loudly.
- You often wake up with a sore throat or headache.
- You sometimes wake up gasping for air.
- You are often tired during the day despite spending 7 – 8 hours in bed.
- You struggle to control your emotions.
Turning Back the Clock
Once you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you can begin to learn about your treatment options. Many patients prefer an oral appliance because it is simple, portable, and comfortable. It works by slightly repositioning the jaw to keep the airway open and allow for easier breathing while you sleep.
Other things that may help to slow down aging and fight sleep apnea include:
- Losing excess body weight
- Quitting smoking
- Not drinking alcohol before bedtime
Sleep apnea could make you older than your age! Knowing how to recognize and treat this condition could help you hold onto your youth for as long as possible.
Meet the Practice
Dr. Mitch Conditt is an experienced, highly accomplished general dentist who is board certified in dental sleep medicine. He and our team specialize in helping patients conquer sleep apnea via oral appliance therapy. If you would like to learn more about how sleep apnea is diagnosed and treated, we would be pleased to assist you. Contact our office at 817-527-8500.