September 26, 2019
When most of us think of a diary, our minds conjure an image of a teenage girl gushing about the boy she likes. However, a diary can be about a lot more than that. For example, a sleep diary can be useful in making sure you get enough shuteye. It may also be helpful in diagnosing sleep apnea in Weatherford. If you’re having sleep troubles, taking a little time to keep a diary can be really helpful for your doctor to diagnose sleep disorders.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by episodes of not breathing while sleeping. It can be caused by the brain failing to signal to the respiratory system, tissues in the mouth and throat blocking the airway, or a combination of the two. Whatever the cause, this lack of oxygen raises your blood pressure and makes you wake up. Even if you don’t remember waking, sleep apnea can disrupt your sleep cycle, keeping you from getting the restful sleep you need.
You might have sleep apnea if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Waking with a sore throat, hoarse voice, or headache
- Frequent loud snoring
- Mood swings or depression
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Excessive daytime sleepiness even after plenty of sleep
Let your dentist or physician know if any of these signs sound familiar. The first step in diagnosing sleep apnea is to take a sleep test. One way to make that process easier is by keeping a sleep diary first.
How Do You Use a Sleep Diary?
Make a chart or get a journal with spaces to record several aspects of your daily life that could affect your quality of sleep. Some of these may include:
- How long you slept
- The amount of caffeine or alcohol you consumed and when
- What emotions you experienced
- What medications or drugs you took
- How many times you woke up during the night
If you’ve had more than a few nights in a row where your quality of sleep leaves something to be desired, keeping a sleep diary is a must. By seeing your sleep patterns over several nights, your doctor or dentist can usually help determine whether you should take a sleep study to be evaluated for a disorder such as sleep apnea.
How Can Your Dentist Help?
There are two main options for sleep apnea treatment in Weatherford: oral appliance therapy and CPAP continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Oral appliance therapy uses a clear tray worn over the teeth that gradually repositions the tongue and jaw, so the airway doesn’t get blocked during the night. CPAP therapy utilizes a machine connected to a nasal mask to essentially do your breathing for you. Combined therapy, while less common, uses a mix of the two.
If you think you might have sleep apnea, try keeping a sleep diary. If you’re unhappy with what your record, take your diary to your doctor or dentist. They can help you get the good quality rest you deserve.
About the Author
Dr. Deborah Romack graduated from the Baylor College of Dentistry in 1998. She is a member of several professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Dental Association. She is dedicated to keeping up with the latest advancement in sleep dentistry to improve her patients’ quality of life. If you’re struggling with sleep issues, schedule a consultation to see if you have sleep apnea by contacting Dr. Romack at (817) 594-3806.
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