Sleep is as important to your health as diet and exercise. Without enough sleep, it’s impossible to live your life to its fullest. By the most basic definition, anyone who doesn’t get enough quality sleep has a “sleep disorder”-a broad term that is used to identify a range of problems. Sleep problems have many causes:

  • It could be a problem with your airway and/or your breathing, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • It could be a problem with the way signals travel to and from your brain, such as narcolepsy.
  • It could be a condition that causes uncontrollable leg movements at night – that is, restless legs syndrome.
  • It could be one of the many problems that lead to insomnia, such as stress.

Causes1Sleep disorders are common among patients who suffer from allergies, ulcers, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. There are also a number of medications, including beta blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure) and antidepressants, which can interfere with sleep.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a lack of restful sleep, a smart first step is to discuss your concerns with a dentist who is certified in dental sleep medicine. He or she will review your dental and medical history, evaluate airway using state-of-the-art rhinometer/pharyngometer testing and, if warranted recommend treatment or refer you to the right kind of specialist.