As a dental professional, you are eager to not only help your patients achieve healthy smiles, but you also want to provide exceptional treatment that is designed to curb the symptoms of sleep apnea. When dealing with frequent interruptions throughout the night because of ceased breathing, a person may be unable to move through the different stages of sleep. As a result, this can leave them suffering from chronic fatigue and other, more serious problems. Discover why these individual stages are so important and what you can do to help.
Stages of Sleep 101: What Your Patients Need
Getting an adequate amount of sleep allows your body and brain to recharge and prepare for the following day. On average, it is recommended that most people try to get at least 7-9 hours of rest each night; however, this can be extremely difficult if a patient tells you they have sleep apnea. Frequent interruptions caused by the inability to breathe can occur multiple times during this timeframe, resulting in extreme fatigue the next day as well as irritability, forgetfulness, and even frequent headaches.
In your position as a dentist who provides sleep apnea treatment, it is necessary that you inform your patients of the various stages of sleep so they can better understand why they’re important to maintaining positive mental, physical, and total-body health. They include:
- Light sleep that involves the body remaining somewhat alert while eye movement slows down. Quickly, the shift from first to second stage occurs and the brain produces waves (sleep spindles) that minimize the potential for a person to suddenly wake throughout the night.
- Deep sleep is considered stage three and causes the body to fully relax and the muscles and tissues to be repaired. The body will also have its energy levels restored. This stage is particularly important for children and teens because it allows for the most growth and development.
- REM sleep is the final stage (4) and involves “rapid eye movement.” It is during this last phase that the eyes will move quickly, the heart rate will increase, blood pressure will rise, and breathing will become shallower.
Why Is It Important to Get Continuous Sleep?
When discussing with a patient the problems associated with sleep apnea, it’s important that you mention the stages of sleep. Being unable to achieve a full night’s rest can cause your patients to feel tired and lack the energy needed to be productive each day.
Personal and professional relationships can suffer as well as the individual’s mental and physical overall health. The longer sleep apnea remains untreated, the greater a patient’s risk for heart attack, stroke, and other serious issues. Not to mention, when an individual is consistently fatigued, they can be putting themselves and others at risk if they attempt to drive.
In your position as a sleep dentist, you can offer solutions to help your patients get adequate rest, experience each stage of sleep, and ultimately, enjoy a far better quality of life. Whether you recommend CPAP therapy, an oral appliance, or a combination of both, reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea will ensure your patients start resting better and breathing easier.
About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is a top professional in sleep medicine who has experience in treating, writing, and speaking about sleep disorders. His wealth of knowledge has helped other dentists integrate sleep apnea treatment into their own practices. At 21st Century Sleep Seminars, we can provide you with the information, tips, advice, and network of professionals you need to effectively treat these sleep disorders your patients are facing. To learn more, visit our website or call (972) 255-3712.