I’ve been forgetting things a lot lately, even common everyday things. I started to panic that I had early onset Alzheimers. However, after seeing my doctor about that he said he did not see any evidence of it. While I was at the dentist, I was having trouble remembering things again. I was yawning a lot as well. He asked how I’d been sleeping. I told him I get all my hours but still wake up tired. He thinks I may have sleep apnea and said that could be affecting my memory. Is that really a possibility?
Yes, sleep apnea can affect your memory. It can also lead to weight gain and increase your chances of heart disease or a stroke, so I would definitely look into it. One of the signs of sleep apnea is waking up tired even though you had a “full” night’s sleep. The reason for that is because you are not actually getting all that sleep. With obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat relax into your windpipe, blocking your airway. This causes your body to startle you awake enough to move those muscles and allow you to breathe again. This cycle can repeat itself many times throughout the night. You never fully wake up so don’t realize it is happening. However, it is exhausting and stressful on your body.
The good news is there is a solution. Your first step is to have a sleep study done in order to make sure this is actually what is going on with you. In most cases, your insurance will cover it if you get a prescription for one. If you do have sleep apnea, your dentist can fit you with a simple orthotic device that moves your jaw into the proper sleep position and clears your breathing passage. Before you know it, you are actually waking up refreshed.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.