The average adult requires seven hours or more of sleep each night. But many adults don’t get that much. The continuous demands of daily life can make it hard to relax at night, and sometimes it might seem like you just don’t have enough time to let your head hit the pillow for that long. In other cases, you may try to get the required sleep per night but you just don’t wake up rested. Whatever it is keeping you from those daily zzz’s, the consequences of insufficient sleep can wreak havoc on your day to day life.

Help! How can I get a better night’s sleep?

Are you waking up feeling just as tired as you were when you went to bed the night before? Or are you experiencing one of these other signs of a less-than-optimal night of sleep?

  • You wake up frequently, keeping you from getting adequate deep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
  • Your bed partner complains that you snore or grind your teeth.
  • You wake up frequently with a sore throat or headache.
  • You struggle with insomnia.
  • You nod off to sleep easily or get extra drowsy during the day.

4 Common Sleep Disorders

If you are experiencing one or more of the above, chances are that you have a health condition that is causing your lack of sleep. In fact, sleep disorders can be the contributing factor that is keeping you from waking rested.

1. Sleep Apnea

According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your throat muscles relax and block the flow of air into your lungs. This usually causes the sleeper to wake up frequently during the night so that they can get more air.

2. Open Mouth Breathing

Not only does open mouth breathing cause issues during the day, but it can cause issues at night too. When you breathe with your mouth open, it can cause dry mouth, a sore throat, bad breath, and brain fog. But open mouth breathing at night can also lead to snoring, morning headaches, and daytime sleepiness from sleep deprivation.

3. Snoring

Snoring is one of the signs of sleep apnea, but it can cause other issues too. Snoring happens when something restricts your airflow while you are sleeping. And if you are a loud or long-term snorer (you don’t just snore when you are congested), it can increase your chances of a heart attack, stroke, or other health concerns. Snoring can even wake you up, which is yet another reason why you might not be getting enough deep or REM sleep.

4. Sleep Bruxism

The main symptom of sleep bruxism is involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep. Think of it as chewing, but at night when you are sleeping and there is no food in your mouth. Though bruxism is more common in children and young adults, it affects adults too, and the force put on the teeth can be enough to keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Not only that, but sleep bruxism can be noisy, making it hard for your sleep partner to rest. And, clenching and grinding your teeth at night can wear away your dental enamel, which can contribute to tooth sensitivity or, worse, chips and cracks.

How do I know which condition is keeping me from sleeping?

The good news here is that if you are having trouble sleeping, your dentist might be able to help. Dentists can often pick up on the signs that you might have one of these conditions. For example, if your teeth are worn down, it could indicate that you are suffering from sleep bruxism. And, if you are all of a sudden experiencing cavities, it could be a sign you are breathing through your mouth at night.

Treatments for a Better Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your mood and can create less risk of you developing chronic health issues down the road, such as heart disease. Further, when you are well rested, your hormone levels are better balanced and your body can better pick up on hunger and fullness signals, leaving less risk for overeating.

Now that you know some of the primary causes of poor sleep, let’s address how to get a better night’s sleep. If you are suffering from bruxism or sleep apnea, a custom-made oral sleep appliance may be helpful. Your dentist may prescribe an oral device that fits over your teeth like a retainer, supporting your jaw in a forward position to keep your airway open.

If bruxism is the concern, a night guard might be the solution. Night guards are similar to mouthguards used in contact sports. They protect your teeth by working as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. When you clench your jaw at night, the mouthguard forces this tightening to loosen up to prevent tooth grinding.

If you have a sleep disorder and that is not a field your dentist is familiar with, you might want to find one who is so all your oral health needs can be met. And though dentists cannot diagnose sleep disorders, they can help with a solution to address your diagnosed disorder. If you have been searching for a dentist for sleep apnea in Plano, TX, we’re happy to tell you that the team at Millennium Dental can help.

If you want help getting a better night’s sleep, request an appointment today.