Our sleep is categorized in 4 main stages. They are awake, light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep (Rapid eye movement). During the first 2 phases of sleep, it is usually easy to be woken up. During deep sleep, blood pressure naturally drops as the body starts to heal itself. Long, slow brain waves are normal during this phase. When the deepest of sleep occurs, the patient is considered to be in REM sleep. This phase is critical to restore and recharge the brain. When someone is experiencing issues with memory, it may be a sign that not enough REM sleep is occurring.
When one is suffering from sleep apnea, deep sleep is often interrupted by the body’s lack of oxygen. When the brain registers there is not enough oxygen being absorbed, the body remains in a slightly awake state. During this abnormal state, people will often grind their teeth with incredible force. If this occurs for a long duration of time, people will acquire tooth wear, gum recession, and pain in the jaw. At your next dental check-up, your dentist may notice these signs of untreated sleep-disordered-breathing and recommend a sleep study. By having a sleep study done and being treated sooner rather than later, you will avoid causing irreversible damage to the teeth as well as other systemic health problems that come with improper sleeping habits.