Sleep Apnea: Common Symptoms and Tips to Get Better Sleep

Sleep Apnea: Common Symptoms and Tips to Get Better Sleep
Smiles On Hickman

Smiles On Hickman


As per the National Sleep Foundation, almost one in four individuals with obstructive sleep apnea also grinds their teeth at night. 

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea & Teeth Grinding

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder in which the muscles of your throat obstruct the airways, causing you to stop breathing for a certain duration of time while sleeping. Undiagnosed sleep apnea can cause teeth grinding or bruxism. If you are often waking up at night with earaches, headaches, and tight jaw muscles, you are most likely suffering from teeth grinding. 

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea 

Some common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Hyper insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness 
  • Insomnia or trouble staying asleep
  • Waking up with a sore throat, dry mouth or headache
  • Waking up gasping or shortness of breath
  • Waking up frequently to use the bathroom
  • Concentration and memory difficulties
  • Mood swings and increased irritability 

Risks of Continued Sleep Apnea & Teeth Grinding

If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, poor immune function, acid reflux, memory loss, mental health issues, and increased risk of heart failure or stroke. It can also loosen up and wear down your teeth, causing damage to your tooth enamel, fillings, and crowns over time. However, if treated properly, both these conditions can be cured and your sleep quality can be improved.

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Quality

Most of the symptoms that impair your sleep quality can be relieved through simple lifestyle changes listed below. 

  • Manage stress levels since bruxism usually appears as a response to stress.
  • Maintain a healthy weight (obesity can cause airway obstruction).
  • Try yoga for improved oxygen flow and respiratory strength.
  • Limit alcohol consumption as it relaxes the throat muscles. Alcohol typically leads to irregular sleep cycles and snoring as well as causes inflammation of your airways and blocks your breathing.
  • Quit smoking to avoid swelling and inflammation in your throat.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back as it restricts airflow. Try to sleep in a different position.
  • Use a humidifier 

Apart from making these lifestyle changes, also make sure to improve your sleep hygiene, such as:

  • Reserve the bedroom exclusively for sleeping.
  • Keep a steady sleep schedule even on weekends.
  • Avoid caffeine as much as possible, especially in the evenings.
  • Avoid blue light from mobile screens at least one hour before bed.
  • Finish your dinner at least 2-3 hours before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom dark and cool.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Exercise daily.

If none of the above methods help with your bruxism and sleep apnea, you may need medication, surgery, or use of oral night guards to ensure that your airway remains open while you sleep. You can find a Dentist in Des Moines to discuss your options to treat bruxism and get started on a path to better sleep.

Smiles On Hickman

Smiles On Hickman

Smiles on Hickman is a family dental practice located in Des Moines, IA. We are committed to providing the best, personalized dental care solutions to patients and their families. Our well-trained and experienced team of dentist in Des Moines,IA ensures that our patients feel comfortable during their visit with us. We use advanced dental techniques that enable us to provide quality care in the fields of cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, sedation dentistry, oral surgery, and more. We strive to form long-lasting bonds with all our patients and offer them a lifetime of healthy smiles.