Alcohol's Effects on Sleep Apnea
While many people believe that a drink or two before bed can help with sleeping, for people with sleep apnea, drinking alcohol before bed is risky. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you are sleeping. It causes loud snoring every night and can increase your risk of having high blood pressure.
When sleep apnea is left untreated, it may lead to stroke, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes. This disorder is serious and should not be neglected. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. At Smile Family Dentistry, we can help reduce the risks sleep apnea can cause with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines and other treatments.
Change How Your Airways Work
Consuming alcohol can affect your body in so many different ways. Though you will not feel it right away after a sip or two, the long-term effect will eventually show up. Heavy alcohol drinkers may notice the effects sooner than people who drink moderately. Drinking alcohol can change how your airways work and contribute to sleep apnea. Alcohol relaxes the upper part of your airways and it makes them more vulnerable to collapse. It also increases nasal resistance which decreases the flow of air and worsens sleep apnea.
Increase Your BMI
Many people do not realize the risks of drinking too much alcohol to the body. One of them is obesity or excessive fat accumulation. Abnormal weight is linked to many deadly diseases, including diabetes and cancer. Drinking alcohol seven times per week is associated with gaining a lot of weight. Obesity is one of the major factors that increase the risk of sleep apnea development. If you have an existing sleep disorder, drinking alcohol and being overweight can make it worse.
Reduce Your Brain's Response
Alcohol can also reduce your brain's function while sleeping. Drinking alcohol before you go to bed can diminish your arousal response. It is when your brain alerts the body when your airways are blocked, immediately waking you up to get more air. Without it, your body is more likely to not interrupt an apneic event. This will cause your body to not get enough oxygen and make you tired and experience daytime drowsiness. Alcohol also disrupts your body's melatonin production making it harder to sleep normally.
Solution For Sleep Apnea
CPAP machines are the most reliable method of sleep apnea treatment. A CPAP machine can keep your airway open by pushing a steady stream of air through a mask. This can help you sleep better and snore less. Obstructive sleep apnea and drinking alcohol do not go along with each other. Reducing your intake or completely putting an end to alcohol drinking can be a great help.
If you or someone close to you is dealing with sleep apnea, it is understandable to want to find a treatment for it. A CPAP machine can help to open your airways for a better night’s sleep. For more information about CPAP or other sleep apnea treatments, do not hesitate to call us at 925-825-1130, or visit us at Smile Family Dentistry today.