Sleep is critical to our health, along with physical and mental wellbeing.  There has been research done about sleep apnea and its effect on general health.  It is critical to have this diagnosed and treated if you are suffering from it.  Sleep apnea also has a negative impact on dental health.  Some of the effects are: increased tooth grinding at night (resulting in teeth, filling, and crown fracture and wear) and increased gum recession.

Here is some fascinating information about sleep that I have learned lately.  One great resource is Dr. Matthew Walker’s book, “Why we sleep”.  It is a New York Times best seller!

Sleep prepares the brain to receive new information. Slow wave or deep sleep is critical for this process. This has important implications for students.  Sleep deprived students experience dramatic decrease in their ability to learn new information.  All nighters are not beneficial!

Sleep also facilitates information storage.  The transfer and consolidation of short term memories into more permanent long term memories is done during sleep, like a computer’s “save” button.  Poor sleep inhibits this process.

Age related loss of deep sleep can start as early as the 20’s. By age 50, we typically have lost about half of our deep sleep.  By the age of 80, the brain waves associated with deep sleep have become difficult to detect.

Dr. Walker’s research suggests that improving quality of sleep may help reduce the amount of cognitive decline associated with ageing later in life.

Another fascinating aspect of sleep deprivation is that it increases loneliness. Lack of sleep triggers the onset of a ‘loneliness phenotype’.  This sleep deprivation induces changes in the brain, altering behaviour and emotion.  This results in further sleep loss which leads to social withdrawal and makes a feedback loop that increases loneliness and other mental health disorders.  In fact, Dr. Matthew Walker says: “We have not been able to discover a single psychiatric condition in which sleep is normal.”

One more impact lack of sleep creates is impaired glucose regulation and the promotion of obesity.  Dr. Walker says that a few days of impaired sleep can change good glucose management to something that looks like rapid onset of pre-diabetes. In fact, sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with developing or having diabetes.

At Braeside Dental Centre, we can help you with your sleep.

If you or your loved ones suffer from excessive snoring that is keeping you awake at night, we can help you get the good night’s sleep you deserve.  Or, if you suspect you, your partner, or one of your family members suffer from sleep apnea, talk to us!  We can help you get on the right track for a better sleep.

I hope this inspires you to get your ZZZZZZ’s!

Stay tuned for some sleep hygiene tips.

​Braeside Dental Centre


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