If you’re like most Americans around this time of year, you’ve made one or more New Year’s resolutions to help you become a better person in the coming year.
However, for many common resolutions, sleep apnea makes keeping them harder. If you have sleep apnea symptoms, you should consider talking to Woburn and Winchester sleep dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy at Divine Smiles about treatment options – if you want to have any chance of keeping your resolutions.
The top resolution most years is trying to get fit. More people want to get fit through a combination of getting more exercise and losing weight (more on this in a moment). That’s why so many gyms in Woburn and Winchester are so full in January.
Unfortunately, sleep apnea makes it hard to get fit, with numerous impacts on your health. First, sleep apnea makes it hard for you to find the time and energy to work out. People with sleep apnea have a hard time getting up in the morning, and they spend more time trying to catch up on sleep. Feeling tired all the time can make it hard to make yourself exercise. Plus, sleep apnea reduces your lung capacity, leaving you with a reduced ability to metabolize oxygen to get a good workout.
The metabolic effects of sleep apnea on your body increase your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and more. Even if you are successful at implementing diet and exercise protocols in the coming year, it might not be enough to overcome sleep apnea’s impact on your health.
In addition to hitting the gym, many people in Woburn and Winchester join weight loss programs, but sleep apnea becomes a serious obstacle. Weight gain and sleep apnea have a complicated, mutually reinforcing relationship. Gaining weight makes obstructive sleep apnea more likely as fat on or around your airway leads to increased obstruction and makes it more likely that your airway will collapse.
Unfortunately, once you have sleep apnea, it also makes weight gain more likely.
During sleep, your body performs vital functions for regulating your body’s metabolism. Sleep apnea disrupts the process, skewing your body’s metabolism in favor of using less energy and storing more of it as fat.
Being sleepy during the day makes you reach for aids to help you stay awake. Snacks are a common choice, as are caffeinated drinks, which often include high levels of fat and sugar. Even diet soda can increase your risk of weight gain.
Being tired during the day can increase your craving for junk food. In addition, tiredness impacts your impulse control, making it harder for you to resist the temptation to break whatever diet you’ve set out for yourself.
Often, getting sleep apnea treatment is the best weight loss program you can join.
Saving money is the third most popular New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where sleep apnea can hit you hardest. First, there’s the money that you might spend at the vending machine or–even worse–the corner coffee shop trying to stay awake. Then, there are all the little things that you might buy because of your reduced impulse control.
People with sleep apnea are more likely to be involved in car accidents. We often focus on the deadly car accidents that sleep apnea can cause, but even minor car accidents can be a significant drain on your ability to save money over the course of the year.
However, likely the biggest impact sleep apnea will have on your ability to save is through medical expenses. Sleep apnea can significantly increase your medical costs, and those costs are likely to go up year after year. One recent study of truck drivers showed that untreated sleep apnea led to about $5000 a year more in medical expenses.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re saving for retirement, sleep apnea will dramatically raise the bar of your savings needs. A Medicare study found that retirees with untreated sleep apnea (average age 72) had about $20,000 more in medical expenses each year than those without sleep apnea.
Another leading New Year’s resolution is spending more time with family. However, sleep apnea makes it really hard to do this. On a daily basis, people with sleep apnea are tired and likely to fall asleep during many everyday activities. You might get home from work and find you don’t have the energy to do much with your family. You might try playing with kids or doing crafts but it seems like too much work. On the other hand, activities like watching TV, reading, or playing a game might just lead to you falling asleep–hardly quality time.
The weekends can be even more lost. Some people with sleep apnea give their entire weekends over to sleep in the hopes that they might be able to finally get some rest. The trouble is that it’s not likely to work. Sleep apnea impacts your quality of sleep to such an extent that you might never get enough quality sleep.
Are you tired of the toll that sleep apnea is taking on your quality of life? If you want a New Year’s resolution that will really make your life better this year, it might be time to talk to a sleep dentist about your condition. Woburn and Winchester sleep dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy at Divine Smiles is ready to help.
By Ryan M. Clancy, DMD, MAGD, LVIF, FPFA, FIAPA | January 5th, 2023 | Sleep Apnea
Dr. Ryan Clancy and every member of our team are here to help guide you to your healthiest, most confident smile. Take the first step by scheduling a full assessment of your concerns, and begin designing your ideal smile and personalized treatment plan.