You see them almost everywhere you go. In grocery store lines, the movie theater, and even in your own home, people staring incessantly at their phones. So much about the modern world has demanded their use, especially if we want to stay connected with family members far away. But many suspect they may be to blame for a whole slew of disorders, including depression and anxiety. When considering that ADD and ADHD has been steadily rising for the last ten years, many have also pointed their fingers toward phone use as the cause.
If you’ve been struggling to keep up with work or simply finding the motivation to do daily tasks, it can be tempting to also blame ADD or ADHD. Many of us have certainly experienced the symptoms: avoiding mentally strenuous work, difficulty staying organized, etc. But before you seek out testing from a mental health facility, it’s important to consider what scientists recently discussed at a conference in Paris, that sleep and ADHD may be intimately connected.
Sleep Deprivation Can Mimic ADHD Symptoms
Dr. Preston Wiles, an ADHD expert with the O’Donnell Brain Institute, raised concerns about an increasing number of children and adults taking ADHD medications. To him, the trend is fueled in a large part by a lack of qualified clinicians who are able to accurately diagnose ADHD, especially in the behavior of children. In many cases, a lack of sleep can cause symptoms very similar to ADHD, such as hyperactivity or inattentiveness. Worse, many ADHD medications can disrupt sleep patterns even more. The average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
But what if you think you’re getting enough sleep, and you still have the symptoms. It may be more complicated than you think. If you spend enough time in bed but still show signs of sleep deprivation you may have sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes pauses in your natural breathing cycle while sleeping. Pauses in the breathing cycle are natural, but if they occur more than 4 times in one hour, they can begin to disrupt the body’s blood oxygen level, increasing your chance of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even death. Generally, there are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and Central sleep apnea. OSA is the most common, and is caused by the blockages in the airflow. These blockages can be from an overly large tongue, large neck, sinuses, and other causes. It’s a very common disorder, but perhaps 80% of people with it don’t know they have it.
Treat Sleep Apnea and ADHD Symptoms
Snoring is closely related to sleep apnea. Most people with OSA are snorers. Daytime sleepiness, trouble concentrating, or lack of motivation, can also be symptoms. Getting better sleep by treating sleep apnea can often treat these symptoms, as well as others. If you’ve been diagnosed with OSA, your doctor might prescribe CPAP. However, the cleaning, noise, and discomfort, often make patients seek alternative treatments. We can provide a custom made mouthpiece designed to hold your airways open that is comfortable, and noiseless.
If you would like to learn more about your sleep apnea treatment options in Anchorage, please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at Denali Dental Care.