Do you sleep looking forward to a great night’s rest only to wake up feeling like you never went to sleep at all? Does this lack of sleep cause you to feel tired throughout the day, affecting your overall concentration and work effort? If so, your lingering daytime sleepiness may be a sign of sleep apnea that has gone undiagnosed and untreated. This isn’t very surprising. Although sleep apnea affects about 25% of adult men and nearly 10% of women in Denver, about 80-90% of cases remain undiagnosed. 

Of course, a sporadic feeling of tiredness that does not occur daily or weekly should not alarm anyone, as we all can have a bad night’s sleep. However, if your drowsiness lasts for weeks and you find yourself napping most days, it may be time to speak to Denver sleep dentist Dr. Kevin Berry. Dr. Berry can arrange a sleep test so you can determine whether you have sleep apnea or not. 

man sleeping peacefully

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apneics do not experience being well-rested simply because they are not well-rested. 

In sleep apnea, you stop breathing at night while you sleep. Sensing oxygen shortage, your brain wakes you just enough to resume breathing. You may not know it, but this may happen hundreds of times a night. This not only starves the body of necessary oxygen but also disturbs the normal sleeping pattern as the periods of non-breathing are known to negatively impact the brain. Every time you have to wake up, it disrupts your sleep patterns. This reduces the amount of sleep you get and keeps you from reaching the restorative deep sleep your body and mind need to be truly rested. 

If you come to consciousness because of sleep apnea, you may not know why. You are more likely to attribute the wakefulness to a need to urinate, a nightmare, or another cause. 

Why Sleep Apnea Goes Undiagnosed

Sleep apnea is a very common condition that many Denver patients suffer from for months before receiving a proper diagnosis. Patients will continuously ask, “why am I so tired?” and may be given temporary relief to their sleep problems. People may occasionally catch up on sleep by taking an extraordinarily long sleep on the weekend or potentially get an individual good night’s sleep. 

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because people don’t know about the condition. Also, everyone is tired in Denver, so they might not realize that they’re much more tired than other people. Another problem is that many doctors don’t know much about the condition. A doctor doesn’t see you sleeping, so they can’t see what’s happening. As a result, doctors may diagnose you with other explanations for your exhaustion, such as low testosterone, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, or even depression. They may even prescribe treatments related to their diagnosis.

But, if sleep apnea is the cause of one’s sleepiness, the only permanent way to stop the tired feeling is to be given proper sleep apnea treatment. Although CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is considered the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, it doesn’t always resolve sleepiness. You might need to consider alternative treatments. 

Sleep Apnea Symptoms to Watch for

man snoring and woman covering her earsHow do you know if you might have sleep apnea? Some common sleep apnea symptoms you might experience include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Daytime napping
  • Dozing off at work or while driving
  • Loss of interest and engagement
  • Nighttime urination
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Moodiness or low mood
  • Morning headaches

In addition, other people who sleep in your bed, room, or house might report:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)
  • Restless sleep

If you feel sleepy during the day on most days of the week and have any of the other symptoms above, it’s time to consider that you might have sleep apnea. 

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis in Denver

If you have found that you are sleeping 6-8 hours each night and still feel tired constantly, sleep apnea may be depriving you of quality, restorative sleep. Use our screening test to see whether your sleepiness means you’re at high risk for sleep apnea. 

The only way to know if you have sleep apnea is with a sleep test. Fortunately, it’s easier to get a sleep test than ever. You had to go to a sleep lab for a sleep test in the past. Now, most people can take a home sleep test. This analyzes your sleep in the comfort of your own bed, so you don’t have the inconvenience of scheduling a test at a sleep lab, then trying to sleep in a strange bed. Plus, a sleep test is less expensive than a lab sleep test, and your insurance still covers it.

Denver sleep dentist Dr. Berry can facilitate your sleep apnea diagnosis by coordinating a sleep test and getting a sleep physician to interpret the results. If you already have a sleep apnea diagnosis, he can help you get an alternative to CPAP treatment, such as oral appliance therapy. With the proper treatment administered to you, your daytime sleepiness and other sleep apnea symptoms will become things of the past. 

You’ll be able to wake up each day feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! Contact Denver sleep dentist Dr. Berry online or call (303) 691-0267 today to schedule a sleep apnea treatment consultation at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado, near I-25 and Colorado Blvd in Denver’s Virginia Village neighborhood.