I’m talking about sleep. After finishing a mini-residency in Dental Sleep Medicine at Tufts nearly 5 years ago, I have continued to monitor the latest developments in the field. I have a new appreciation of how important sleep is to overall health and wellbeing.
Contrary to what seems to be common wisdom, people who sleep 6.5-7.5 hours night live longer than those who sleep 8 or more.
While sleep apnea gets most of the attention, something recently happened to me that prompted me to dig even deeper into the subject.
I do NOT have sleep apnea. I tested myself with a home sleep study, something you can easily do through our office. So, if I don’t have sleep apnea, why was I waking up tired and getting tired in the early evening? No, it’s not age, thank you.
While I did not have a sleep or disordered breathing issue (I can breathe through my nose and I do Buteyko breathing exercises), I do suffer from sleep bruxism. That means that I clench my jaw muscles during the night. And, you should know, that I have been wearing a retainer since my Invisalign treatment, so the clenching and grinding were not affecting my teeth. But, my jaw muscles were sore when I felt them.
About 6 weeks ago while at a conference in Las Vegas where I delivered a lecture, I met a dentist who had invented a system to improve sleep. This system called “Ripple” supposedly tackles several issues at once. Because it can reposition the jaw forward, it can open up the airway and help resolve airway obstructed breathing one of the chief causes of sleep apnea. But, unlike most other sleep appliances, it discourages clenching by decreasing jaw muscle activity. And, it also prevents teeth from shifting, something that often happens with wear and age.
Six weeks ago, Dr. Magness made a Ripple appliance for me. Since wearing it, I am more energetic upon waking and have more energy throughout the day. But why?
Apparently, the increased muscle activity from clenching and grinding during sleep kept me from getting truly deep stages 3, 4 or R.E.M. sleep. These are the portions of one’s sleep that really refreshes.