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How Sleep Apnea Disrupts the Normal Stages of Sleep

June 4, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drweiss @ 7:07 am
Man awake in bed suffering from sleep apnea in Skokie

Do you frequently feel tired or drowsy at work, even if you went to bed on time? You may suffer from sleep apnea, a common disorder that disrupts people’s sleep cycles. Getting quality rest is critical to staying healthy. Keep reading to learn about the different stages of sleep in Skokie and how sleep apnea can put your health at risk.

Stages 1 and 2: Light Sleep  

During the first stage of the sleep cycle, your eye movements begin to slow down. Your body is still somewhat alert to outside noises and other stimuli, which means it’s easy to be woken up. This period of light sleep typically only lasts for a few minutes.

Next, you move into stage 2 of the sleep cycle, in which your brain produces special waves called sleep spindles. These spindles help prevent you from waking up early due to outside stimuli. Although this stage is still considered fairly light sleep, it can take up roughly half of the full cycle.

Stage 3: Deep Sleep  

After moving through the light sleep stages, you reach the beginning of deep sleep. During stage 3, you become much less responsive to outside stimuli. Deep sleep during stages 3 and 4 allows the body to repair muscles and tissues, stimulates growth and development, and boosts the immune system.

Stage 4: REM Sleep

Most dreaming occurs during the final stage of the sleep cycle, known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During this period, the brain becomes more active, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and breathing becomes fast and irregular. The eyes also move quickly beneath your eyelids, which is how this stage gets its name. REM sleep, which can last up to an hour, also plays an important role in learning and memory function.

How Sleep Apnea Impacts Your Sleep

The average adult has five to six REM cycles each night. However, if you suffer from sleep apnea in Skokie, you likely will not spend enough time in stages 3 and 4.

Sleep apnea disrupts normal sleep cycles by causing breathing to cease for ten or more seconds at a time. These interruptions can occur dozens or even hundreds of times every night! Each time, the brain will wake up the body in order to start breathing again.  

If you do not spend enough time in the stages of deep sleep, your physical and mental capabilities will suffer. You may feel drowsy, tired, or irritable during the day and have difficulty concentrating during work. Sleep apnea has even been linked to serious long-term health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and Type 2 diabetes.

Don’t let a sleep disorder put your health at risk. Talk to your dentist today about how you may benefit from sleep apnea therapy.

About the Author

Dr. Brad Weiss is one of the leading dentists in dental sleep medicine on the North Shore and the Chicago area. He provides various types of custom oral appliances to help patients overcome sleep apnea in Skokie and achieve consistent, quality rest. To learn more about how sleep apnea interrupts normal sleep cycles, visit the Weiss Dental Arts website or call 847-864-0188.

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