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Frank L. Higginbottom, D.D.S. | Richard B. Derksen, D.M.D., M.S. | Sloan W. Hildebrand, D.D.S., M.S. | Priscila Schaefer. D.D.S.
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Why Sleeping Pills Could Do More Harm Than Good for Sleep Apnea

June 12, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — dallasesthetics @ 5:09 pm
Woman taking sleeping pills to manage sleep apnea

If you have sleep apnea, you’ve probably wondered if sleeping pills would help. With sleep apnea affecting tens of millions of Americans every day, it’s not unreasonable to assume that sedatives like these could help you stay asleep throughout the night and feel rested the next morning. Unfortunately, experts on sleep apnea note that these sedatives could actually be doing more harm than good. Learn why from a sleep professional and what they recommend to manage sleep apnea symptoms instead.

How Do Sleeping Pills Work?

When it comes to sedatives, there are multiple types of medications out there that work to make sleeping easier. For example, diphenhydramine is a type of antihistamine that’s typically found in allergy medications like Benadryl or other similar brands. While they are mainly used to manage allergies and cold symptoms, they are also used to aid with sleep-apnea induced insomnia.

Alternatively, sleeping pills like trazadone are also known to help with sleep problems. It’s not uncommon for patients who struggle with sleep to reach for these antidepressants as sleep apnea is known for having a direct affect on mood. In serious cases, sleep apnea can even lead to depression, making drugs like trazadone even more appealing for managing symptoms.

Why Sleeping Pills Don’t Help Sleep Apnea

The problem with sedatives like these, whether they be diphenhydramine or trazadone, is how they affect the airway. Sleep apnea occurs when the tongue and lower jaw become so relaxed that they effectively block the smooth flow of air through the throat. While these medications help to quiet the mind and relax the body so sleep can occur, they also make a partially collapsed airway even more relaxed. If you’re currently taking medications like these with the intention of getting better sleep, in reality you may just be increasing the number of apneas you experience in a given night!

Treatments to Consider Instead

Thankfully, there are other options out there designed to target sleep apnea directly. Experts on sleep apnea treatment recommend oral appliance therapy as a starting point. These small, custom-made devices work to reposition the jaw and keep the airway open during sleep. This prevents obstructions in the mouth, allowing air to flow smoothly while breathing. Not only does this reduce snoring, but it ensures you stay asleep through the night.

Sleeping pills don’t really cut to the real problems causing sleep apnea in the first place, which is why it’s important to see a professional who’s trained to recognize the symptoms and be able to prescribe treatment directly. Get in touch with a dentist today to receive your future oral appliance!

About Dallas Esthetics

While the dentists at Dallas Esthetics are trained to perform many dental treatments, they are also capable of addressing sleep apnea symptoms through the use of highly personalized oral appliances designed using an advanced digital impression system. To schedule an appointment and start managing your sleep apnea, you can contact them through their website.

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Sleep Apnea