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Sleep Apnea & The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

October 5, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — pontevedra @ 8:52 am
Woman yawning while driving.

If you suffer from sleep apnea in Ponte Vedra Beach, then you probably know all about how the condition can impact your daily routine—including your commute to work! But driving while tired is seriously risky, and your sleep apnea is actually endangering your life in these situations. Here’s more about sleep apnea and how it can cause problems including drowsy driving, along with some common signs of the condition and how your dentist can help.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

If your sleep apnea is causing you to wake up repeatedly throughout the night, you’ll experience daytime fatigue, among other symptoms. Doing anything while exhausted might prove challenging or risky but driving while drowsy is much more dangerous than you may realize. Microsleeps are when a person dozes off for just a few seconds, and when they occur while you’re driving, the chance of a car accident happening drastically goes up.

And even if you aren’t falling asleep, the sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can lead to mental impairment. In fact, according to research from the National Sleep Foundation, drowsiness can negatively affect your driving performance in a way similar to alcohol. Additionally, data shows that drowsy driving results in a disturbingly high number of auto accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 6,000 deadly crashes every year caused by drowsy driving!

Common Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

If left untreated, drowsiness isn’t the only problem your sleep apnea will cause; serious health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even diabetes can develop. To avoid all of these symptoms, some common signs and symptoms you should watch for include:

  • Frequent yawning or blinking and daytime sleepiness.
  • Lethargy or lack of energy throughout the day.
  • Loud snoring while sleeping.
  • A dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up.
  • Insomnia or restless sleep.

How Your Sleep Dentist Can Help

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition, meaning that it won’t simply go away on its own; but with the help of your sleep dentist, its symptoms can be managed, and you can get back to getting a good night’s sleep—and in turn, avoid driving while drowsy. If you are able to receive a sleep apnea diagnosis, treatment options include things like oral appliances, CPAP machines, lip and tongue ties, and more. In addition to seeking treatment, you might also consider your sleep hygiene, which includes your habits and sleep setting; even the little things like lighting, temperature, and your diet can influence your sleep.

Managing your sleep apnea is possible with the help of your sleep dentist; and by doing so, you’re not just ensuring a better night’s sleep—you’re also protecting yourself every time you get behind the wheel and fasten your seatbelt.

About the Practice

The team at Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry is proud to serve patients and families in Ponte Vedra Beach and the surrounding area under the leadership of Dr. Kristopher Harth and Dr. Eric Townsend. Both Dr. Harth and Dr. Townsend have several years of experience in a wide range of fields, and their practice is pleased to offer many available services including sleep apnea therapy. If you have any questions about sleep apnea or would like to schedule a visit, feel free to contact the practice online or over the phone for assistance: (904) 285-7711.

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