Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. Chapter 3 Getting the Sleep You Need 81 Since stress can lead to bruxism, other treatment methods focus on reducing overall stress. For example, starting an exercise program can help manage stress. People who experience bruxism should also reduce their consumption of caffeinated foods and drinks, which tend to increase teeth grinding. Drinking more water can be helpful since dehydration, or a loss of fluid in the body, may also increase teeth grinding. In severe cases of bruxism, doctors may recommend a prescription medication to prevent the symptoms. Sleep Apnea Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which a person stops breathing for short periods of time during sleep. This disorder is usually associated with loud snoring, but not everyone who snores has this disorder. Many people have sleep apnea, but do not know it, or have not been diagnosed. Sleep apnea is most common among older people, and it is more common in men than in women. There are two types of sleep apnea (Figure 3.15). People with sleep apnea can suffer numerous side effects due to inadequate sleep and a lack of oxygen in their blood. These side effects include the following: • excessive daytime sleepiness • irritability or depression • morning headaches • decline in mental functioning • high blood pressure • irregular heartbeats • increased risk of heart attack and stroke • accidents, including car accidents Once a doctor diagnoses someone with obstructive sleep apnea, he or she will suggest possible treatments. One common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. CPAP therapy consists Types of Sleep Apnea Types of Sleep Apnea Obstructive sleep apnea Occurs when a person’s airway is obstructed, or blocked. Obstructive sleep apnea follows a cycle that may repeat hundreds of times a night. First, the sleeping person’s effort to inhale air creates suction that collapses the airway. This blocks the airflow for 10 seconds to a minute while the sleeping person struggles to breathe. When the level of oxygen in the person’s blood falls, the brain responds by awakening the person enough to tighten the upper throat muscles and open the airway. The person may snort or gasp, and then resume snoring. Central sleep apnea Occurs when the brain fails to send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing. This type of sleep apnea may be caused by other medical conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, or by sleeping at a high altitude. Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea. Figure 3.15 The two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central, are caused by different factors. What is the most common treatment for sleep apnea?