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“Heavy” Sleep: How Weighted Blankets Help Sleep Apnea

December 14, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — fresnofamilydental @ 7:35 am
A woman sleeping with a weighted blanket

As you might know, sleep apnea can ruin a good night’s rest. Its symptoms often keep people from sleeping fully and deeply. That said, a recent social media craze may be of use. Research suggests that weighted blankets help sleep apnea patients. By using them, you could better manage your disorder. Your local Fresno dentist will explain the details. So, here’s a primer on sleep apnea, how weighted blankets relieve it, and other treatment ideas.

What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea refers to when breathing frequently stops and starts while asleep. Typically, it’s caused by a blockage (partial or full) of your airway. As this blockage occurs, your brain must wake you to clear it and resume breathing. These awakenings then result in shallow, low-quality sleep.

Left unchecked, sleep apnea can lower your quality of life. Some of its awful symptoms include irritability, insomnia, headaches, and more.

How Do Weighted Blankets Help?

Weighted blankets can’t treat sleep apnea, but they can manage it. The reason comes down to how these coverings work.

You see, weighted blankets apply gentle pressure throughout your body. This force amounts to “deep pressure stimulation,” which strongly affects your whole self. The most notable result is the lower arousal of your nervous system.

By altering your nervous system, weighted blankets:

  • Stimulate Oxytocin – Among other things, oxytocin is a hormone involved in the sleep cycle. A weighted blank can increase its levels, reducing sleep apnea symptoms.
  • Raise Serotonin – A weighted blanket can increase serotonin, a hormone that promotes mood stability and good sleep-wake cycles. In doing so, it’ll help you rest more soundly at night.
  • Lower Cortisol – Deep pressure stimulation reduces your levels of cortisol, which is key to your body’s stress response. That means a weighted blanket can ease muscle tension and ease light snoring.

Lasting Sleep Apnea Treatments

While weighted blankets are nice, you’ll need more to cure your sleep apnea. Luckily, there are several great treatment options. They include:

  • Lose Excess Weight – For many people, excess body fat makes sleep apnea likely. However, losing that extra weight can bring the risk back down.
  • Drink Less Alcohol – Alcohol can relax the throat muscles, causing you to snore. As such, refrain from it as best you can.
  • See a Sleep Dentist – Today, many dentists are equipped to treat sleep apnea. For example, they might offer an oral appliance that opens your airway.

Clearly, weighted blankets help sleep apnea patients. For lasting relief, though, don’t neglect a healthy lifestyle and visit your sleep dentist!

About the Author

Dr. Byron Reintjes is a dentist based in Fresno, CA. Since earning his DDS from Case Western University’s School of Dentistry, he’s worked in the field for roughly thirty years! His expertise thus extends to preventive, cosmetic, and restorative work, as well as emergency oral care. Of course, he and his team are also versed in sleep apnea procedures. Today, Dr. Reintjes practices at his self-titled clinic and is reachable on his website and by phone at (559)-438-6684.

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