Robert P. Sherman, DDS
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An estimated 29.4 million adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea, and 80% go undiagnosed and untreated. Unfortunately, many men write off their sleep apnea as insomnia, and women underreport snoring. This makes it difficult for physicians and dentists to screen for sleep apnea, diagnose, and provide life-changing treatment.
27.4% of adults take melatonin as a sleep aid, according to the Sleep Foundation. Most of those say that it helps them fall asleep faster and take it on average four days per week. Melatonin pills are widely available over the counter in drug stores and grocery stores but it’s also a natural hormone that our bodies produce as a response to darkness to help us fall asleep. So, if our bodies make melatonin naturally, wouldn’t it be okay for those with sleep apnea to take more of it? Simply, no. Melatonin is not recommended for those with sleep apnea. Here’s why.
Finding out that you have obstructive sleep apnea is equal parts relief and uncertainty. On the one hand, you’ve finally discovered the cause of your snoring, daytime sleepiness, and cognitive changes. On the other hand, you’re left with a choice, should you use CPAP or oral appliance therapy to treat your sleep apnea?