While sleep is an integral part of health and well-being that accounts for about a third of our lifetime, the study of sleep, sleep disorders and sleep loss is relatively new.
These staggering facts clearly support why more and more health and dental professionals are being recruited into the study and treatment of sleep disorders. In the charming fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, a wicked witch puts an entire kingdom to sleep, and it takes a hundred years and a magic prince to awaken it. And yet while we know these facts about sleep, it is still a mysterious phenomenon with many theories about its purpose. The reasons and underlying mechanisms of sleep are only partially understood and are the subject of rigorous research. There are two broad categories of sleep: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM or non-REM) sleep, each associated with bodily, brain, and psychological functions. According to the Classification of Sleep Disorders there are eight main categories with three big hitters in terms of numbers of people affected. A study in Finland which followed 491 children between the ages of six and eight that had a sleep breathing disorder ratio of 9.9% found that having orthodontic issues can in fact lead to the development of snoring and other disorders that lead to negatively affected breathing while asleep. Dentists are especially important as they are in the unique position of providing limited medical therapy for patients suffering from Sleep Related Breathing Disorders (SRBD).
Sleep proceeds in cycles through the night with deep sleep early on and more REM sleep toward morning (or more accurately the end of the sleep cycle).

The big three are insomnia, sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD), and Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders with each occupying about one-third of the grand total. The most common orthodontic issues that were linked to the development of disordered breathing were crossbite, a facial height that is too low, a convex profile and hypertrophic tonsils. The negative impacts of sleep loss and sleep disorders are enormous on both an individual and societal level.
Today, physicians can study sleep medicine, a new field of medicine that is a branch of science devoted to the study of sleep known as Somnology. Another theory expounds that as the hunger mechanism is suppressed during sleep, we sleep to conserve food supplies.
The SRBDs include conditions ranging from frequent snoring to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, OSA. Unlike the in adults, obesity is not an issue that causes this in children, but perhaps this has something to do with the issues unique to childhood obesity.
This study, in order to be of greater use in practice, would need house doctors and obstetricians to work together with orthodontists, to spot the early signs of developing crossbite and other orthodontic issues, and send them to the orthodontist as soon as possible, as these disorders can be rectified if caught early.
Children experiencing poor sleep fail to thrive and adults with this problem are to blame for some of our most devastating modern disasters, including the nuclear accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility, the Staten Island ferry crash, and the accidental grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker. It addresses the diagnosis and treatment of individuals suffering from chronic sleep loss as well as the many other sleep disorders.

Of all the different sleep disorders, it is OSA that is considered the most serious in terms of morbidity (state of disease) and mortality (death from disease). Furthermore, a 1989 seminal study on rats subjected to total sleep deprivation demonstrated death within a few weeks. Another theory is that we are the weakest in the time of darkness, thus sleep renders us less likely to be selected as a tasty meal by nocturnal animals. In humans, each sleep cycle lasts from 90 to 110 minutes on average and each stage may have a distinct physiological function.
And it is in addressing this subgroup of disorders that dentists can play their most significant interdisciplinary role with the medical community.
Neurologically speaking, it has been theorized that our brain sensory processes are largely inactivated during sleep, giving the brain a chance to reorganize and more efficiently store the information gathered during the pre-sleep period. Apart from this, there is still a common belief that sleep helps the body to recuperate physically, enables release of growth hormone and recharges the immune (resistance) system.

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Comments Sleep disorders related to obesity

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