May 2022

Alcohol's Effect on Sleep Apnea

By Aimee del Principe May 5, 2022

As a new or curious obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patient, you may be wondering if alcohol use is linked to your condition. A good night’s sleep may not seem as tempting as a wild night of heavy drinking, but hangovers are only the beginning in the world of an OSA patient!

There is a link between sleep apnea and drinking alcohol. In fact, alcohol ingestion can increase the risk of apnea in adults by 25%! So stick with us while we explain the interplay of alcohol and sleep apnea, why alcohol is a terrible sleep medicine, and what you should do if you think you have OSA.

Can Alcohol Make My Sleep Apnea Worse?

Yes, alcohol can exacerbate sleep apnea. Studies have shown us that the depressive effect of alcohol may cause the muscles of your upper airways to relax to the point of collapse. (Yikes.)

Just like your arms and head may feel heavier when you’ve been drinking, the muscles and tissues in your airways relax, too. Alcohol’s sedative effect can also make you slower to awaken when you can’t breathe, making apneas (instances of stopped or slowed breathing) longer and more severe. That means your body has to produce more intense arousal responses in the night (for example, suddenly waking to gasp for air) putting major strain on your cardiovascular system.

It’s not a minor issue - losing the oxygen in your blood (called desaturation) puts huge stress on your body and all the cells and tissues therein. You may wonder, ‘Is it any really worse than drinking myself into a hangover?’

The truth is that obstructive sleep apnea itself often feels much like a hangover the next day, and might even be mistaken for one. Consider these OSA symptoms and their similarity to a rough morning after inebriation:

Daytime sleepiness
Difficulty concentrating
Sore throat and dry mouth

The problem that outstrips a hangover is that drinking an alcoholic beverage before bed puts those with underlying OSA at increased risk of the sleep issues they’re already at risk for and undergoing treatment to manage.

Wait, Doesn't Alcohol Help Me Sleep?

You’d think so, right? Because of the sedative effects of alcohol, many people believe alcohol helps them sleep, but it actually does the opposite. Alcohol reduces both total sleep time and overall sleep quality. Talk about a double bummer!

Alcohol has been proven to reduce the body’s natural production of melatonin, undercutting it by nearly 20%. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that responds to darkness so that your circadian rhythm stays balanced. Without it, your sleep cycle can be interrupted, opening the door to sleep disorders, excessive daytime sleepiness, and a downward spiral in your mental health due to a lack of REM sleep.

How Long Before Sleep Should You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

We know there are windows of time after drinking that make for wiser, safer (and legal) driving, but what about mitigating the effects of alcohol on your OSA? This really depends on your body and health as well as both how much and how often you drink. The basic idea is to get the alcohol through and out of your system before your head hits the pillow.

To that end, you should typically play it smart and close your tab at least 4 hours before bed. Also, aim to limit yourself to 1-2 drinks in a given day. If you think OSA is hard on your health, alcoholism is a misadventure you want no part of. Be sure to remember to drink lots of water, too, to stay hydrated so your body is better able to clear the alcohol from your system.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Sleep Apnea?

If you frequently experience the above symptoms of sleep apnea - even when you don’t drink before bed - you should talk to your doctor about OSA right away. Treating obstructive sleep apnea can vastly improve your quality of life by improving your quality of sleep. It also dramatically lowers your risk factors for hypertension, heart disease, and depression.

Your doctor will recommend an overnight test called a sleep study, which can be done in-lab or at home. They will do a systematic review of your heart rate and oxygenation as well as determine your AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index) - a measure of how many times your breathing slows or stops entirely each hour. The higher the AHI, the higher the severity of your OSA.

If the sleep study does determine that your sleep problems are due to obstructive sleep apnea, you’ll probably be recommended a moratorium on nightcaps. Sorry!

More importantly, the medical advice will almost certainly be to begin CPAP therapy. Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) keeps airways open while you sleep. This improves your oxygen saturation, reduces that chainsaw snore you’ve been ripping each night, and lowering your risk of sleep apnea-related cardiovascular effects.

But which CPAP machine should you use? What mask will be best? That’s where we can make your life so much easier! At we have a highly knowledgeable team ready to help make this process as smooth as possible.

We can offer recommendations based on how you sleep to find you the right fit and accessories. We can’t wait to hear from you and get you back on track to a better night’s sleep!

Contact the full Breath Center in Beverly Hills, CA for an appointment today, at 310-435-7939.

April 2022

Did Any Doctor Tell You About Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea affects close to 50% of American adults. This results in low levels of oxygen in the body, hypoxemia. The low oxygen causes the body to become acidic. This is a major cause of illness, pain, and body breakdown.

On the website of the Center for Disease Control they list the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. They are:

      1. Heart Disease

      2. Cancer

      3. Lung Disease

      4. Brain Disease

      5. Diabetes

      6. Flu/Pneumonia

      7. Kidney Disease

      8. Alzheimer’s

      9. Accidents

      10. Suicides

These 10 are all made worse by hypoxemia and acidosis. And you could add another 25 to 100 other maladies to this list.
The CDC also says on their website that 117 million Americans suffer from chronic disease. And chronic disease is also made worse by hypoxemia and acidity.

Sleep apnea causes low O2 to the body, which results in acidosis, and then we see the effect it causes. A Nobel Prize was given for research showing that low oxygen levels in the body, hypoxemia, caused increased cancer, infectious bacteria, virus, and causes the body to become acidic.

This is a very dangerous malady that causes disruption with body function. There are treatment cures for reducing the effect of apnea. Medicine has the CPAP a mask that fits over the nose and mouth or either one and it blows pressured air into the nose and mouth and opens the airway. It presents a problem of being very tough to adapt to wearing it. Rejection rate for the CPAP runs as high as 83% in the literature.

Dentistry has developed mouthpieces that pull the lower jaw forward to pull the tongue forward and open the airway. They are called MADs, Mandibular Advancing devices

They have moderate success oxygenating the body. As they advance the lower jaw they have 2 drawbacks: one they cause facial and neck pain, and second the lower jaw can be permanently moved forward and creates a “bad bite”or malocclusion that could need corrective treatment.

But dentistry now has a new designed oral sleep appliance, the Full Breath Solution, that depresses the tongue with an adjustable wire tail and opens the airway for oxygen in the body. This appliance with O2 creates abundant O2 and converts the body alkalinity. This is the appliance we need to handle all the negative problems that occur with hypoxemia.

Contact the full Breath Center in Beverly Hills, CA for an appointment today, at 310-435-7939.

March 2022

Getting good sleep is an important part of enjoying life – it is difficult to work hard, play hard, and make the most out of every day if you are tired all the time. If you consistently have a problem sleeping, it can indicate that you have a serious health problem that should be dealt with.

Are you wondering why you are having sleep problems?

Are you wondering if it is time to get help?

Read on for the symptoms of sleep apnea, a condition that is not only annoying but could be dangerous.

What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It happens when the muscles in the back of the throat relax as you sleep, causing your airway to narrow. This prevents an adequate amount of air from getting into your system and your oxygen level drops. Your brain wakes you up because you are not getting enough oxygen. This can happen several times a night – even several times an hour, but you may not even realize you are waking up so often in the middle of the night.

How do you know that it is sleep apnea?

You may wonder if your sleep problems are temporary and harmless or if they are something serious. You may need your partner to help you identify some of the symptoms of sleep apnea. They include:

• Gasping for air while sleeping

• Loud snoring

• Periods where you stop breathing

• Feeling excessively tired during the day

• Irritability

• Morning headache

• Morning dry mouth

What can be done about sleep apnea?

While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are commonly used to treat people with sleep apnea, many people find them bulky, uncomfortable, and just a hassle to deal with. Another option is an oral appliance- the full breath appliance. This appliance is a custom made mouth piece with an attachment to depress the tongue, thus opening the airway without ADVANCING the mandible.

It is no wonder that many people stop using their CPAP machine – they can be uncomfortable, difficult to sleep in, hard to clean, and a huge hassle to travel with. The good news is that if you have sleep apnea, you can be treated without CPAP, with oral appliance therapy from the Full Breath Center for dental sleep!

What is oral appliance therapy?

Oral appliances resemble mouth guards that athletes wear. You wear it while you sleep, and it fits easily over your teeth – after a few nights you won’t even realize you are wearing it. It works by repositioning your tongue and jaw, which opens up the airway, which makes it easier to breathe.

What are the benefits of oral appliance therapy?

A recent study has found that over 80% of patients preferred oral appliance therapy compared with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, and it is easy to see why. Oral appliances are very effective, but they are much more comfortable, easy to use, and easy to take care of. Traveling with a small oral appliance compared with a bulky CPAP machine is another benefit.

Getting an oral appliance is also an easy process. You and your doctor will meet and discuss your sleep problems and your concerns, and we will go over your treatment options. If you decide that an oral appliance is right for you, your doctor will check your teeth, airway, and jaws to make sure that the correct type of appliance - the Full Breath Solution oral appliance has been approved by the FDA and there are 5 United States patents as well as 5 FDA approvals.

It may take some time to get used to an oral appliance, but it is worth it. Soon you will start to sleep better and feel better during the day, too.

You may think that the only option for dealing with sleep apnea is a bulky and uncomfortable CPAP machine, but that is simply not true! If you have tried CPAP but didn’t like it, or if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are hesitant to even try CPAP, oral appliance therapy may be the answer.

Contact the full Breath Center in Beverly Hills, CA for an appointment today, at 310-435-7939.