Health Care and Sleep

Our country is in the middle of a healthcare crisis. We have created this by choosing a lifestyle that creates too much stress and is not conducive to a good night’s sleep.  This is an article describes the process that leads to sleep disruption and the negative effects this has on your health.  This article will also suggests ways for us to improve our quality of life and health as a nation and as individuals.  Now is the time to act because it is going to get worse if we don’t. We have had some great advancement in medicine over the last 50 years.  We have come to understand how our body works and what it needs to be healthy.  It would make sense that with this understanding we would be going in a positive direction as far as wellness and quality of life.  Unfortunately we are not.  Healthcare cost is rising out of control, obesity is exponentially increasing, and the dependence of prescription and recreational drugs is staggering.  A decreased quality of life arises because of these and many other symptoms I am suggesting result from poor sleep.  I have used the information we have discovered because of great efforts of many in the healthcare industry to guide me in this journey to help solve our dilemma.  I wish to add to what has already been found so we can improve health and quality of life.

Why Sleep Is Important

I am suggesting that before the age of ten, probably around kindergarten age, most children recognize and react to stress.  Our society and families can stress a child in an academic environment, sports environment, an unstable home, or with just the pressure to succeed in whatever they are participating in.  This excess stress causes mental and physical harm.  Stress, on top of poor health or poor sleep, is a bad combination.  We simply act like we don’t know what is happening. We are even so unaware of what we are doing to adolescents that we start school early, only adding to the problem.  This degrading stress continues to be in our lives for decades. After the teenage years, we continue to put ourselves in more stressful situations. Leaving home, going to college, starting to work, and starting families are very stressful times.  When we are in our thirties, it does not get any easier.  Then we get into our forties and we realize how easy our thirties were.  Throughout these decades, the effects of various sleep disorders continue to progress. Also, we see that as the stress increases and continue, our bodies breakdown and age faster than they should. We see a correlation between stress and clenching and grinding. The inability to give our brains a “break” has added to the problems.  I see more females with stress-related issues and I suggest this is because they worry more about numerous issues and have a lot on their mind.  We are all so “connected” with electronic devices that do not give us the break we need.  Turn off the phones at night!  We need to apply all the basics that can give us a good night sleep to give us the best chance.

Vicious Cycle

The major reason we have trouble breaking what I am calling this “Vicious Cycle” is the fact that we have destructive habits when we sleep. Plus we simply don’t remember what we did when we sleep. Research has shown that most people do not report as being “poor” sleepers but do report symptoms of being “poor” sleepers. If we ask someone if they clench or grind their teeth assume they know if they do, which they most often don’t. The presence of ineffective products and plus the fact that we aren’t aware of the frequency that we see signs or symptoms of bruxism, which is the clenching and grinding of teeth. I have seen reports that say 8% of American adults show signs of bruxism. That is not even in the ballpark of reality. If this is what we report, then we don’t know the signs and symptoms are of clenching and grinding. I would say over 75% of my patients (trying to be conservative) show signs of bruxism. Just look at the damage done to teeth, like broken teeth and expensive dental work.

During the day, we protect our teeth, but at night, all bets are off. There are many factors that go into how well someone sleeps or feels. Temperature affects the way we sleep. If your body is too hot or too cold, it will not allow for you to sleep well. An uncomfortable mattress, too much light or noise, lack of exercise, poor health, or a poor diet and stress can make you not sleep well. We have some great products out there that solve or reduce these symptoms. But we are missing a big factor that can make the biggest difference on whether you sleep well, bruxism. This causes your body to be too alert and will not go into a deep sleep. This will make your sympathetic nervous system work too much. Your adrenal glands will overproduce cortisol. The other huge negative effect of bruxism is the nocioceptive (pain) information that goes to your brain.

This is bad information for the brain. This adds to the already bunch of bad information that can make you break down. One of the reasons that people will have never heard of the information in this article is that we really have developed something effective and stopping clenching and grinding. This is where the Ripple Oral Appliances come into play. These retainers minimize nociceptive information from the head and neck. They allow muscles to relax (Everyone knows what sore vs. rested muscles feel like in the rest of their body). They allow for better breathing. These retainers allow you to sleep! You can handle more stress when you sleep well. Not only are we faced with the symptoms that bruxism causes but we are also in the battle to breathe when we sleep. With the increased prevalence of obesity, sleep apnea’s numbers will be increasing as well. If the symptoms are not prevented, then Ripple Oral Appliances have developed a version to treat sleep apnea. Sometimes just the retainers will do the job. But if a CPAP is needed then a Ripple Oral Appliance should still be worn to optimize breathing and protect the teeth while wearing the CPAP machine. In my dental practice, my sleep apnea patients have by far done the most damage to their teeth. Also, it is challenging to understand what is going on because people handle it so differently.

Why do some have such few symptoms? Are some just naturally able to handle? Do some just have life easier? The separation of the medical and dental professions (more comments will be coming on this at a later date) has added to the issue. I have never had a call from a doctor’s office to discuss the health or come up with a solution for a patient in 13 years of practicing. Believe it or not, the health of the mouth does affect the rest of the body. Very few medical doctors look to the health of the mouth as an indicator of problems or a way to improve challenges in one’s health.


Sleep is the time for our body to regulate and repair mentally and physically. The endocrine (hormones) system should be working in the night. If we are not sleeping deep enough then it is not working like it should. We want our parasympathetic not our sympathetic system to be working. When hormone regulation is not happening then we can throw off the reproductive system, immune system, thyroid, and other vital systems. So yes, poor sleep causes infertility, crazy sounding I know but stay with me. Your immune system recharges when you sleep. Also diabetes and cardiovascular system control will be much more difficult if your hormones are not regulated properly. With the advances in medicine, why are obesity, heart disease, Type II diabetes, and other preventable conditions spiraling out of control? It is because we don’t understand the cause that makes these diseases happen. In Utah, about one-half of our heathcare dollars are spent treating Type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is 100% preventable right? We see study after study showing the links between these diseases but no answers are given to solve the problem. I say this because the root of the problem is not understood. I do want to say that we should all appreciate the people in medicine because they dedicate their lives to helping others and to the advancements that make our lives better. 36% of patients with diabetes have Sleep Disordered Breathing. A majority of patients with type II diabetes have OSA.