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Dr. Eduard Estivill

Our guest

21 Jun 2016

The renowned specialist in sleep medicine reveals the keys to sleeping well and taking care of our oral health with good sleep habits.

Paediatrician and clinical neurophysiologist, Dr. Eduard Estivill is a genuine benchmark for the treatment of sleep disorders both in adults and children. Through his well-known books and Sleep Clinic bearing his name, he teaches and helps people get a good night's rest to enable them to meet their daily challenges with greater energy and optimism.

MANDIBULAR ADVANCEMENT SPLINTS ARE VERY NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE IN THE TREATMENT OF SNORING AND OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNOEA

You say that if we reach the age of 90 we will have spent 30 sleeping, to be the other 60 wide awake. But, do we really know how to sleep?

Sleeping is a biological necessity for our brain, although sleeping well is learned, because it is a habit. That is why children can be taught, as we have done with over three million little ones using the book Duérmete, niño (5 Days to a Perfect Night's Sleep for Your Child). And although adults can also learn to sleep properly, it is more difficult because the causes of deficient sleep at this age are much more complex.

Why is it important for adults to sleep eight hours a day? Is this really essential in order to feel good and have the energy to perform our everyday activities?

Sleep works as a service shop for physical repair and restoration, and helps us memorize everything we learn during the day. Therefore, we need the shop to work a certain number of hours, depending on our age. For example, a five-year-old boy who moves a lot and is learning constantly needs at least 11 hours of sleep to properly carry out his functions. On the other hand, a teenager needs nine hours, and an adult, eight hours, while an elderly person may have enough with only five or six hours of slumber.

Why do so many people in our country (Spain) sleep poorly?

A third of all Spaniards sleeps poorly. The causes are varied, but one of the most important is how we live throughout the day. Nowadays our social surroundings increase tension, stress and anxiety, so it is more difficult to disconnect, resulting in greater sleep-related problems, which in turn lead to excessive consumption of medicines.

How does lack of sleep affect overall health?

Sleeping poorly or very little affects every aspect of our lives. On a physical level, we can experience fatigue or intestinal, metabolic, immune, cardiovascular and neurological problems. And on a mental level, it affects our mood and may cause anxiety, lack of concentration, irritability, drowsiness and behavioural disorders.

LACK OF SLEEP CAN CAUSE FATIGUE OR INTESTINAL, METABOLIC, IMMUNE, CARDIOVASCULAR AND NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS.

How does oral health affect sleep? Can nocturnal bruxism have an impact on the quality of our sleep?

Bruxism is a disorder that occurs while we sleep and which consists of excessive rubbing between the upper and lower jaws. This movement produces up to 250 pounds of force per square inch and can break our enamel. Therefore, it is important to prevent bruxism, which can be done by using a mouth guard.

Why is nocturnal bruxism so common these days in children, adults, elderly people…?

It seems that accumulated tension and temporomandibular malfunction are the leading cause. In children, malocclusion may also be an added factor.

What are the risks of sleep apnoea for overall health?

Snoring and apnoea are both breathing-related disorders which occur during sleep and which must be treated, as they can cause serious health problems. Both conditions may cause poor quality rest, as they interrupt sleep, as well as cardiovascular problems due to chronic lack of oxygen. And of course, snoring can be considered a social disturbance.

What is your opinion about in-office dental treatments for snoring and sleep apnoea (mandibular advancement splints)?

I find these very necessary and appropriate. In fact, we have been using these for many years in our Sleep Clinic. It should also be noted that among the causes of snoring and apnoea we find retromicrognathia (very small jaw located more to the rear than normal) in many people. So, when we evaluate a person with snoring and apnoea it is important to always schedule a dental exam, which confirms whether or not this is the circumstance. And once the person is studied in the Sleep Clinic, where s/he is given a polysomnography (a night-long sleep test to determine the degree of snoring and the number of apneic events), s/he is sent to the dental clinic for treatment with a MAD (mandibular advancement device).

GUIDELINES FOR PEACEFUL AND HEALING SLEEP
According to Eduard Estivill, "sleep is something for which we prepare; it does not happen by itself. We need at least two hours to prepare our brain so that it can sleep”. Here are some tips for pleasant and restful sleep:

  • Have a proper dinner: eating pasta, vegetables and dairy products is ideal.
  • Shortly before going to bed, carry out a relaxing activity that has nothing to do with work.
  • Disconnect all social or internet devices (mobile phones, tablets, computers…) at least one hour before bedtime, as the light these devices emit can inhibit the secretion of melatonin, thereby delaying the onset of sleep.

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Data controller DENTAID, S.L. LABORATORIOS DE PREVENCIÓN E HIGIENE BUCAL, SLU (“PHB”).
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