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Better Sleep Leads to Better Brain Health

Have you ever awakened feeling groggy and tired? That’s because sleep directly impacts our brain function. Getting seven hours of good sleep each night is a key factor in preserving brain health, especially as we age. 


Sleep disruption can lead to fatigue, irritability, lack of focus, depression, and overall quality of life issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control, three in four adults in the U.S. have a sleep disorder. Among the most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), where the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep, leading to breathing interference. Recognizable symptoms 

of OSA include loud snoring, gasping/choking for air during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, and headaches, among others.


Untreated, OSA can have severe health consequences such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and more. Traditionally, OSA is diagnosed through a sleep study and treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, which use pressurized air to keep airways open during sleep. However, CPAP machines may not suit everyone’s lifestyle.


For those with moderate to severe OSA, it’s important to make sure that oxygen gets to your brain while you sleep. If you are unable to tolerate CPAP for one reason or another, there's an implantable alternative that provides relief from OSA. The device, called Inspire, works by delivering gentle pulses to airway muscles, keeping them open for regular breathing and sound sleep.


Patient outcomes with this device implant have been promising. About 90% of bed partners report no snoring or soft snoring, and there is a 79% reduction in sleep apnea events. Remarkably, 94% of patients report that they prefer the implant over CPAP and would recommend it to others.


If you or a loved one are struggling with OSA, it’s worth exploring this second-line therapy for better sleep and improved overall health.

By Omid B. Mehdizadeh, MD

Dr. Mehdizadeh is an otolaryngology-head & neck (ENT) surgeon with particular expertise in voice, swallowing and airway conditions at Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI). A Los Angeles native, his career has spanned treating world-class opera and Broadway singers to surgical mission trips serving underprivileged and indigenous populations of Central America. Outside PNI, he has focused his time on educating medical and undergraduate students and providing medical care to disenfranchised populations through community clinics. Or, call 213-320-4277.

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