It’s Thanksgiving week, so it’s time for many Americans to indulge in some of their favorite pastimes: food, football and naps!

Many people think that they’re sleepy after a big meal thanks to turkey and its L-tryptophan. L-tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted into serotonin. Serotonin calms us down and can help us sleep. But, L-tryptophan can really only make us sleepy if we eat or take it directly.

So what’s really making us sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal if we can’t blame the turkey? It may be that the big meal is actually blocking blood flow to the brain as the body increases blood flow to the stomach to help with digestion, thus making a nap sound wonderful after indulging.

Or, an entirely other culprit may be to blame: sleep apnea.


What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start throughout the night. Sleep apnea can cause you to snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.

So if it’s not just a big Thanksgiving meal that’s making you sleepy, it may be time to consider that sleep apnea may be part of the reason those post-meal naps sound so appealing.

Loud snoring and sleep disturbances can be signs of obstructive sleep apnea, and your oral health can be an important part of the picture.


Teeth grinding and sleep issues

The first sign of sleep apnea is often bruxism, or teeth grinding. A custom night guard can help with both the grinding of teeth and the sleep apnea.


If you think you may be extra tired because of sleep apnea, bring it up at your next dental cleaning. Our team can let you know symptoms of sleep apnea as well as some treatment options to help you get a full night of rest, which is something to truly be thankful for.

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