FAA Announces New Sleep Apnea Policy

sleep apnea policyMost people don’t mind when another person nods off during a plane trip… as long as that person isn’t the pilot. That’s a feeling shared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as they announced a new policy requiring pilots to participate in mandatory testing for obstructive sleep apnea going forward.

The policy introduces an assortment of screening requirements and evaluations to ensure FAA pilots don’t suffer from the sleep disorder. As a trained pilot and dentist, Dr. Lebowitz understands the importance of treating sleep apnea before you get in a plane.

Since more than half of people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are overweight, pilots with a BMI of 40 or greater are required to participate in a sleep study and evaluation from a board-certified sleep specialist. If they don’t, they risk disqualification.

This brings to light a couple great questions for the rest of us: 1, how do I know if I have sleep apnea?; and 2, how can I treat it?

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
If you don’t already know, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted during sleep. This causes fatigue, stress and increases the potential for problematic conditions like high blood pressure and heart failure. It also increases the risk for vehicle accidents, which is why the FAA is moving forward with their policy.
How do you know if you have sleep apnea?

A consultation with Lebowitz Dental is the best way, but here are some common symptoms:
• Excessive sleepiness and lack of energy during the day
• Loud or chronic snoring at night
• Waking up with a dry mouth or throat
• Suddenly waking up during the night with a choking sensation
• Recurring insomnia

Treating Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be addressed by doing things like losing weight, lowering your alcohol intake and avoiding sleeping on your back. But the best way is to visit your dentist for a dental device consultation. These oral devices are design to keep your airways open during sleep and eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Dentists are also experienced and trained to address sleep apnea, so they’re the best source for addressing sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea pilots and other patients can address obstructive sleep apnea with a visit to the Lebowitz Dental. If you think you have sleep apnea, schedule a consultation today!