The Good Night's Sleep Project
Episode 25

Crucial Links between Dentistry and Sleep Medicine with Dr. Jonathan Parker

  • Mar 17, 2020
  • Dentistry and Sleep Medicine
  • 37
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Dr. Jonathon Parker, world-renowned dental sleep medicine expert, discusses key sleep issues. When you listen, you’ll learn

  • how quality sleep substantively improves athletic performance,
  • how your natural sleep rhythm is tied to hormone production and might be shifted to better match your partner’s, and
  • about the process of making a custom oral appliance and what advantages the appliances offer.

Dr. Jonathan Parker co-founded The Sleep Performance Institute along with Dr. Michael Howell almost 30 years ago. A former faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, he is currently Assistant Clinical Professor at Tufts School of Medicine in Dentistry. As one of the clinicians at The Snoring and Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment Center, he treats patients in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area. In addition, Dr. Parker has given over 200 talks, nationally and internationally, about dental sleep medicine.

In this podcast he shares highlights of his knowledge with listeners, starting with research into sports medicine and sleep quality. The Sleep Performance Institute works with corporations and athletes to improve sleep performance for work functions and athletics. He recounts some interesting studies, including proof that injuries and lack of sleep are connected and an extension of sleep by one hour increased key skills in an athlete’s performance. He describes the resistance of professional and college sports administrators to pick up on this information and make it a priority for their athletes and recounts efforts to overcome that resistance.

Dr. Parker then addresses our circadian rhythms including the essential hormones we produce at different points in our sleep and how important both our patterns are and how individualized our sleep rhythms may be. But he also notes there are some incremental methods to realign the night owl’s late night habits to better match a partner’s early sleep needs.

Finally, Dr. Parker discusses the tools at our disposal for sleep medicine, dental and otherwise, from melatonin to CPAP machines to oral appliances. He talks about the success rates, the processes, the difference and correlation between snoring and sleep apnea, and when it makes sense to pursue a sleep study.

For more, see the web pages for The Sleep Performance Institute and The Snoring and Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment Center.

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