What do all these celebrities have in common? They all died from complications of sleep apnea. All three stars suffered from the syndrome I describe in my new book The Modern Epidemic.” Sleep apnea and insomnia are on the increase wherever people live a Westernized or modern lifestyle. This disease has traditionally been seen in older obese individuals that snore loudly.

40% of adults over 40 snore, that’s 87 million people though not everyone who snores has apnea.

Over 40 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and less than ten percent have been diagnosed.

Over 90% of Americans are vitamin D deficient

Recent scientific studies have identified a vitamin D hormone deficiency (read Doctor Gould’s Vit D article here)  as the culprit in this strange new disease.  Most modern humans are suffering from a lack of sunshine, as computers, processed foods, sunscreen and fear of cancer leave 90% of Americans vitamin D deficient.

I treat both insomnia and sleep apnea with a dental device to keep the airway open and prevent choking in sleep. Reduced airflow in sleep signals our brains that we are under attack, and our sympathetic nervous system releases powerful chemicals to wake us up, this is called an arousal, victims of this disease stop breathing over and over as many as 60 times an hour. Daytime sleepiness and loud snoring are usually present, though many times it’s not obvious, as in my case, I had no idea I had it, only a sleep test will tell.

The only other treatment available is a CPAP or a “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine” that blows air to keep your throat open, and though it works well, few people comply. This new information makes this deadly disease preventable, and even reversible.

The key to reversal is early intervention, especially when it comes to children, if you hear noises from your child’s bedroom, of snoring and tooth grinding called bruxism, ask your pediatrician for a vitamin D test, or simply supplement 1000 IU per 25 lbs. Most children are deficient.

Sleep apnea isn’t a disease of the elderly or obese like most doctors think, it can affect anyone at any age, and it’s deadly. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or dentist for a sleep study and a vitamin D level; prevention always trumps repair!

Stay tuned for more information on this terrifying new disease as sleep is essential to your health. In fact, poor sleep is the very definition of premature aging. Don’t let it happen to you.

Dr. Joel Gould has been practicing dentistry for over 27 years. His Practices in Los Angeles treat snoring and sleep apnea with dental devices. He is a best-selling author on cosmetic dentistry and is internationally published in 52 countries around the world. Dr. Gould is defining the new epidemic of insomnia and sleep apnea with his ground breaking sleep restoration program. He is the author of the new book “The Modern Epidemic” where you can learn to become a modern hunter-gatherer. Read more here.