A writer for Elle shares her experience with upper airway resistance syndrome, a diagnosis she received after years of insomnia.

And then I crunched through the night guard I wore to stop me from grinding my teeth at night. Oddly enough, it was my dentist, Michael Gelb, who diagnosed my problem when I went to get a new one. He peered down my throat and then motioned for his assistant to come over. “Look at that big tongue! No wonder!” he exclaimed. He turned to me. “This is easy. I know what you have. You’re waking up in a panic? In a cold sweat? Like someone just threw a rock through your window?” he asked. Yes, yes, yes, I told him. “You have low blood pressure? Cold feet?” Uh, yeah. “You have anxiety?” Yes.… “You had your wisdom teeth out? Were you ever told you needed a palate expander as a kid?” Umm…yes? “You have UARS. It’s the young, thin, beautiful women’s sleep disorder. You should write about it!”

In the 15 years I’ve known Dr. Gelb, he has never steered me wrong—an expert in jaw pain and snoring, he’s cured both my TMJ and my husband’s log-sawing. And yet, he’s such a smooth salesman, such an adept self-promoter, and so quick to diagnose problems that can only be resolved with $4,000 retainers, I’m sometimes inclined to disbelieve him. I couldn’t hold my freakishly huge tongue in check: “Dr. Gelb, please. The ‘beautiful women’s sleep disorder?’?” I laughed. “That’s not a thing.”

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