How to sleep better and prevent snoring and sleep apnoea

The average person spends one third of their life sleeping but studies suggest that almost half of us suffers from some form of sleep deprivation, with one half of that number doing nothing to help themselves sleep better.

Sleep deprivation, often caused by snoring, and in its worst form sleep apnoea, has been shown conclusively to contribute to depression, premature skin aging, increased stress, and serious impairment of both concentration and judgement. Worse still it is known to make a major contribution to diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

Sleeping Positions

While medication and therapy are possible solutions, getting better sleep may be as simple as finding the right sleep position and wearing a simple mouthpiece that will stop you snoring immediately.

You probably already know that the position you sleep in has a lot to do with how well you sleep — but did you know just how many pros and cons come along with each one? Of course, once we fall asleep, we may not have a lot of control over which position into which we curl our bodies… but it’s still kind of nice to know what’s going on while we’re asleep.

During sleep, our body should be resting not stressing and here are the best three positions for sleeping:

Side Sleeper
Pros – the foetal position, or sleeping on your side is the most widely used sleeping position. Some say that it is the most comfortable sleeping position because it reminds our body and brain of the comfort while inside our mother’s womb.  Sleeping on the side helps reduce acid reflux and heartburn. But which side is best?  For women who are pregnant, doctors suggest sleeping on the left because it is said to improve the circulation of the heart.
Cons – the first to suffer is the arm – right or left – whichever side you choose to lie on. The arm suffers numbness due to the compressed circulation in the blood vessels while the whole body rests upon it.

Stomach Sleeper – This can be usually observed in babies but this could not be done by pregnant women, for obvious reasons.
Pros – there are only two known advantages of sleeping in this position and those are the eradication of snoring and prevention for those people suffering with sleep apnoea.
Cons – a lot. Sleeping your stomach disrupts body functions while sleeping.  It is also one of the causes for spinal misalignment.  If you are suffering from lower back pain it may be because you have been sleeping this way. While sleeping on your stomach, the head is turned in order for you to breath.  This causes neck strains.  Chest pains can also be felt after sleeping in this position for long periods.
The cure – train yourself to sleep on your side. Put a pillow on your side to gently push your body to move while you sleep.  Or put a pillow below your hips to assist your spine while sleeping on stomach position.

Back Sleeper – the best position ever!
Pros – sleeping on your back has a lot of benefits especially for your spine. It maintains the alignment of your spine and neck. If you are worried about wrinkles then this position is best way to avoid getting them while you sleep since the face is devoid of any crushing.
Cons – for those suffering from snoring and sleep apnoea, sleeping on your back promotes this. Gravity is the culprit.  Sleeping on your back forces the tongue to move back, blocking air passages.  Using a good pillow works, but not too many, since a curved neck during sleep also blocks the air passageways.

We usually sleep in the position that we find most comfortable but during the night it changes, and most of the time, we wake up in a different position than the one in which we fell asleep.

Add the stop snoring mouthpiece to this – for which we have many times stressed the benefits – and blissful sleep awaits you followed by a refreshing feeling each morning.

John Redfern


Why Snoring Shouldn't Be Ignored

People who snore believe that their partners are the ones most affected by their nightly symphonies. After all, they’re the ones kept awake while the culprit remains blissfully unaware. But snoring can be more than just an annoyance; it can be a symptom of serious health problems that are both dangerous and life threatening.

Of course, there are many reasons why people snore and not all of them are chronic or hazardous to your health. If you sleep alone, you may not even be aware that you’re “sawing logs” on a regular basis. Here’s how to know if you or a loved one is at risk for snoring-related health problems and what to do about it.

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Why We Snore Snoring can happen for a variety of reasons, but all are connected with the obstruction of the airway. Most often, muscles in the roof of the mouth, known as the soft palate, or the back of the throat, relax and partially block the flow of air.

This occurs when people sleep on their back instead of their side, after a few drinks before bed because alcohol relaxes muscles, or when they have nasal congestion due to allergies or a cold. In fact, about half of adults snore at least some of the time, and it’s usually not dangerous, because most of the time we still get enough air to function normally.

But other snoring triggers are harder to fix. For example, having an enlarged uvula (the ball of tissue hanging in the back of your mouth), a large tongue, or being overweight – especially for men, since they tend to gain weight around their necks. All these raise your risk for obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition in which the heart isn’t able to get enough oxygen to function properly.

Spotting Sleep Apnoea Symptoms Between 5 and 15 per cent of middle-aged adults probably suffer from sleep apnoea although it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Unfortunately studies show strong associations between sleep apnoea and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions.

For people with sleep apnoea, airway obstruction is so severe that breathing slows to a trickle. It may even stop for seconds at a time. These episodes are called apnoeas, at which point the brain sends alert signals to the body, forcing a gasp, a gag or an extra powerful snore. A lot of people think sleep apnoea will cause them to suffocate, but the risk is the long-term damage that this can do.

Fluctuating oxygen levels throughout the night causes stress and damage to cells within your body when the body and brain are ideally supposed to be resting and recovering. It becomes much more of a cardiovascular problem than a respiratory one, and people with untreated sleep apnoea tend to develop these conditions years before they normally would.

When to Take Snoring Seriously So how do you know whether you have run-of-the-mill snoring or a more serious problem? If someone hears you sleep on a regular basis and notices that you periodically stop breathing for several seconds at a time, that’s a red flag. So is the volume of your snoring. If you can hear it clearly through a closed door, it’s a good sign that your body is probably working too hard to get sufficient oxygen.

If you don’t have a live-in partner or roommate to help you observe these things, you can still watch out for certain daytime symptoms. Because the condition doesn’t allow people to get the deep sleep they need, about two thirds of people with sleep apnoea experience excessive daytime sleepiness. If you can stop whatever you doing, just about any place and any time of day, and sit down and immediately fall asleep, that’s a problem.

Waking up feeling exhausted is also a sign, especially if that feeling doesn’t go away within 10 to 15 minutes of getting out of bed. People with untreated sleep apnoea may also have trouble getting high blood pressure under control, even with the help of medication.

How To Treat Sleep Apnoea The good news is that sleep apnoea is very treatable and easily diagnosed through observing these symptoms, or by being referred by your doctor to a sleep clinic.

Almost all cases can be treated by using an oral appliance at night. This is a mouthpiece that keeps your airway open by slightly repositioning your jaw. This will deal with most problems, but if left untreated and it becomes chronic, you’ll need a special device called a continuous positive-air pressure, or CPAP, which pumps air through a tube and a mask, into a patient’s nose and mouth while they sleep.

Be wise. Treat it early. Using a mouthpiece can avoid severe health problems later.

John Redfern


Looking after your health – for yourself

Britain’s A&E departments are in “a critical condition” – a message that has recently been carried on the front page of every national newspaper in the UK as they describe the severe capacity crisis that currently afflicts the NHS’s emergency service.

Patient numbers have soared at the A & E Departments of our hospitals, many waiting longer than four hours, and the Ambulances have queued outside due to the blockage – effectively taking them out of service. The result overall is that 16 NHS Hospitals have declared ‘major incidents’ as they struggle to cope in Canute-like fashion.

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The papers underline five key issues that it says have driven this crisis and these are the high levels of winter illness, cuts to social care, an ageing population, long waits to see GPs, and referrals from the NHS telephone helpline on the number 111.

They are all things that it appears we can do little about, particularly in the short term, but maybe we should ask ourselves if we could help ourselves more. Can we keep ourselves healthier, and stay free of some of the more serious illnesses, and in doing so improve and extend our lives in many ways. Not only would this help us to maintain our lives better, but in many cases ease the burden on those who need to give us care – whether that be our GP, a hospital, or our family.

Two of the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle are having a good diet and getting enough quality sleep. Our dietary intake is something that receives great attention and lots of advice – but this tends to happen much less with sleep – and that affects our health significantly. How often have you heard someone say they’d love a good night’s sleep?

Research shows us that the main problem in achieving this is snoring.

The snoring restricts and interrupts the continuing supply of oxygen to the brain and this is the cause of many serious long-term illnesses, such as Diabetes, cardiovascular problems such as strokes or heart attacks, memory related illnesses and many others – particularly those related to daytime fatigue. These facts are stated on many leading health websites.

The sounds made when a person is sleeping and the tissues in their airway move, strike each other, and vibrate is the medical definition of snoring. Children as well as adults snore and it is thought that almost all children snore occasionally and about 10 percent snore just about every night. In adults, approximately 45 percent snore once in a while and 25 percent do so frequently.

It is estimated that half of snorers have what is called primary snoring and the other half have a serious condition called sleep apnoea.

Primary snorers typically do not have cardiovascular disease, difficulty with concentration nor are they tired during their day. The main problem primary snorers have is annoying the people around them while they sleep and giving them disturbed nights causing tiredness and irritability. However people with obstructive sleep apnoea may have all of these problems.

The solution is simple, inexpensive, and effective, and is recommended by medical experts, GP’s and hospitals worldwide. A simple stop snoring mouthpiece worn at night works in almost every case and brings immediate results. Oral appliances such as those from SleepPro are NHS Approved and available without prescription, and their leading Custom mouthpiece was recently rated Number 1 by Papworth Hospital in their research. As a result of this, it is now recommended by them as the best mouthpiece to stop snoring and also to treat cases of mild to moderate sleep apnoea.

Help yourself by stopping snoring or you may live – or even die – to regret it.

 

John Redfern