A good night’s sleep keeps you healthy – but snoring prevents it happening

Of late you must have noticed how doctors and healthcare professionals have given extra attention to the importance of undisturbed quality sleep. Increasing number of studies have linked sleep deprivation to serious health issues, ranging from high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, obesity, mood disorders, attention deficit disorder, foetal and childhood growth retardation, besides making one accident-prone in the car and at work.

Stop snoring week

 

There’s much more than that however, so whether you are up until the early hours of the morning watching the shows on Netflix, or simply staying up late because there’s too much work to do, one thing’s for sure – your body’s taking the brunt of your actions. But why is sleep so important? Not getting enough shut-eye can lead to other bad results as well as health and here are just some of the problems with comments from the experts in each case.

You gain weight

If you’re looking to shave off those stubborn extra pounds then lack of sleep certainly doesn’t help. In fact, it does the very opposite says nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of the Natural Health Bible for Women.

“People who are sleep-deprived have an increased appetite. Inadequate sleep lowers the levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite. At the same time it increases leels of grehlin – a hormone that increases food intake and plays a role in long-term regulation of body weight. Sleep deprivation makes weight loss harder because it causes your body to work against you.”

Your immune system is compromised

Lack of sleep is known to lower the body’s immune response. A recent study found reducing the amount of sleep time every night lowered the number of “natural killer cells” which are responsible for fighting off invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Nutritional therapist Geeta Sidhu-Robb, who is the founder of Nosh Detox, says “A lack of sleep can impair the body’s ability to fend off diseases and inflammation, which in turn, can cause us to catch more colds or slow down the processes of recovery. No sleep means your body doesn’t have time to build up its defence system – the antibodies and cells that attack viruses and unfriendly bacteria.”

Your stress levels rocket

Inadequate sleep can also affect your cortisol levels – the hormone that help us manage stress, and Sidhu-Robb adds “Lack of sleep increases stress which produces the hormone cortisol, and it can also reduce collagen in the skin, which is what keeps it looking young and provides elasticity.”

Stress and ageing skin is not a combination worth losing your sleep for.

Your heart weakens

During sleep, the heart powers down significantly – reducing both your blood pressure and the heart rate, which is important for the health of the organ. By not getting enough sleep, your heart might not have enough time to lower your blood pressure to necessary levels.

“Research shows that those who sleep five hours or less a night are twice as likely to suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease as those who sleep for seven hours or more,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville.

A study conducted by a team from Mount Sinai Hospital showed having less than five hours of sleep each night had an 83% increased risk of stroke compared to sleepers who got seven to eight hours of shut-eye.

Your brain becomes foggy

Sleep deprivation affects our ability to learn and retain new information and can lead to poor long and short-term memory, as well as poor decision-making. “When we sleep our body and brain don’t actually shut off – we have light sleep phases and deeper ones,” says Neil Robinson, Sealy UK‘s resident sleep expert. “While we sleep in the deeper phases, our brain stays busy, overseeing an internal maintenance schedule that keeps us running in top condition. This helps the body repair itself and build energy for the day ahead – our muscles and tissues recover, our immune system gets a boost and all the information we have absorbed during the day gets consolidated in our memory. Without enough hours of this type of restorative sleep, we won’t function, work, learn, create, and communicate at effective levels.”

Your skin starts to age

Sleep deprivation leads to inflammation that can lead to poor skin conditions such as dullness, dryness, spots and dark circles under the eyes, and It can also age your skin.

“We all know that we look and feel worse after a bad night’s sleep,” says Georgie Cleeve, founder of skincare company OSKIA. “There is a real biological reason why a bad night’s sleep can play havoc with your skin.

“When we sleep the brain produces a brilliant chemical called Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP for short. It’s essentially our cell battery power and runs all our cellular processes throughout the day. So less sleep equals less ATP. And that means less collagen production.”

It’s Stop Snoring Week – Be sensible and act on it.

John Redfern


The dangers of snoring and sleep apnoea during pregnancy

The period of time between conception and birth is a critically important one for the lifetime health of the easily influenced growing human baby. During this 35-40 week pregnancy span an expectant mother must be in optimal health so that she can adequately supply her unborn child with the nutrients needed for healthy development, including oxygen.

Pregnant woman with doctor . Isolated.

Oxygen is a primary resource necessary to make a healthy baby possible and if oxygen is cut off from the baby, they are at risk for any number of health complications.

Snoring and sleep apnoea a common problem in pregnancy, and nearly 30% of all pregnant women experience a worsening of OSA during their pregnancy. However, OSA is not commonly assessed during routine prenatal care. In one study, although 32% of patients reported snoring, less than 3% of physicians and nurses asked about snoring during a prenatal visit.

According to findings presented by researchers to the Australian Sleep Association, 50% of pregnant women will develop snoring by their final trimester – bringing dangerous health problems for both mother and baby.

The 2 main factors causing this are related to Hormones and Weight gain.

Changes in hormone levels dilate blood vessels, and cause the mucous membrane to swell in the nose, causing congestion and a narrowing of your nasal passages that results in forcing you to breathe through your mouth as you sleep, with the outcomes being snoring.

“As you gain weight in pregnancy, your lungs have less space and also a build-up of fat in the neck tissues narrows your airways which can cause more throat breathing – in other words, snoring,” says Professor Advisor of Education for the Royal College of UK Midwives, Michelle Lyne. She adds, “If snoring began during pregnancy, then it will almost definitely stop soon after you’ve had the baby. Your hormones settle down and you lose the excess weight and fluid you’ve been carrying for 9 months – which are the main causes for starting to snore when you’re expecting”.

According to US scientists, chronic snoring may be a sign of breathing problems that could possibly affect your oxygen supply to the baby. However, chronic snoring refers to women who snore regularly and badly both before they get pregnant as well as during their pregnancy.

The study showed that a chronic snorer might be up to two thirds more likely to have a low birth-weight baby, and twice as likely to need a C-section. Chronic snoring can easily be treated,” says lead researcher, Dr Louise O’Brien, from the University of Michigan’s Sleep Disorders Centre.

Sleep apnoea is at epidemic proportions in many countries and has become increasingly common among pregnant women. Oxygen restriction places the intrauterine baby at risk for: growth restriction (IUGR), diabetes or a stillbirth. Sleep apnoea and pregnancy share a few similar symptoms, blurring the line between healthy and unhealthy body changes.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) during pregnancy presents significant potential risks to both the mother and her foetus.  Symptoms of OSA in pregnant women should not be ignored.

There are four things that make OSA during pregnancy unique:

  • It affects not just one but two patients – the mother and the foetus.
  •  Pregnancy itself is often associated with symptoms that might mimic OSA, including sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue
  •  Sleep apnoea can worsen as pregnancy progresses and changes in the condition can occur rapidly. OSA should always be diagnosed and treated promptly.
  •  OSA may be temporary, and in those cases it should end after the birth. Women diagnosed with OSA during pregnancy should be checked again following the birth as the problem with all its associated health dangers may continue undiagnosed otherwise.

Approximately 85% of adults who have sleep apnoea are undiagnosed but Sleep apnoea during pregnancy is something that can be treated and the harmful effects to the baby from lack of oxygen can most certainly be prevented. There is no reason for a mother or her baby to have insufficient access to oxygen. Instead of worrying if her baby is getting the nutrients needed for healthy development, an expectant mother can prepare for an exciting future.

John Redfern


Dentists report a 30% increase in Bruxism in the last five years.

Bruxism, or grinding and severely clenching your teeth, is widely thought of as a sleep-related disorder and it is growing rapidly as a problem. Many bruxers who clench or grind their teeth during the night have other types of sleep disorder, such as snoring and pauses in breathing that may be sleep apnoea or closely related to it.

sore jaw from night clenching

While most of us are dreaming away peacefully, about one in 10 adults gnash their teeth and aggressively clench their jaw muscles during sleep. Generally, 4 out of 5 people that have bruxism are unaware that have it.

However it’s not only adults who grind their teeth; more than a third of parents report the symptoms of bruxism in their children. Bruxers differ from other healthy individuals as they can tend to suffer more from depression and stress. Children who suffer from bruxism tend to be more anxious than non-bruxers. In the case of adults, it has been found that grinding is made worse by various factors such as snoring, drugs, alcohol, stress, caffeine, smoking or other chemical imbalances in the body.

This unintentional gym workout of the facial muscles can leave a trail of pain and utter destruction. Teeth can end up worn done to the gum, even with abscesses festering around the tooth roots as a result. There’s often a slow deterioration of the smile appearing, due to the ever-shortening teeth, with an accompanying enlargement of the cheek muscles, giving an overly square facial appearance.

Annoyingly for a bruxer or teeth grinder, trips to the dentist seem never ending, with teeth breaking, jaw joint pain and fillings coming out. Severe morning headaches from the stress and effort are another consequence of this involuntary happening.

It has been found that heavy snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea, both of which restrict the amount of air going into the body, can also set off bruxism. Treating sleep apnoea is also known to help to reduce tooth grinding.

Doctors still don’t completely understand the causes, but intense emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension may be at the root of the problem. The more stressed you are, the more likely you are to start bruxing. Nervous tension, anger and frustration can cause people to start showing the signs of bruxism without even knowing it.

Commonly, the response to bruxism is to simply treat the symptom by offering a mouth guard to wear during sleep.

A mouth guard is typically the first step a dentist will recommend toward preventing or correcting damage to the teeth, as it keeps the teeth separated to soften the impact of any clenching or grinding.

The mouth guard has two roles. It does its job by protecting the teeth, but also, and perhaps more importantly, it serves as a useful self-care gauge. The deeper the notches in the mouth guard, the more attention one needs to pay to emotional well being, stress and/or anger management.

These inexpensive specialist custom-made appliances are easily available and can now be supplied direct to your home without any dental visits. They are usually made to fit the upper teeth, but by request can also be made to fit the lower set as an alternative. It will be made to fit your dental profile exactly and when it is worn at night it will prevent the many problems of bruxism where you subconsciously grind your teeth and clench your jaw.

SleepPro offer three separate options in the Night Guard product range to help you with the problem – a lighter gauge of material for light clenching or grinding, a heavier gauge for more severe requirements, and a heavier gauge still that has a soft interior filling.

It’s easy to fit a SleepPro Night Guard – there are no real complications. Simply follow the simple instructions that are given in the leaflet that accompanies the product, make an impression of your teeth, and return it in the postage-paid package provided, directly to their dental laboratory.

A SleepPro dental technician will assess the impression and if all is well, you will receive your perfectly fitting Night Guard in only a week’s time with an accompanying Storage Case to keep it safe and clean. Headache over !!

A full 24/7 advice line is available on 0800 808 5372 and purchases can also be made that way, or alternatively from the Night Guard page online.

 


Snoring is contributing greatly to a massive increase in World Obesity

World media is focused at the moment on the benefits of adequate amounts of undisturbed sleep, and the health problems this creates. The research, led by scientists from Imperial College London and published in The Lancet, compared body mass index (BMI) among almost 20 million adult men and women from 1975 to 2014.

It found obesity in men has tripled and more than doubled in women.

Obesity-Image

The world’s newspapers, plus the leading TV stations and Internet News Channels, have all headlined with the story this week that obesity is quite literally a massive growing world problem.

No country is excluded from this. The study, which pooled data from adults in 186 countries, found that the number of obese people worldwide had risen from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014. This equates to 266 million obese men and 375 million obese women in the world at the end of 2014.

It’s a vicious, ever turning circle. Health research has shown that disturbed nights due to either snoring or sleep apnoea causes late night snacking and as a consequence weight gain – and as a result the increased weight also narrows the throat to cause even worse levels of snoring.

The research also found:

  • More obese men and women now live in China and the USA than in any other country
  • Almost a fifth of the world’s obese adults – 118 million – live in only six high-income English-speaking countries – Australia, Canada, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, UK, and the US
  • Women in the UK have the third highest BMI in Europe and the 10th highest for men
  • By 2025, the UK is projected to have the highest levels of obese women in Europe (38%), followed by Republic of Ireland (37%) and Malta (34%)

Other statistics from the study include:

  • China has the largest number of obese people in the world with 43.2 million men and 46.4 million women
  • The US has 41.7 million obese men and 46.1 million obese women

In comparison in the UK the study found 6.8 million obese men in 2014, and 7.7 million obese women.

The average adult in the United Kingdom sleeps for 6.8 hours a night, which is below the 7.7 hours people feel they need according to the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), and the figures according to other sources are almost identical for the North America, Australia, and Europe

This lower sleep level doesn’t sound much but it amounts to losing an entire night’s sleep over the course of a week.

The RSPH, which represents around 6,000 public health specialists, said poor sleep has been undeniably linked to a range of conditions including:

  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • heart attack
  • depression

It has called on the Government to introduce national sleep guidance and both instigate and support policies that reduce and control sleep disorders.

“We do need to wake up to the benefits of sleep – there is a wealth of evidence that lack of sleep is damaging the public’s health,” said Shirley Cramer chief executive of RSPH.

She added: “Efforts to combat this shortfall could be as critical to optimising our health and wellbeing as maintaining an active lifestyle or having a healthy diet.”

Yet again this is conclusive evidence that snoring, sleep apnoea, and other sleep disorders damage your health. You need to do something about it yourself if the Government won’t act on your behalf.

John Redfern