NHS Cuts Snoring Surgery

Stop snoring with a sleeppro mouthpiece

As reported by the BBC   and several other news outlets the NHS is to stop or reduce 17 routine procedures deemed to be “ineffective or risky” one of those will be surgery for snoring. We have referred to surgery many times in our articles as it has always been a very contentious subject, for a very small group it is the only option but as a routine procedure the risks and poor outcomes have been recognized as a significant negative, placing snoring surgery on the “cut” list.

So where does that leave those seeking a solution? Or those of us who just want to reduce the snoring or at least have some degree of control over it, as a healthy 50 something male I know I snore, my wife tells me! As director of a company that sells anti snore products that’s embarrassing! I have available all the tools necessary to stop it, I know I can wear a mouthpiece and that will stop it, but my snoring is intermittent and I don’t want to wear one all the time, I know if I’m tired and had a few drinks I’m going to snore, so on those occasions I will reach for the mouthpiece, but how to stop those in-between occasions, when I have not had a drink, I’m not over tired and it just happens? Well I think there may now be a way!

As we know snoring in simple terms is the sound created by turbulent air movement through a restricted airway, in an orchestra that’s the oboe, bassoon, trumpet, flute and any of the other melodic musical instruments one blows into, sadly snoring has yet to be classed as a musical entertainment, unless it’s a YouTube video of granddad snoring in the armchair with his teeth half way down his front after a satisfying Sunday lunch! So how to stop it?

Well its going to happen to all of us at some point, but we can delay or reduce it’s impact. By toning up the muscles and structures of the upper airway we can improve the stability and “rigidity” of the tissues to reduce the amount they vibrate as we breath, the result is a reduction in snoring. In Gym terms is the same as working out to improve the 6 pack, tone and firm to get rid of flabby belly fat. So wouldn’t that be nice, a few simple exercises to help reduce snoring, but who wants to exercise, we all have way too much to be doing, right!

But for a second, what if you could spend a couple of minutes a day doing something that would stop or reduce your snoring and what if its something you already do! Something you do over 2,000 times a day!

Swallowing, yep we do that over 2,000 times a day and we take little notice of how we do it or if we do it correctly. Fact is stranger than fiction sometimes and swallowing is actually something many of us just don’t do correctly and can be a very positive way of tightening and toning the upper airway. There  is an online course offered a respected oral surgeon in the United States offering such training, for only $100 a month! And if you want to go further there are products and services  offered by speech therapists costing in excess $1,200 providing  electronic evaluation of swallowing function and performance. I don’t think any of us want to go that far which is why I was really impressed with a new product that came our way, the Dream Sipper.

At first glance it looks like a straw, which in essence is what it is, but designed in a way as to offer resistance and “exercise” the throat when used in conjunction with a simple swallowing technique which takes a whole 2 minutes and only requires you drink a glass of water once a day. Just like a routine in the gym, over time it will strengthen and tone your throat, improving the tissue stability during sleep and reducing the snoring both in frequency and volume and in many cases stopping it completely. Now its not an instant fix, it takes time but for the very modest investment of £21.45 and a little commitment it can delay the need for more robust solutions, after 3 weeks use I can vouch for the snoring reduction, as can my wife, for that reason we added it to our product portfolio, as one of the leading providers of products to stop snoring we seldom add products we do not have 100% confidence in.

So for those looking for a proactive snore stopping workout for the throat, Dream Sipper is here and for the next 5 days use discount code DREAM for 20% off your purchase, so act now, offer will expire July 5th 2018

 


Which of these Anti-Snoring Devices Have You Tried?

 

So many companies claim to have hit the jackpot when it comes to snoring.

There are a huge variety of remedies out there. Some work. Most don’t. How many have you tried?

Last week, I was in the queue at the local supermarket. You know when you time it completely wrong? Yeah, that was me.Children screaming. People everywhere. Not enough staff. That was the scenario. As I rush around, I tune out everything. The goal is simple. Get out.I make it as far as the checkout queue. It’s long. I keep my eyes and ears open for an alternative. Meanwhile, in front of me is a couple talking in frustrated tones.

It’s hard NOT to overhear. And it’s immediately clear that the gentleman in question is a snorer.”Alright then, I’ll try it!”, he exclaims. As I drive home, I can’t forget the expression on his face. I wondered what he just agreed to try. And what about all the things that hadn’t worked for him.

It starts with sprays, sinus rinses and nasal strips. Then you have the oral hygiene products. The same price bracket reveals “special” pillows. There are even acupuncture rings for your finger. You ever tried those?

Another cheap option is a rubber chinstrap. Two stretchy bands run around your head and chin. They hold your jaw in place whilst you sleep. That reduces the risk of snoring. If you’ve done all of these options, what’s left?

Well if you want to go right to the top, there’s the CPAP. Continuous Positive Airways Pressure. Great name, right? You wear a breathing mask through the night. It’s attached to an electrical pump. And that forces air through your collapsed airway. This prevents the vibration which causes snoring. Heavy duty equipment and must be medically supervised. I got to use one of these once. Not by choice. It was whilst I was in intensive care for 10 days. Won’t ever be choosing one. And can’t ever imagine my wife getting on board.

So what does that leave?

Well there is a category of devices called MAD. Stands for Mandibular Advancement Device. The medical science people love their complicated names. It might not be an easy name to say, but it’s incredibly easy to use.A custom polymer mouthpiece holds the lower jaw and tongue forward. That makes more space to breathe well. And that, in turn, prevents snoring. The figures show they work. As well as being simple and comfortable, they’re medically-approved. Plus, they’re affordable.

Starting at around £40, they’re probably the cheapest, medically-approved solution out there.

Question is, was that what my supermarket friend was off to try? I hope so.

But I guess I’ll never know…


Why Can’t I Stop Snoring?!

Stop snoring with a sleeppro mouthpiece

Why Can’t I Stop Snoring?!

Across the UK, 15 million people snore. That’s almost 1 in 4 people in Britain.

Some people don’t like Americanisms in British language. But even those people can’t ignore the fact that snoring sucks. Or is it, snoring blows?

Either way, it’s no fun. And if you’re currently affected, or have been in the past, you’ll know that yourself. For some people, it can interrupt their own sleep. Even if YOU can sleep, it’s almost certain that it’s quietly enraging your partner. But worse than both of those, it’s actually bad for your health. In some cases it can even be dangerous.

So what causes it?

With all these millions of people snoring in the UK, there are a whole range of causes to examine. Each case will no doubt have its unique factors.

The basic sound of snoring is a vibration from your airway. The cause is an obstruction created by everything in there relaxing as you sleep.

Men snore louder than women. They are also twice as likely to snore in the first place.

BUT HOW DO I STOP IT?!

I hear you, I hear you! I know how frustrating it can be. To treat the snoring, you have to know what’s causing the restricted airway. At its core, snoring is difficulty in breathing.

Here are the most common causes of that difficulty:

– Weight: The structures around your neck work to keep your airway clear. Whilst you’re awake, this is easier. As you sleep, they relax. If you’re even a little overweight, you could have excess fatty tissue around them. That makes it harder for them to work whilst you sleep. A collar size over 16.5 is commonly used as a yardstick.

– Age: The highest proportion of snorers are between 50-59. As we get older, our muscle tone generally decreases. This causes problems with maintaining a clear airway.

– Drinking/smoking/medication: Each of these can cause the relaxation of your muscles and so make you snore.

– Sleeping position: Sleeping flat is the most likely to obstruct your airway. Thereby causing you to snore.

– Nasal or sinus problems: Straightforward, this one. If you have a restricted airway before you fall asleep, it’s even more likely you’ll snore.

You’ll notice that 3 of these causes are directly linked to your general health & fitness. A fourth, sleeping position, you can alter. So that only leaves age which none of us can do anything about.

The great news here is that means that are plenty of things you can try to do to fix your snoring.

For some people, an anti-snoring product will be the answer. And for a lot of those people, it could prove life changing. But in a lot of cases, looking at the causes above and making adjustments could bring welcome change. For you AND you partner.

Smoking and/or drinking less will help. General fitness and health will improve your muscle tone, weight and airway strength. And sleeping on your side could well make a difference to a lot of people.

The point is, there are plenty of things you can do. It may take some time to find what works for you. But the investment will be worth it.

Imagine a full, refreshing night’s sleep. You wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. No more arguments with your partner.

Worth striving for, I’m sure you’ll agree


Experts Reveal Their Top Tips on How to Get Better Sleep

How to get better sleep featured

Why Sleep Is Important

A healthy sleep routine is incredibly important when it comes to the normal functioning of both your mental and physical health and overall wellbeing. Whether you’re consistently having sleepless nights or you have the odd lack of sleep which tends to put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, it’s important to understand why this might be happening and to do something about it!

As well as being linked to depression and leading to weight gain, having lack of sleep on a consistent basis can lead to some very severe health problems. Learn how to sleep better and you can maximise your athletic performance, have a healthy weight, lower your stress levels, as well as improve your concentration and productivity levels. Sounds pretty good right? Well, keep on reading as we have some fantastic tips straight from the experts to help get you started.

How to Get Good Sleep Naturally?

Unless you have a serious sleep condition such as Sleep Apnea, there is no reason why you can’t improve your sleep habits and regular sleep routine with some natural steps and adjusting your lifestyle. Having a healthy sleep pattern is incredibly underestimated by many people and it’s really crucial to start making some changes now. As well as getting in touch with some sleep experts for their top tips, we’ve also listed some of our own advice below:

  • Turn off the screens
  • Choose the right mattress
  • Learn how to relax in the evening
  • Dim the lights two hours before bed
  • Sleep in total darkness
  • Be smart about what you eat and drink
  • Sleeping and exercise (Ensure to exercise regularly during the day)
  • Improve your sleep environment

Experts Reveal Their Top Tips to Help You Go to Sleep

To collate the best tips on how to get better sleep, we wanted to reach out to the experts themselves to get their professional advice on how to get a good night’s sleep. Check out our experts guide below and discover some of the leading sleep therapists, insomnia specialists, and hypnotherapists out there and what advice they have. We asked the below experts one simple question:

What would be your best tip for getting better sleep?

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the experts below that took the time to take part in this roundup post. Enjoy reading this selection of top tips to help you sleep better, and please feel free to share it around if you find it useful!

Dr. Michael Breus

The Sleep Doctor

Michael J.Breus, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Michael-Breus



“Step 1: Stick to 1 schedule, this helps keep your circadian rhythms in sync.

Step 2: Stop caffein by 2pm, with a half life of 6-8 hours stopping at 2, will prevent any problems falling asleep.

Step 3: Stop alcohol 3 hours before lights out. This way if you have 1-2 at dinner it will not effect your sleep.

Step 4: Exercise daily, but limit exercise 4 hours before bed (it can make some people more energized).

Step 5: Get 15 min of sunlight each morning to turn off the Melatonin faucet in your brain, and reduce morning fog.”

Dr. Richard Shane

Behavioral Sleep Therapist

Richard Shane, PhD, is the developer of the Sleep Easily method.

“As a reaction to stress many people press their tongue against the roof of their mouth or their teeth. Your tongue is a switch in your nervous system. Right now—and when you want to sleep—allow your tongue to relax and be a little calmer. It can be anywhere in your mouth, even lightly touching the roof of your mouth or your teeth, just not pressing.

Allowing your tongue to relax will also help your jaw relax, and calm your neck, head and shoulders and begin to calm your mind and emotions, helping you ease toward sleep.”

Richard-Shane



Kathryn Pinkham

Consultant Insomnia Specialist

Kathryn Pinkham runs The Insomnia Clinic. Her approach involves using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBT-i).

Kathryn-Pinkham



“My best sleep tip would be to resist the temptation to go to bed too early. People who sleep poorly tend to go to bed early in the hopes that this will give them more opportunity to sleep, however more often than not they end up laying in bed tossing and turning for hours before they drop off. This time spent awake in bed creates a negative connection between bed and sleeping as the time is often spent experiencing negative feelings such as frustration and worry. My advice is, spend the evening winding down, writing down your thoughts and worries and doing anything that needs to be done for the next day and then go to bed when you are truly tired and this way you are more likely to nod off.

We can’t sleep without a good drive for sleep being built up, this is just like our appetite for food, the longer we are awake the ‘hungrier’ we are for sleep. So, getting up early and staying awake throughout the day will give you a strong drive to sleep and make your chances of nodding off quickly higher.”

Sharon Stiles

Hypnotherapist

Sharon Stiles – Hypnotherapist, CBT, NLP, EMDR and EFT Practitioner.

“My top tip for getting to sleep is to learn Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It’s a great way to calm down a busy mind and get into a more relaxed state that helps you sleep more easily. EFT involves rubbing on a number of acupressure points whilst you focus on what is preventing you sleeping. That could be thoughts going round and round in your mind or a fear of not being able to sleep. Although it can initially look strange it is easy to learn and simple to use.”





Christabel Majendie

Sleep Therapist

Christabel Majendie – Psychologist/sleep therapist providing sleep therapy and advice for sleep problems and insomnia.

Christabel-Majendie

“My best tip for getting better sleep would be to spend more time outside in natural daylight to boost melatonin levels, the hormone that regulates the timing and duration of sleep. It is the contrast between light exposure during the day and during the evening that is recognised by the brain as a signal for the release of melatonin.

Therefore, a combination of exposure to natural daylight during the day and dimmer lights during the evening can help to regulate your sleeping patterns.”


Silencing The Snores – What Causes Snoring and How Can You Prevent It?

Silencing the snores featured

Did you know that 22% of British couples already sleep in separate rooms due to snoring and other sleep problems? Also, 30% of people over 30 years old snore. Those facts are pretty shocking and something needs to be done about it!

Are you known as the snorer in your family? Or do you have constant sleepless nights due to another family member snoring the night away? It’s hard not to take it out on a snorer and get angry but there are actually proper causes of snoring and it’s important to fully understand what causes snoring, as well as looking into some possible treatments.

What Causes Snoring?

There can be a number of causes of snoring and the good news is that most of them do actually have solutions to help you and your family get a better night’s sleep. From lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol, to sleeping on your back, mouth breathing, obesity around the neck, blockage of the breathing passage and Sleep Apnea, there are quite a few causes of snoring.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is one of the causes of snoring and sleep problems. Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep. Did you know that at least 20% of the snorers have Sleep Apnea? It’s a serious health problem as it could lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, liver problems, memory problems and even depression. Think you might have Sleep Apnea? It’s important to get it looked into now and see which snoring remedies could work best for you and your lifestyle.

Snoring Solutions

What can I do to stop snoring? As a general guidance, it’s always advised to try out some general preventive measures to stop snoring and see if that helps first before going down more of a serious treatment route. It’s always a good idea to seek the help of your doctor as well to see if they have any advice for your general health.

Some common preventive measures to try out first is to try losing some weight (especially if you’ve got excess fat around your neck), avoid smoking, avoid drinking alcohol (especially just before bed) and to try sleeping on your side rather than lying flat on your back.

What Are The Causes of Snoring? (Infographic)

Snoring and sleep Apnea is much more serious than you might think and if left undiagnosed, it could turn out to be fatal. To help you out, we’ve put together this infographic below, designed by us here at Sleeppro, to outline some of the most common causes of snoring, as well as some general preventive measures and some common snoring solutions and treatments.

If you like the infographic, please feel free to share the infographic with your own readers to enjoy or share with your friends as well!

Silencing the Snores

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Lack of sleep makes you put on weight and that makes you snore

In fact it’s a vicious circle because if you snore you will suffer from disturbed sleep causing further weight gain that will make your snoring worse. Don’t forget the disturbed night that it causes for your partner with the same result. The two-pronged solution is to stop snoring and also control your weight.

Woman (age 30-40) suffers from her partner (age 35 - 45) snoring in bed. Couple lifestyle and people health care concept. Real people copy space

It seems simple but having the right amount of quality sleep is important – in fact it’s vital. A simple thing – but there can be complex problems as a result.

New findings published by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey add to the growing body of evidence that shows just how important a good night’s sleep is to health. Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to the new study.

The findings showed that people who were sleeping an average of only six hours a night had a waist measurement that was 3 cm greater than that of individuals who were getting nine hours of sleep a night. In addition, shorter sleepers were also heavier as well.

The study involved 1,615 adults who reported how long they slept and kept records of food intake. Participants had blood samples taken and their weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure recorded. The researchers looked at the associations between how long people were sleeping and these key biological parameters.

The results strengthen the evidence that insufficient sleep could contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes – just one of the major health challenges facing the NHS in Britain and also other countries.

The study was led by Dr Laura Hardie, Reader in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Leeds – not only looked at the links between sleep duration, diet and weight, but also other indicators of overall metabolic health such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and thyroid function.

The Leeds researcher said: “The number of people with obesity worldwide has more than doubled since 1980. Obesity contributes to the development of many diseases most notably type 2 diabetes. Understanding why people gain weight has crucial implications for public health.”

Snoring is a key factor in all these situations as far as health is concerned, and it has also been proved that it is closely related to a much higher risk of cardio-vascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks.

Shorter sleep was also linked to reduced levels of HDL cholesterol in the participants’ blood and this is another factor that can cause health problems. HDL cholesterol is ‘good’ cholesterol that helps remove ‘bad’ fat from the circulation. In doing so, high HDL cholesterol levels protect against conditions such as heart disease and snoring disrupts its development.

Interestingly, the study did not find any relationship between shortened sleep and a less healthy diet – a fact that surprised the researchers. Other previous studies have suggested that shortened sleep can lead to poor dietary choices and excessive snacking.

The research was a snapshot of the associations between sleep duration and measurements of metabolic health. It was not designed to assess the impact of chronic poor sleep over time, and whether that leads to disease but other reports have assessed this and proved the relationship.

Dr Laura Hardie, the study’s senior investigator, added: “Because we found that adults who reported sleeping less than their peers were more likely to be overweight or obese, our findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep. How much sleep we need differs between people, but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults.”

Stopping snoring is a key factor in maintaining good health and it’s both easy and important to prevent the problem. Simple inexpensive oral appliances, worn during sleep, prevent snoring in almost all cases. SleepPro oral appliances have been tested by the NHS in Britain and are strongly recommended by the NHS as first recommendation to all patients who suffer from snoring or the more dangerous problem of obstructive sleep apnoea.

John Redfern


How to Sleep Better – The Complete Guide

how to sleep better
      
The quality of your life and your physical health are both directly influenced by a good night’s sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep everything seems to be thrown off balance: your energy levels drop throughout the day, you feel less productive and, in the long term, you might end up gaining weight.  Sleep helps our brains work properly. Since it plays such an essential role to our overall health, it’s paramount to get the right amount of sleep every night. You might be tempted to sleep less during weekdays and take comfort in the idea that you’ll make up for it by sleeping in on weekends. But researchers point out that this might do more damage than good.

Sleep deficiency is a problem that most people have to deal with at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s because of stressful exams, impending work deadlines or personal problems, individuals of all ages are bound to be sleep deprived at some point in their lives.

As a consequence, the damage can manifest itself under two forms: either in an instant or over a longer period of time. Immediate sleep deprivation effects include developing an increased risk for certain chronic health issues. Long term effects include, but are not limited to, affecting the way you behave, work, socialise, learn and even think.

      

THE 5 STAGES OF SLEEP

People usually go through 4 non-REM stages of sleep before reaching the fifth, final stage, which is called rapid eye movement or REM. The phases pass cyclically and each sleeper will go through stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM. Then, the cycle begins again from stage 1. A full sleep cycle ranges from 90 to 110 minutes and each sleeping phase ranges from 5 to 15 minutes.
stage-1

STAGE 1

The first stage of the sleeping cycle is characterized by falling in and out of sleep. In this phase, people can easily be awakened.

Muscle activity starts to slow down and the eyes move more slowly. Many people report experiencing a sensation of falling in the first stage of sleep.

This is owed to sudden muscle contractions that give the impression of falling, followed by a sudden awakening.

stage-2

STAGE 2

In the second stage of sleep eye movements stop and the body is starting to get ready for the deep sleep phase.

As the brain waves are getting slower, there are only a few rare bursts of rapid brain waves.

At the same time, the overall body temperature starts to decrease and the heart rate slows down.

stage-3

STAGE 3

The third stage of every sleeping cycle is also known as deep sleep.

Very slow brain waves are intermixed with shorter, more rapid waves.

During this phase, sleepers can experience night terrors or sleepwalking.

The episodes are also known as parasomnias and appear when the body transitions between a non-REM stage and REM.

stage-4

STAGE 4

The fourth stage of the sleeping cycle comprises only slow brain waves that are also called delta waves.

Sleepers who are woken up from stage four of sleeping will most likely be disoriented for a few seconds before becoming fully awake and aware of their whereabouts.

stage-5

STAGE 5

In the Rapid Eye Movement phase, the brain waves will resemble the activity of the waking state.

Despite the fact that the eyes are shut close, they move from side to side very fast, as a result of brain activity and intense dreaming.

During this stage of sleeping, the brain is super active, however, all the muscles of the body are paralyzed with the exception of the lungs and the heart.

Muscle paralysis is directly connected to conditions like sleep suffocation or sleep apnea, experienced by some people. The REM stage of the sleeping cycle becomes longer after 5 or 6 hours of sleep.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

Are you experiencing difficulty falling asleep regardless of how tired you are? Or are you waking up in the middle of the night, finding it hard to go back to sleep? The issue you are likely to be experiencing is insomnia. This is a very common condition that can all of a sudden take effect.

Unfortunately, insomniacs have to deal with even more annoying consequences than the condition itself. Insomnia causes mood swings and affects people’s ability to work and function during the day. Chronic insomnia can have severe effects on health, leaving the individual prone to fatigue, stomach problems, migraines, headaches and much more.

There are other reasons that might be keeping you up at night other than insomnia, including:

Anxiety

Overthinking might be the one keeping you up when you should be sleeping.

When you are going in and out of the first stage of sleep, you have no control over your thoughts.

As a result, it’s harder to rein in worries or negative thinking. This can easily keep you up for hours at a time or even the entire night.

prob1

Oversleeping

As tempting and beneficial as it might seem at a first glance, sleeping in actually messes up your internal clock.

Lying more in bed on a Saturday or a Sunday will make it harder for you to wake up on following weekdays, and, as a consequence, will make it harder to fall asleep.

prob2

A Snoring Partner

If your spouse snores and you’re a light sleeper, it can easily rouse you and make it impossible for you to fall back asleep. The loudest snoring sounds can reach 90 decibels, which is as loud as a subway!

Even if you fall back asleep, you will feel fatigued and tired when waking up in the morning. The best way to deal with this issue is for your partner to start using a custom made anti-snoring device that will allow both of you to get a good night’s rest.

prob3

Hormonal Changes

Women might experience difficulty falling asleep or sleeping due to hormonal changes prior or during their period.

The levels of progesterone and estrogen fluctuate, which sabotage sleep and cause sleepers to wake up during the night followed by difficulty falling back asleep.

prob4

Hunger

If you are crash dieting and skipping dinner altogether, you might want to reconsider going to bed on an empty stomach.

Heading to bed hungry can hamper with your sleep.

You might be awakened by hunger pangs, which disrupt your sleeping cycle and make you susceptible to having a hard time waking up the next morning.

prob5

A Cluttered Bedroom

This might seem trivial at first, but a messy nightstand does have the ability to interfere with your night’s rest.

The simple explanation behind this is that physical clutter and mess makes for a cluttered, stressed, anxious mind.

Researchers have found that stress is the main cause of sleep issues, including waking up in the middle of the night and experiencing insomnia.

prob6

Back to beginning

Common Sleep Issues

Sleep is influenced by a wide array of factors and conditions. Things like stress, diet, environment, activity levels, temperature, noise and light all have an impact on how fast you fall asleep and the quality of your rest.

1. Insomnia

This sleep disorder causes difficulty to fall or to stay asleep. This condition results in non-restorative or unrefreshing sleep. Insomnia affects up to 35% of adults and can be very upsetting and frustrating.

The consequences range from mild to severe since insomnia can impact sleepers’ health, leaving them feeling drowsy, fatigued and sullen throughout the day. This sleeping condition can be distracting, impacting people’s concentration levels and mood. It can affect work or school and sometimes it puts mental health at risk.

Insomnia varies in its length and occurrence frequency.

  • Short-term or acute insomnia can last one night or a few weeks. Some causes of acute insomnia include illness, physical pain or discomfort, stress, medication or external factors such as light, noise and temperature.
  • Long-term or chronic insomnia occurs at least three or four times a week over the course of a month or more. Some causes of chronic insomnia include chronic stress, anxiety, depression and pain at night.

Types of Insomnia

Doctors have identified two different types of insomnia:

  • Primary insomnia. Patients experience primary insomnia when the condition is not directly associated with another health issue.
  • Secondary insomnia. Patients experience secondary insomnia when the condition appears as a “side-effect” of another health issue such as depression, heartburn, asthma or arthritis. Secondary insomnia can also occur as a side effect of medication or a substance consumed by the sleeper such as alcohol or caffeine.


Back to beginning

2. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects a small part of the population. Individuals with this condition periodically stop breathing during sleep. The number of sleep apnea episodes a person experiences per night ranges vastly from a few times to dozens of times. When the sleeper stops breathing, the brain is disturbed from deep sleep stages and the person wakes up in order to restart breathing.

People who suffer from sleep apnea are prone to a poor night’s sleep. When episodes of sleep apnea happen dozens of times a night, the quality of sleep decreases drastically, making way for a wide array of medical issues.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea that vary in symptoms, intensity and causes.

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Caused either by a complete or partial airway blockage during sleep, obstructive sleep apnea happens when the sleeper’s throat muscles relax and allow the tongue or the throat’s fatty tissue to fall back and block the airflow. This prevents air from moving past the obstruction and, as a result, blood flow to the brain is reduced. The brain is partially awoken in order to trigger the body into waking up to breathe again.

The severity of obstructive sleep apnea varies. Mild obstructive sleep apnea occurs five to fourteen times in an hour. Moderate obstructive sleep apnea happens fifteen to thirty time in an hour. Severe obstructive sleep apnea occurs more than thirty times in an hour.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

  • Snoring – regular, loud and disruptive snoring is a prominent symptom of OSA.
  • Headaches – morning headaches are a consequence of lack of oxygen during the night which stems from irregular breathing.
  • Irritability – loss of sleep can heavily impact an individual’s well-being. Patients with OSA often experience irritability and even depression.
  • Restless sleep – as the patient with OSA is constantly being awakened by their brain, sufferers are deprived of deep, quality sleep.

Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

Mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea can be kept under control with a custom-made mouthpiece that prevents sleepers from snoring and keeps apnea episodes at bay. This is an affordable option, recommended by doctors that is comfortable and safe to wear each night.

2. Central Sleep Apnea

This condition occurs when the brain doesn’t signal the muscles in charge with breathing. Much rarer than Obstructive Sleep Apnea, CSA often appears as a consequence of medical conditions that impact the brainstem.

Symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea:

  • Irregular breathing during sleep.
  • Shortness of breath that leads to waking up.
  • Severe drowsiness during the day.
  • Chronic fatigue as a result of restless sleep.
  • Mood changes often accompanied by irritability, as a consequence of a poor night’s rest.

3. Mixed Sleep Apnea

As the name suggests, mixed sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. 15% of individuals who believe to only have OSA might actually have CSA as well, a study from 2006 shows.

The condition was identified when patients who were undergoing CPAP treatment for OSA still had trouble breathing while asleep.

2

Other Sleeping Disorders

There are various sleeping disorders out there affecting 1 in 3 individuals. The symptoms range from mild to severe and each affects the individual’s quality of life in a different way. Here are three interesting sleeping disorders that are more common than you might think.

Parasomnia

This condition includes all the abnormal things that people undergo while they are falling asleep or sleeping, excluding sleep apnea. Some examples of parasomnias are sleep paralysis, nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep aggression and REM sleep behavior disorder.

Parasomnia can happen during sleep or when a person is abruptly awakened. The latter includes sleep terrors or confusional arousals. Parasomnia is genetic but can also be a cause of brain disorders. Various medications are also known to trigger episodes of parasomnia.

Cataplexy

Cataplexy is characterized by an uncontrollable and abrupt muscle paralysis or weakness. Caused by an autoimmune disorder, cataplexy is triggered by extreme emotions that include crying or terror. The condition affects up to 70% of patients who suffer from narcolepsy.

Cataplectic attacks are the result of muscular weakness that can vary from a mere slackening of facial muscles to full muscle paralysis. The episodes are brief and only last a few seconds or up to a couple of minutes.

Narcolepsy

This neurological disorder impacts the sufferer’s control over wakefulness and sleep. Individuals who suffer from narcolepsy have to deal with daytime sleepiness and impossible to control episodes of falling asleep during the day. Narcolepsy attacks can happen at any time of the day and during all types of activity.


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Other Reasons for Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation has a slew of causes varying from medical problems such as depression or hormone imbalance to external and environmental factors like noise and excessive light. These are a few of the most common reasons you might be losing sleep or getting a poor night’s rest.

Grinding Teeth

Also known as bruxism, grinding teeth on a regular basis can stem from anxiety, stress, an abnormal bite or a sleeping disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs at night, during sleep and can lead to teeth damaging and other oral health issues.

Since teeth grinding happens when you sleep, you might not be aware you have this habit unless someone else hears you. However, there are a few clues that will let you know you grind your teeth at night.

A sore jaw or a dull headache right when you wake up could indicate you suffer from bruxism. If you’re uncertain whether you have this condition or not, a dentist will help you shed some light on the issue. They will examine your mouth and look for signs of excessive wear on your teeth or jaw tenderness.

Tips to Stop Grinding Your Teeth:

  • Refrain from consuming drinks or foods that have caffeine (chocolate, coffee, fizzy drinks).
  • Refrain from drinking alcoholic drinks, since they promote teeth grinding.
  • Do not chew gum as it gets your muscles used to clenching and increases the chances of teeth grinding during sleep.
  • Notice when you tend to grind or clench your teeth and replace it with another habit. Try putting the tip of your tongue between your teeth, allowing your jaw muscles to relax.
  • Start using a night guard that fits comfortably and eliminates headaches. This device will protect your teeth from damage and allow you to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleepwalking

With a self-explanatory name, sleepwalking is a condition that makes people get out of bed and walk in their sleep. Most of the time, sleepwalking occurs when the individual goes from a deep stage of sleep to a lighter stage of sleep.

During the sleepwalking episode, the person is not awake and can’t talk or respond to questions. The sleepwalker won’t remember the episode. In the instances when the sleepwalker talks, they are incoherent or don’t make sense. While sleepwalking occurs predominantly in children between 4 and 8 years old, some adults experience it too.

Sleepwalkers can either get up and walk quietly around their room or they can attempt to run and escape. When they are sleepwalking, people have their eyes open. If questioned, they usually don’t say anything or respond very slowly. If sleepwalkers get back to bed without waking, they will most likely not remember the episode the next day.

Causes of Sleepwalking:

  • Sleep deprivation – being sleep deprived can lead to sleepwalking, especially when the person is under a lot of stress or suffers from anxiety.
  • Hectic sleep schedule – irregular bed and waking up hours promote sleepwalking since they can completely throw off the body’s internal clock.
  • Alcohol – episodes of sleepwalking can occur when the person has been drinking and went to sleep while still drunk.
  • Medication – some drugs have been linked to causing sleepwalking episodes, such as stimulants used for boosting activity, neuroleptics used for psychosis or antihistamines used for allergy treatments.
  • Fever – high fever can trigger sleepwalking, especially in kids.
  • Psychiatric disorders – certain conditions such as panic attacks, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or multiple personality disorder can cause sleepwalking episodes, chiefly in adults.

Sleep Hygiene

A poor sleep hygiene can be the reason why it takes you hours to fall asleep or you’re not getting any sleep at all. Unlike medical conditions that cause sleep deprivation and can’t be managed, sleep hygiene is easy to handle and master.

These are the top sleep hygiene tips for promoting a good night’s sleep on a constant basis:

  • Adopt a regular sleep routine. It might sound trivial, but going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning is the golden rule of good sleep hygiene. The schedule should remain the same on all nights of the week, with small exceptions permitted of up to 20 minutes +/-. This makes sure your internal clock knows what to expect, regulating your metabolism and making easier to fall asleep and to wake up immediately.
  • Avoid naps. Even when you feel extremely tired during daytime, you should refrain from lying down on the bed and taking a nap. People need a specific amount of rest and sleep during 24 hours. Whenever we take a nap during the day, we practically take away some of the time we need to sleep the following night. This can lead to sleep fragmentation as well as difficulty falling asleep. A haphazard sleeping schedule consisting of long or frequent naps can lead to insomnia.
  • Don’t lay in bed if you’re awake for more than 10 minutes. When you’re experiencing difficulty falling asleep, you’re most likely tossing and turning in bed, listening to the clock ticking and dreading being awake. This is a counter intuitive way of falling asleep. A better way to make yourself sleepy is to go sit in a chair without turning the lights on. You’ll know it’s time to return to bed when you’ll feel sleepy again.
  • Refrain from reading or using gadgets in bed. Watching TV in bed will inevitably make you associate your bed with wakefulness. If your aim is to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you should educate and train your body to associate it exclusively with sleep. In order to achieve this, you should refrain from reading, watching TV, browsing the internet on the laptop or listening to music while you are in bed.
  • Exercise on a regular basis. A good night’s rest is only one of the many benefits of exercising on a regular basis. Vigorous exercise should always be completed by 2 pm. Reserve light stretching or basic yoga for evenings. Exercising promotes a healthy metabolism and helps you fall asleep much easier.
  • Create a quiet, serene sleeping environment. Ideally, your bedroom should only contain your bed and a couple of nightstands. If possible, don’t add a TV or other furniture in your bedroom, even if it might seem bare or insufficiently accessorized. A minimalist approach is ideal when it comes to your bedroom since it creates a peaceful atmosphere that, in its turn, encourages sleep and rest.


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How to Get to Sleep

Falling asleep might come naturally to some, but it’s not so easy for others. People who have difficulty falling asleep or who have to deal with various sleeping disorders have to suffer long-term consequences that impact their overall quality of life.
These are some of the most commonly asked questions related to sleeping and a good night’s rest.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Everyone is different and, as a result, there is no universal answer to this question. However, researchers agree that young adults and adults need anywhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.

Best Sleeping Position

While this is a personal preference issue, there are some sleeping positions that will help you avoid medical conditions. Although it’s not a popular position, sleeping on your back is regarded as being the best from a medical point of view.

The explanation behind this is that the neutral position enables your spine, neck and head to rest naturally. As a result, there is no pressure on any area and you’re not likely to experience any pain. While sleeping on your back is great if you have acid reflux, it might not be a good idea if you suffer from sleep apnea.

OSA patients’ best sleeping position is on their side. Similarly to sleeping on your back, this position makes sure the spine is elongated, keeping neck and back pain at bay. It’s also a good position for people who are prone to snoring, since the airways are always open, making it perfect for individuals who experience sleep apnea.

Best Earplugs for Sleeping

If you’re a light sleeper, you might find relief in earplugs. They cancel out the noise so you can rest without hearing snoring, dog barks, or traffic noise. When you’re shopping for the best pair of earplugs, you should factor in their effectiveness and the material they are made from. Earplugs made from wax and foam expand when they are inserted into the ear, cancelling out all noise.

You should also consider the comfort level. A good pair of earplugs should not put any pressure on your eardrum. They should fit snuggly in the ear canal and neither go too deep or stick out. Choose the right size of earplugs in order to avoid discomfort and pain.

General Sleeping Tips

  • Temperature. The temperature in your bedroom should be on the cooler side rather than warmer.
  • TV. If you do have a TV in your room, make sure to turn it off before going to sleep. You should not expose yourself to bright screens and TVs at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.
  • Pets. Keep pets outside of the bedroom if they have the habit of waking you up in the middle of the night.
  • Create a relaxing pre-sleep routine that takes you from wake time to sleep time. For example, you can take a shower or a bath, take your makeup off or read a book. Avoid stimulating activities that make you more awake than sleepy.
  • Dine light. Refrain from eating junk food or too many carbs at least three hours before going to bed. Stay away from foods that might give you indigestion. Choose warm, light foods that are easy to digest and are not very spicy or overstimulating.

How to Stop Snoring

More than 45% of adults snore constantly or occasionally. Besides being a nuisance, snoring can also indicate a sleeping disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring appears when the flow of air passing through your nose and your mouth is obstructed. Air obstructions happen from an array of causes, ranging from allergies, poor muscle tone and bulky throat tissue.

Anti-Snoring Devices

Snoring does not only affect the person in cause but also the spouse who shares the bed. Fortunately, there are several devices available on the market that can reduce and eliminate snoring in a safe and gentle way.

custom-developed mouthpiece is the quickest and most affordable way to tackle both snoring and sleep apnea at the same time. Highly effective, this device is very easy to adjust and can safely be used every night. The twin polymer technology is BPA and latex free, ensuring the highest quality and safety. The success of the device is owed to the improved air intake which offers more tongue space and larger breathing holes.


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FACT: Snorers are much more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia

People who snore are at far greater risk of developing dementia later in life, researchers have said, and, this being regarded as an important medical breakthrough. It is seen as so important that it has been widely reported in the main consumer press, even hitting the front page in some cases.

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Scientists at Harvard University have found that disorders such as snoring and sleep apnoea that disrupt sleep are linked to greater cognitive decline, Breathing disorders which disrupt sleep have been proved to result in memory loss and a reduced attention span.

Recent figures from the Alzheimer’s Association estimate that obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs in an estimated 3 in 10 men and 1 in 5 women.

Study author Dr Susan Redline from Harvard University, said: ‘Given the lack of known effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, our results support the potential for sleep-disordered breathing screening and treatment as part of a strategy to reduce dementia risk.’

The Harvard University researchers analysed 1,752 people with an average age of 68 and the study’s participants took part in a sleep study, completed a sleep questionnaire and had their mental function assessed.

So-called sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) was defined as having more than 15 stopped or shallow breaths per hour, as well as loud snoring and participants were diagnosed with sleep apnoea if they had more than five stopped or shallow breaths per hour, as well as self-reporting sleepiness.

People were also identified as being at-risk of Alzheimer’s if they carried a certain variation of a gene known as APOE, which carries cholesterol and supports brain injury repair in healthy people. Previous studies have already demonstrated one-fifth of the population who carry the APOE genetic variation are at an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Adequate quality sleep levels are worsening worldwide and this heightens the risk for both Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia in later years. For example The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than one third of American adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis.

“Clearly this is not good for brain health or overall health,” said Dean M. Hartley, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Director of Science Initiatives. “Sleep disordered breathing is treatable in many cases. Through early diagnosis and effective treatment of these sleep disorders, there is the potential to improve cognition and possibly reduce dementia risk.”

Early treatment to prevent snoring or any other more severe form of sleep-disordered breathing is advised by all the relevant medical and professional bodies involved in the research programmes mentioned. The evidence was that treatment reduces the risk significantly.

Most people are unaware if they snore or gasp for air due to the disturbed sleep caused by OSA, unless their partners have noted it, which in most cases is what happens. If you’re unsure then you should contact your Doctor or a Hospital Sleep Centre for testing and further advice.

Critical cases of OSA would likely need to use CPAP, but medically approved oral appliances have shown in tests to be highly successful in preventing both snoring, and mild to moderate cases of sleep apnoea.

These are simple to obtain and comfortable to wear, particularly if they are custom-fitted versions, and they are available at highly affordable prices without prescription. Millions of people worldwide already use them to prevent snoring and the case to use them is now even more important based on this new information.

John Redfern

Sources:
Alzheimer’s Association Press Release
American Thoracic Society Press Release


If you’re a parent with children at school you need to read this.

At some stage or other in life it is estimated that as many as 50% of us suffer from grinding our teeth, mostly at night, but this is not merely an affliction that occurs in adults. New research reported by the BBC has emphasized this in the last week and highlighted that grinding teeth often starts very young due to severe stress and anxiety.

high school girl being bullied by classmates

However a major reason for it starting is now known to be bullying at school. It can lead to children and teenagers having headaches, worn-down teeth and disrupted sleep, and it appears to be rising significantly.

A study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation found that 13 to 15-year-olds who experienced verbal bullying at school were nearly four times as likely to suffer from teeth-grinding at night, or sleep bruxism, than other teenagers. That equated to 65% among the bullied students, compared to 17% among the others.

An oral health charity said parents and schools should be aware of the problem, which can also affect adults who are stressed and anxious.

With the increasing role of social media in this area children are now prone to verbal bullying on a wider basis and for 24 hours a day.

The grinding of our teeth, often called Bruxism, mostly occurs during sleep but it also happens sometimes during the day. In addition to being detrimental to our oral and dental health, the noise from bruxism can often be disturbing for others. It can lead to headaches, jaw pain and daytime tiredness and if left untreated, dental damage will usually occur, leading to tooth loss and gum disease.

Dr Nigel Carter, from the Oral Health Foundation, said bruxism was also something to look out for everywhere and not just in the UK.

“Grinding teeth may not sound like a priority within the wider picture, but it could prove to give a vital insight into a child’s state of mind and could be an important sign for us to identify bullying at an earlier stage.”

He said sleep bruxism could be particularly damaging – but people were often unaware they were doing it and it often went unnoticed and untreated until it had developed into a major problem.

In most cases, grinders end up with flat areas on their teeth and frayed edges as the teeth start to become very thin, and a tell-tale sign is a constant headache or sore jaw when waking up.

There are no medications that will stop sleep bruxism and all dentists will suggest you use a mouth guard.

The good news is that there are several potential treatments. You can acquire a simple dental appliance called a splint, made of a special type of hard plastic, which fits to the shape of your teeth and stops them grinding together. When this basic inexpensive splint is placed briefly into hot water it allows it to be shaped as you bite into it. The aim is to try and make the teeth sit comfortably together. When using the appliance, chewing is smooth and the teeth are protected.

More advanced versions can be made that fit much more comfortably and do an improved job for you. These night guards are custom-made to fit your dental profile and are terrific value. They generally are made to fit the upper set of teeth only but can be requested for the lower set if this is preferred.

Teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea and heavy snoring so it may not be happening in isolation, and care should be taken to check in what form it exists. You may find that a special style of mouthpiece that helps to prevent OSA or heavy snoring may also help you to eliminate the problem of grinding your teeth.

These are called mandibular advancement devices, or MAD’s, and are most commonly used when a sleep disorder like sleep apnoea is the most likely cause. They’re also bespoke and made specifically to fit your jaw and are usually worn over both the top and the bottom teeth. The purpose of this is to bring your bottom jaw forward and this keeps the airway open, preventing snoring and episodes of sleep apnoea, as well as stopping you grinding your teeth.

The choice is yours, as is the choice of price point, but all of the above options are great value when you consider what they will prevent happening.

John Redfern


Type 2 Diabetes Patients Who Have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Could Face Blindness Within Four Years

Senior blind gentleman sitting on a bench with his labrador retriever dog, in a park

Sleep disordered breathing, such as that associated with obstructive sleep apnoea, has long been regarded by medical experts as creating a very high risk of diabetes Type 2. It affects people of all ages but almost doubles the risk for older patients.

People with both sleep apnoea and type 2 diabetes are now known to have more than double the risk of worsening retina disease compared to diabetics without the sleep breathing disorder, a UK study suggests.

Researchers followed adults with type 2 diabetes over about four years and found that for those with milder eye disease at the start, having sleep apnoea was linked to higher odds that it would become more advanced.

This new research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered that patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of developing a condition that leads to blindness within an average period of less than four years.

The worse the sleep apnoea, the faster the progression of diabetic retinopathy, researchers found.

Previous studies have shown a link between OSA and diabetes-related eye problems. However, prior to this research led by the University of Birmingham, published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, there had been no published studies assessing the impact of OSA on the progression of diabetic retinopathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The University of Birmingham’s Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, states: “Despite improvements in glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, diabetic retinopathy remains very common.

“Meanwhile, OSA has been shown to be very common in patients with Type 2 diabetes, which is not surprising considering that excess weight contributes to the development of both of these conditions. However, most patients who have OSA are not aware that they have the condition and the disease could go dangerously undiagnosed for years.

“However, more importantly, we have shown that patients with OSA and Type 2 diabetes, compared to those with diabetes only, are at increased risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy over a period of three years and seven months.”

The study was carried out at two diabetes clinics at hospitals in the Midlands and involved 230 patients with Type 2 diabetes. It excluded any patients who were already known to have OSA or any kind of respiratory condition.

The results showed that diabetic retinopathy prevalence was higher in patients with OSA (42.9%) compared to those without OSA (24.1%).

The study found that at a follow-up appointment, over 3 years later, the patients with OSA (18.4%) were much more likely to develop moderate to severe diabetic retinopathy compared to those without OSA (6.1%).

The study also showed that patients who received treatment for OSA had a lower risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy compared to patients who did not receive the treatment.

The findings of the study are very important because they can help to explore new treatments for the diabetic retinopathy. After the outcome of the research, clinicians now can take proper preventive measures while treating the patients with OSA and Type 2 diabetes. No doubt testing for OSA is essential because it is very common in Type 2 diabetes patients.

John Redfern

Source:

  • This study was funded by The National Institute for Health Research UK,