Sleepless in Seattle? It’s just the same in New York, LA, London or Sydney.

Woman with insomnia lying in bed with open eyes

If you’re suffering from lack of sleep you’re advised not to take any important decisions. Sleep is an important subject and it matters a great deal to us. We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep, and it is as vital to our well-being as the food we eat and the air we breathe. But our 24-hour culture means we are getting less sleep than ever.

Neurosurgeons have recently researched the subject in depth and have come to the conclusion that there is “remarkably little understanding” of the consequences on the brain of chronic sleep loss. In the research paper they describe the “precipitous decline in sleep duration throughout industrialised nations”, adding that more research was urgently needed.

We all know that it is dangerous to drive, or to work with machinery when tired, because our reaction times are impaired and we might fall asleep at the wheel, but the more subtle effects of sleep deprivation on day-to-day living are far less understood.

Prof Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientist based at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University in London, Ontario, is heading the research project and is launching the new sleep cognition study. The team of researchers involved want people from all over the world to sign up online to do cognitive tests with the Cambridge Brain Sciences website.

It’s full of specially devised computer games that have been designed to test skills such as reasoning, language comprehension and decision-making. The tests can be played on any computer, tablet or smart phone.

Prof Owen stated: “It may be that lack of sleep is having very profound effects on decision making and perhaps we should avoid making important decisions like buying a house or deciding whether to get married when we are sleep deprived.”

He added: “We all know what it feels like to not get enough sleep but we know very little about the effects on the brain so we want to see how it affects cognition, memory and your ability to concentrate.”

The team will collate the cognitive scores and see the variations depending on how much sleep people have had. Everyone’s sleep requirements are different, but if enough people join the study, it may allow scientists to determine the average number of hours needed for having truly optimum brain function.

Lack of sleep is a major worldwide problem and ­people the world over are chasing quality shut-eye, particularly as they have realised that the list of health conditions linked to sleepless nights is rising.

In Australia the Sleep Health Foundation has found that up to 45 per cent of Australian adults sleep poorly or not long enough on most nights. The Foundation’s Professor David Hillman says that the rise of technology is concerning as it is ­robbing people of time that should be spent asleep.

Hillman says data from the foundation’s research shows 12 per cent of respondents said they slept an average of 5½ hours, or less, a night. He says only about 3 per cent of the population is hard wired to sleep so few hours. “We are more challenged than ever. Two hundred years ago there were no electric lights and no electronic media so what did people do overnight? They went to bed and slept. Now we are so interconnected — when Sydney is asleep, New York is awake”.

The struggle for sleep to compete with digital devices is real and the large companies involved are ready to fight. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has named sleep as his main competitor, positioning it above tech rivals Amazon and YouTube.

Many people are looking for help with their sleep problem and are receiving it from bed and mattress companies, and manufacturers of wearable devices for sleep disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep ­apnoea.

Ron Grunstein, a Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Sydney, says the awareness of sleep, and the growing lack of it, is on the rise. “These are the sorts of things people are looking at so that they get better value out of the sleep they do get,” The sleep expert adds that it’s Catch 22 as there is an increasing recognition that sleep problems cause other health problems, as well as health problems causing sleep problems.

Monday July 3rd 2017 to Sunday July 9th 2017 is Sleep Awareness Week

John Redfern

30 Free Apps That Conquer Sleep Problems

free sleep apps

In this article, we’ve compiled the 30 best sleep apps to help you with those restless nights and to create a routine that will help conquer sleep problems.


This includes apps that:

  • Help to tackle sleep issues head on
  • Develop exercise and fitness plans for beginners
  • Offer tons of dietary and smart eating tips
  • Open your mind to the importance of well-being


It’s no secret that sleep is a huge problem for many, a survey of 15,203 people conducted by Dreams is evidence for this:


  It’s clear to see that as a nation, we aren’t getting enough quality sleep, with only 8% waking up feeling refreshed. A whopping 63.1% aren’t happy with the amount of sleep they’re getting. I’ts likely that you share the same frustration. Therefore, let’s take a look at 30 free apps that could seriously help your health, well-being and most importantly, sleep!

Free Sleep Apps

1. Pzizz

Pzizz is one of the most technologically advanced sleep apps on the market.

A mixture of neurolinguistic programming, enchanting sound effects and binaural beats have been created to create a relaxing state of mind.

100 billion unique soundtracks can be created, so that your subconscious mind doesn’t fall into a routine of hearing the exact same sounds.

Pzizz is great for those who are:

  • Lacking Energy
  • Experiencing High Stress Levels
  • Not Achieving Uninterrupted Sleep


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

2. Sleep Well Hypnosis




Sleep Well Hypnosis is a highly-rated app which helps restless sleepers and those with insomnia in many ways. The app aims to:


  • Help you learn to deal with anxiety.
  • Change your mindset subconsciously.
  • Sleep calmly, deeply and without any fuss.


Many users begin to feel and see a difference after just 1-3 weeks, when used on a daily basis.


With over 5 million+ downloads, many are seeing the benefits of this app.


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

3. Sleep Cycle




Waking up feeling refreshed is so important for a productive day ahead, and Sleep Cycle makes waking up easy. How? It’s intelligent alarm clock will analyse your sleep via sounds and vibrations. It also helps to detect, measure and track your snoring – a helpful tool considering 80% of us don’t realise we snore. It then wakes you up within your lightest sleep phase, naturally meaning you feel fully rested and relaxed. Available on iTunes and Google Play.

4. Digipill




Described as “the worlds number one self-help app”, Digipill contains a number of “hypnotic audio pills” which help to: 

  • Prevent Insomnia
  • Ease Anxiety
  • Increase Confidence
  • Gain Motivation
  • Reduce Stress

It has a number of free pills which help you to get to sleep in 15 minutes, gain will power to help stay fit and train your brain to relax under pressure.


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

5. Relax & Sleep Well




Easier said than done, right? Glenn Harrold’s app might just be able to make this possible.

Relax and Sleep Well offers quality hypnosis and hypnotherapy, also described as one of the best free meditation apps on the market.

 This app helps to conquer: 

  • Insomnia
  • Weight-Loss
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Self-Esteem

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

6. Sleepo

Sleepo offers 32 carefully crafted ambient sounds to help improve sleep and general relaxation.

Split into four groups, choose from nature sounds, city sounds, meditation sounds and rain sounds that help you sleep.

For those using it for healing and meditation purposes, choose from three different types of noise (white, pink and brown).

Available on Google Play.

7. Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep


Lacking concentration is another trait that can affect our sleep, and with over half of the US population disengaged at work, simple apps like this can make a huge difference. By taking 10 minutes out of your day you can increase concentration levels drastically over time, thanks to Nature Sound Relax and Sleep. Choose from 6 unique relaxing nature sounds and start your personal audio therapy, sooner rather than later! 

Available on Google Play.

8. Sleep as Android

Did you know, mental distress is a cause and effect of oversleeping and according to the National Sleep Foundation, around 95% of us have no strict sleeping pattern.

Therefore, establishing a sleep pattern is important to not oversleeping, Sleep Android offers a helping hand with this issue.

It’s built in smart alarm clock has sleep cycle tracking which will wake you gently and and the right time every time to ensure a productive day filled with positive energy.

Available on Google Play.

9. SleepTime+



Sleep Time+ contains an advanced sleep tracking alarm that tracks your sleep quality.

It then offers you advice on how you can sleep better and undisturbed.

No expensive fitness trackers are needed, this award-winning app is so advanced that it doesn’t require any.


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

10. Sleep Genius



Sleep Genius is another highly-technically advanced app, and has gained recognition by Huffington Post and CBS.

It uses a neurosensory algorithm to help your brain get ready for sleep and guide your brain through each stage of the sleep cycle.

It has been carefully developed by sleep and neuroscience experts, the aim of the app is to help you enjoy the benefits of a physical, emotional and mentally stable nights sleep.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

11. MotionX 24/7



MotionX 24/7 boasts a unique sleep tracking technology designed to help you sleep better whilst allowing you to wake up refreshed and energised.

It tracks and analyses our sleep patterns throughout the night allowing us to establish:

Available on iTunes.

12. SleepBot



SleepBot is another highly rated sleep tracker created to help a soothing sleep.

The app contains a ton of features including:

  • 10 custom designed alarm soundtracks
  • Graphs and statistics to see how your sleep improves
  • Quick action tips to help you sleep better
  • Ambient noise to help you fall asleep

As an app that has been recognised by the US National Institute of Health, it’s well worth exploring.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

13. Dream Talk Recorder



Dream Talk Recorder records your dream talks (clue is in the name) and keeps a complete history of your recordings.

You can share your recordings via social media and help to establish how your dreaming might be affecting your sleep.

Plus, most of the recordings will just be hilarious to play back!

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Free Exercise Apps


Although our list of free sleep apps all have a bunch of benefits and have worked for so many people (evident from the several million downloads and positive ratings), it’s important that an overall healthy lifestyle is kept. Did you know that as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can dramatically improve your quality of sleep. Guess what? there’s an app for that! Take a look at our list of 8 free exercise apps which are great for beginners, intermediate and expert health enthusiasts.

14. Cyclemeter



Cyclemeter is by far one of the most advanced cycling apps on the market.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not an experienced cyclist, maybe it’s something you’re looking to start perusing?

It essentially makes your smartphone a fitness computer, tracking your progress with precision.

App features include:

  • Maps, graphs and zones to discover new and recommended routes
  • Records a number of workouts and stores them to track progress
  • Set up appropriate training plans dependent on your ability
  • Share your progress with freinds via social media

And much more!

Available on iTunes.

15. Strava Running & Cycling

Strava is one of the best rated apps on the market that will:

  • Record your physical activities
  • Compare performance over time
  • Allow you to connect with an active community

Track your running, cycling, or any physical activity for that matter, whilst gaining key stats on endurance, performance, elevation and much more.

Watch the video above to find out how to use the app, featuring Dave Erickson.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

16. Fitocracy



Fitocracy is one of the best community fitness and personal coaching apps available.

Work alongside experts to reach your fitness goals and be part of a community who are all looking to create a healthier lifestyle.

Some of the features include:

  • Free workout routines from the best fitness coaches
  • Personalised nutrition programmes
  • Daily inspiration and conversation


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

17. Couch to 5K



If you consider yourself a bit of a couch slouch, start your running career with the Couch to 5K app.

It’s realistic programme has helped thousands of new runners ready for a 5K in just 9 weeks!

Virtual coaches will keep you motivated before, during and after a run.

Plus, tons of stats and progress reports are included to see how your developing.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

18. Nike Training Club

Access 130+ free body workouts to suit your level of exercise with Nike+ Training Club.

Whether you’re looking to improve your endurance, strength or want to give yoga a try, this app has it all.

The best bit is you don’t have to spend hours a day working out as they provide short workouts that give real results.

Get fully motivated with inspired workouts from a range of athletes including:

• Serena Williams
• Kevin Hart
• Kyrie Irving
• Skylar Diggins
• Rory McIlroy

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

19. The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout



No time? No problem.

The Johnson & Johnson 7 minute workout offers a fast, simple and science-based way to workout.

The app includes:

  • 72 different exercises (in HD video)
  • 22 unique workouts
  • The ability to control music during a workout
  • Personalised workouts based on your fitness levels
  • The option to increase/decrease the intensity of a workout at any time

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

20. My ASICS Run Training

Whether you’re just starting out or wanting to train for a 10K marathon, My ASICS has a personalised training plan which will guide you in the right direction.

The app has a ton of features which allow for a personalised running experience, including:

  • Real-time position and running route (via GPS)
  • The ability to track your total run time, distance and average speed.
  • An online logbook where you can save your routes, sync your runs and share achievements.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

21. Charity Miles: Walking & Running Distance Tracker



Charity Miles offers a unique running experience by allowing you to get fit whilst raising money for charity.

Whether you’re earning money by walking, running or cycling, you can track your fitness progress whilst seeing how much money you’ve earned.

Members have already raised over $2 million for a number of charities including Stand Up To Cancer, Alzheimer’s Association, Charity:Water and many more.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Free Healthy Food Apps


The relationship between food and sleep is one of the most important to living a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. It’s often hard to find the time and money to lead a healthy life style all of the time, but these 5 free healthy eating apps are here to assist.

22. DietBet



For those who need that extra spark of motivation to lose weight, DietBet allows you to get paid whilst losing weight

How does it work?

It’s simple. You join a group and bet on yourself to lose weight.

If you meet your weight loss goal by the end of the game, you split the pot of money with the other successful players.

The app allows you to choose from two games:

  • Kickstarter – Lose 4% of your weight within 4 weeks
  • Transformer – Lose 10% of your weight in 6 months

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

23. SideChef

Perhaps your out of practice when it comes to cooking from scratch, or you have no experience whatsoever.

SideChef offers simple, healthy step-by-step recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner along with snack and dessert ideas.

The app was built in order to inform, inspire and allow us to have fun whilst preparing food which is good for us.

Discover 3,500+ step-by-step recipes along with integrated timers and voice instructions.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

24. EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry



You’ve most likely ended up on the EatingWell website when looking for healthy recipe ideas.

Didn’t you know they have an app?

Healthy in a Hurry by EatingWell offers around 200 of there healthiest and fastest recipes ready to browse on your phone.

App features include:

  • Fast recipes with preparation time no longer than 45 minutes
  • Preloaded recipes for instant offline access
  • Nutritional information for each recipe
  • The ability to filter recipes by main ingredient

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

25. Pepperplate




If you consider yourself a bit of a Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, then Pepperplate is the app for you.

Manage your recipes, create your own menus and shop for ingredients with ease – making cooking simple and time efficient.

Other app features include:

  • Multiple cooking timers for meal perfection
  • Create your own recipes or edit existing ones
  • Important recipes from your favourite websites for easy access
  • Create meal schedules dependant on your requirements.
  • Organise your shopping list in to categories for ease


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

26. Change4Life Sugar Smart

Known as one the most addictive substances known to man, sugar has even been considered the world’s most popular popular drug.

Sugar is also one of the most overlooked ingredients in our food, and if eaten in excess can be a leading source of weight gain and can even affect the way you sleep.

With the Sugar Smart app, developed by Change4Life, you can see the total amounts of sugar in our everyday food and drinks.

The app was created to raise awareness over the issue and to encourage us to make healthier choices in terms of our sugar intake.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Free Well-Being Apps

The state of our well-being directly affects the way that we approach sleep.

 Having a positive mind set whilst eating healthy foods and exercising will directly affect the quality of sleep we have. So although we’ve you may only be interested in our first list of free sleep apps, take a look at some of the best free meditation apps and those with our general well-being in mind.

27. Headspace




Headspace has quickly become one of the most respected free meditation apps on the market. Originally developed by an ex-monk, Headspace teaches you the essential ways to living a healthier and happier life. It’s simple meditation techniques only take 10 minutes out of your day, so there really are no excuses to give this highly-rated meditation app a try.  Available on iTunes and Google Play.

28. MindShift




Developed by the Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia, MindShift is another hugely respected app created to stop your anxieties taking over your day-to-day life.

 If you’re struggling with anxiety, believe it or not, there are techniques that can drastically reduce your anxiety and stop your fears from taking over. MindShift includes a whole host of strategies to help deal with a number of specific issues, including: 

  • Sleep problems
  • Social Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Intense Worry
  • Perfectionism

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

29. Live Happy


In case you didn’t already know, Live Happy Magazine also has an app. Browse and read up articles based on wellness, mindfulness, gratitude and well-being from a group of leading happiness gurus. The app also allows theability to stream the latest episodes of Live Happy Now, as well as browsing the archive and watching previous episodes, perfect!

Available on iTunes and Google Play.  

30. My Mood Tracker


As human beings, we display a whole host of different emotions, and on occasions it can be quite a lot to deal with.

 Understanding what causes your emotions to change can also be frustrating but also intriguing, and MyMoodTracker allows you to do just that. The app includes loads of interesting features:

  • Track your mood and emotional state throughout the day
  • Track specific aspects to see how they affect your mood i.e. sleep, exercise, stress.
  • Helpful reminder system (for those who are forgetful).
  • A history of you’re notes entered in a detailed chart format.

Keeping track of how you feel is important to improving your mental health and overall well-being, an app well worth exploring to see if it’s right for you.

Available on iTunes.

To summarise, we decided to put together the best and most exciting list of free sleep apps on the market to help make us all realise just how crucial a consistent sleeping pattern is to our overall health and well-being.

By exploring these great free mobile apps, not only can you discover the best apps for monitoring and improving sleep, but also apps that are rich in knowledge to creating a healthy life style, a crucial ingredient to sleeping better each night.

We hope our recommended apps are useful and have a positive effect on how you approach sleep, eating well, exercising and the importance of our well being.

Enjoy and be well!

Some snoring is harmful and some isn’t – and this is how to tell the difference

Not all snoring is harmful so it helps to be able to recognise when it’s actually dangerous as it can sometimes cause a very serious lack of oxygen and life threatening sleep disorders. Over one third of the people who snore are believed to have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

OSA Diagram

Overall it is estimated that 60% of men and 40% of women snore by the time they have reached their sixties and if they have OSA, then the primary sleep apnoea symptoms are pauses in breathing during sleep. They’re related to snoring and the resulting lack of oxygen to the brain during sleep.

Not all snoring however is connected to sleep apnoea. Loud breathing noises or ‘snoring’ can be described as a normal event. However sleeping with your mouth open and pauses in breathing may indicate a sleep disorder. If you sleep on your back, your tongue falls into your airway, and pauses in breathing can reach a duration of 10 seconds, and happen as many as 100 times in an hour.

The reason for your snoring stems from the relaxation of the throat muscles when you sleep. Less airway volume can mean that the relaxed throat vibrates when you breathe and this is the universal cause of snoring whether it’s harmful as described above or just ‘normal’ snoring.

In addition to snoring, other symptoms of OSA include:

  • Gasping for air whilst sleeping
  • Waking up with Morning headaches
  • Feeling extra tired during the day
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritability or mood swings

For optimal breathing, we should be breathing through our nose. Sleep apnoea is your body experiencing breathing dysfunction during sleep. Nasal breathing prevents oxygen deprivation and it acts to increase blood flow and deliver oxygen to the lungs.

The tongue is one of the main factors in snoring and sleeping with the mouth open. It can also reveal sleep apnoea symptoms. Your tongue contains and connects to one of the largest groups of muscles in the body and the muscles of the tongue support the airways with connections to the jaws, neck, and base of the skull. It also connects to the hyoid bone, which is a floating bone that supports your airway.

When you go to sleep, the primary muscles inside your tongue and your throat relax and for you to keep your airway open, support muscles for the throat must hold firm. The normal posture of the tongue is to sit against the top of your mouth. This position turns on the muscles that support the throat and the airways.

Sleeping with an open mouth is a sign your tongue is not supporting your airway. The tongue can then fall back into the airway, blocking normal breathing. Mouth breathing can also cause lack of oxygen and OSA.

Sleep disorders have become a bigger problem than ever and this was underlined this week by the NHS figures which reveal that the number of tests carried out by the NHS to diagnose people with sleep disorders across England has doubled in the past decade.

NHS data shows that 147,610 sleep diagnostic tests were carried out last year – compared with 69,919 in 2007-08. This is more than double.

Those with OSA usually manage it by either CPAP treatment, which involves wearing an oxygen mask at night, or by using custom-fitted oral devices that keep the airways open. It also helps to lose weight and in some more extreme cases people can have surgery to remove excess throat tissue.

Doctors attribute the rise in the number of sleep tests to a greater sense of overall public awareness about the wider health implications of not getting enough sleep. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people in the UK suffer from the condition, although doctors warn many people will have never been formally diagnosed.

“Sleep apnoea is a serious condition leading to other problems such as high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to strokes and heart attacks,” said Dr Stephen Bianchi from Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. “We think about 2% of females, and 4% of males in the UK have significant sleep apnoea. We also suspect that 80% of those with the condition are unaware they have it.”

John Redfern

Sleep apnoea is a real danger to everyone and makes no exceptions

This was clearly shown on Friday evening when an announcement from the Los Angeles medical examiner’s office on Carrie Fisher’s cause of death raised the possibility of a lethal interplay of sleep apnoea, drug use and heart disease.

Star Wars - Carrie Fisher

Photograph of Carrie Fisher in Star Wars supplied for incorporation by Rex Features

Carrie Fisher was a well-known Hollywood actress and author who rose to fame in Star Wars playing one of the leading roles as Princess Leia. She collapsed on December 23rd on an 11-hour flight from London to Los Angeles and she died a few days later on December 27th.

In January, the medical examiner initially listed the cause of death as cardiac arrest, which is often confused with a heart attack. While a heart attack is a common cause of cardiac arrest, they are not the same thing. A heart attack occurs when a blockage stops blood flow to the heart, while a cardiac arrest, the sudden stoppage of the heart, is caused by a serious malfunction of the heart’s electrical system.

On Friday The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said the cause of death was clearly caused by “sleep apnoea and other undetermined factors.”

Other findings in the autopsy included atherosclerotic heart disease and the use of multiple drugs, although the significance of the latter isn’t fully known, according to the announcement, which noted that the manner of Fisher’s death has been ruled “undetermined.”

The Greek word “apnea” means “without breath.” People with sleep apnoea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep, sometimes as often as 30 times an hour or more, for a few seconds to more than a minute each time. Most people who have it don’t know it, since the two main signs snoring, and snorting when breathing resumes, both occur during sleep although not everyone who snores has sleep apnoea.

A family member or bed partner is often the first to notice the signs, according to the National Hear, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the USA. Other signs include headaches or a dry mouth upon awakening; daytime sleepiness; an inability to concentrate; feeling irritable or depressed or having mood swings and waking up frequently to urinate, the NHLBI says.

The medical examiner did not specify what type of sleep apnoea Fisher had. Obstructive sleep apnoea, in which the upper airway collapses or becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, is the more common, affecting an estimated 9% of women and 17% of men 50 and older, but fewer people younger than 50, according to the Heart Association. In central sleep apnoea, which is often related to certain medical conditions or medications, the airway isn’t blocked, but the brain fails to properly signal the breathing muscles. Snoring isn’t typically associated with central sleep apnoea but some people have both obstructive and central sleep apnoea.

If not diagnosed and treated, sleep apnoea can lead to serious, potentially fatal health problems. Population-based studies show that people with obstructive sleep apnoea have a significantly greater risk of heart arrhythmias, which can trigger sudden cardiac arrest, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions according to the Heart Association.

Medication isn’t usually used to treat sleep apnoea, but the NHLBI lists several methods that can help open your airway while you sleep:

  • Being overweight or obese is the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnoea, so sometimes losing weight stops apnoea episodes.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Sleep on your side instead of your back.
  • If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, a custom-fitted mouthpiece made by a medically approved specialist can adjust your lower jaw and tongue to keep your airway open.
  • For moderate to severe sleep apnoea, a “continuous positive airway pressure,” or “CPAP” machine is often used. The CPAP machine blows air into your throat while you sleep, helping to keep your airway open.

NHLBI Statements are used courtesy of Forbes Media, New York.

John Redfern

Beauty sleep is a very real thing

According to new research reported by the BBC this week, beauty sleep is a real thing according to Swedish researchers at the Karolinka Institute, and a lack of it is a serious problem to both your looks and your health.

Young woman sleeping at night in bed

This new work has clearly shown that people who miss out on sleep appear far less attractive to others. Their sleep experiments suggest that a couple of bad nights can be enough to make a person look “significantly” more ugly to people who don’t know them.

The results published in the Royal Society Open Science Journal showed that people who had tired faces, were rated by strangers as less healthy and less approachable, and having dark circles under the eyes, and puffy lids, can even put others off socialising with you.

The research was based on student volunteers who were sent home with a small monitor to wear that would measure their movements whilst asleep to check that they had not cheated and slept when they should not have.

They were asked to get a good night’s sleep for two consecutive nights and then a week later, they were asked to restrict themselves to only four hours sleep per night for two nights in a row. The researchers took make-up free photos of the volunteers after both the good and the bad sleep sessions.

A further panel of women and men living in Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm looked at the photos and rated them on attractiveness, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness, as well as asking them: “How much would you like to socialise with this person in the picture?”

Those who looked tired in the photographs were easily identified and their scores for attractiveness suffered. In addition those looking at the photographs said that they would be less willing to socialise with the tired students, who were also perceived to be much less healthy.

We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep but how much sleep an individual takes and actually needs can vary greatly. Leonardo Da Vinci, Edison, Napoleon and Margaret Thatcher all survived on less than four hours a night but many of us aren’t getting enough shut-eye to function properly.

A good night’s sleep is also very important to one’s overall health but people think little about it until they cannot do it.

Along with the physical changes that happen to all of us as we get older, changes to our sleep patterns may also occur. As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age, but our sleep needs remain constant throughout life.

Snoring, a condition that gets worse with age is the primary cause of sleep disruption for many adults and is most commonly associated with persons who are overweight. In addition, older people spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep.

Loud snoring is particularly serious as it can be a symptom of sleep apnoea. In sleep apnoea, breathing stops and the amount of oxygen in the blood drops. This alerts the brain, causing you to wake-up and resume breathing. These stoppages of breathing can occur repeatedly, causing multiple sleep disruptions throughout the night and result in excessive daytime sleepiness and impaired daytime function.

Untreated, sleep apnoea puts a person at risk for cardiovascular disease, headaches, memory loss and depression. If you experience snoring on a regular basis and it can be heard from another room or you have been told you stop breathing during your sleep, these are signs that you might have sleep apnoea and it should be discussed with your medical advisor.

Sleep studies are prone to concluding that we’re all sleep-deprived. In fact, scientists aren’t really sure of the exact amount of sleep required, and studies find that the requirement varies significantly from one person to another, for reasons not fully understood.

One thing is sure however – you’ll certainly know if you’ve had enough quality sleep and whether you feel bright and refreshed the next day. It’s easy to do things to improve it such as preventing snoring. That’s something both you and your partner will both benefit from and you’ll feel the difference quickly.

Make sure you play the part of Beauty and not that of the Beast.

John Redfern

Untreated Sleep Apnoea Could Cut 10 To 20 Years Off Your Life

The body and mind need sleep in order to function properly. Sleep apnoea, or constantly stopping and starting breathing at night, is one of the things holding millions of people back from sleeping properly.

Sleep Apnea

It often goes undiagnosed, but it comes with surprisingly apparent symptoms that can significantly worsen your quality of life and also shorten it.

If you look at some of the most commonly treated conditions in any country of the world right now such as high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and headaches – all of these can be medically associated with an obstructed airway.

Doctors say a healthier lifestyle including proper diet, exercise and weight loss can prevent sleep apnoea from occurring. However, if you’re experiencing multiple symptoms, you should speak with your physician.

It is a common problem among all ages and both genders, but don’t let snoring ruin your relationship or a good night’s sleep. Learn what causes snoring and how you can put it to bed with our expert advice.  If your partner has ever told you that you snore, bear in mind the danger you might be putting yourself in every single time that it happens. It may mean that you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Some heavy, regular snorers have sleep apnoea, a condition where the airways become completely blocked during sleep with symptoms that include large pauses in breathing, leaving them waking-up gasping for air. Many heavy snorers tend to wake themselves frequently in sleep, with the resulting patchy sleep leading to daytime sleepiness. Regardless of whether it’s snoring or sleep apnoea, it can easily and quickly be prevented.

Even for those who sleep alone, snoring is no laughing matter. According to the National Sleep Foundation in the USA, regular heavy snorers are more likely to experience thickening or abnormalities in the carotid artery, which can lead to atherosclerosis; a hardening of the arteries that is known to trigger numerous vascular diseases.

Daytime grogginess, irritability and mood swings, problems concentrating and remembering, and an increased likelihood of car or other types of accidents are just some of the complications arising from interrupted, snore-ridden sleep. Since almost half of us regularly snore, isn’t it worth knowing what’s likely to be causing it, and what are the most effective measures of putting it to bed?

Products are available to open the airway. The C-PAP machine is one of the most recognisable treatments, and is used to prevent both snoring and sleep apnoea. Other less aggressive options include custom-fitted mouthpieces that reposition your jaw and open your upper airways so you can get more oxygen while you sleep. Other types that you can shape for yourself are easily available and both kinds are medically approved.

SleepPro oral appliances are not only rated by the NHS in Britain as the top performing products in their extensive regular tests, but are also issued directly to patients who consult many of their Specialist Sleep Clinics. The NHS results were published in the Lancet in 2014, but regular testing still continues to ensure the correct products stay at the top of their recommendation list – position that SleepPro still enjoys.

There at least 120 such oral appliances licensed in the US, for example, but all are variations of the original appliance and stick to the same principle. The prices vary greatly and is another reason stated by the British NHS for using SleepPro, as affordability is considered to be important too.

While Mandibular Advancement Appliances (MAD’s) can be bought over the counter, or online, it usually pays long-term to have a customised one made and fitted to your dental profile. It feels more comfortable, works better and lasts longer. Having a custom-made one can, in time, become much more cost effective, and more effective overall.

It’s vitally important to remember that OSA is a serious medical condition and it should never be ignored – but it should be prevented.

John Redfern

Research proves that you can’t be both ‘Fat’ and ‘Fit’

The new research was announced first at the European Congress on Obesity that took place last week in Portugal. The idea that people can be fat, but medically fit, is a myth, say those involved. Their early work, which is as yet unpublished, involved looking at the GP records of 3.5 million people in the UK for the 20 years from 1995 to 2015, but applies worldwide.
The term “fat but fit” refers to the theory that if people are obese, but all their other metabolic factors such as blood pressure and blood sugar are within recommended limits, then the extra weight will not be harmful.

Young Woman Measuring Her Waist

They tracked people who were obese at the start of the study (defined as people with a body mass index of 30 or more) who had no evidence of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes at this point.

They found these people who were obese but “metabolically healthy” were at higher risk of developing heart disease, strokes and heart failure than people of normal weight.

Dr Mike Knapton, from the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s not often that research on this scale and magnitude is able to clarify an age-old myth.

“These findings should be taken extremely seriously and I’d urge healthcare professionals to take heed.”

“What was new from this study for me is that it showed that people who were overweight or obese were at increased risk of heart disease even though they may have been healthy in every other respect.

“Just being overweight puts you at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.”

According to the British Heart Foundation, the normal heart health advice applies – not smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and limiting alcohol intake – can all help keep people healthy. However other studies have suggested that is not always the amount of fat that matters but where the excess fat is carried on the body that can affect fitness and health. For example, weight around the middle may be more damaging than weight distributed evenly around the body.

Being overweight can exacerbate an existing milder snoring problem, because one of the primary causes of the turbulence in the throat is the narrowing of the airway due to neck fat. Losing weight can help alleviate the problem by reducing fat in the neck and helping to open the airway.

Technically, snoring is the sound of air turbulence in the back of the throat caused by a narrowing of the airway, and the sound of someone snoring is really the sound of someone who is having difficulty in breathing. The most frequent myth about snoring is that it is harmless or even humorous. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is widely recognised that snoring is a sign of a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder if not prevented or controlled. It also causes ‘snacking’ which is associated with sleep disorders generally.

Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone, although it occurs more frequently in men and people who are overweight and because of this it has a tendency to worsen with age.

When trying to locate the cause or causes for your snoring, you need to be methodical because without identifying where the source of the problem lies, it may prove difficult to cure. The first thing to consider is body fat, as obese people are very likely to snore. In short, men are more prone to putting on fat in the neck area than women; fat which squashes the throat, leaving less room to breathe.

Products are readily available to open the airway. The C-PAP machine is one of the most recognizable treatments, and is used to prevent both snoring, and sleep apnoea.

It’s easier though to purchase and use an appliance that uses a method called boil-and-bite and shapes it to your dental profile, and SleepPro have a range of these that are both inexpensive and simple to use. You bite into it as you do a sports mouth guard and it keeps the jaw in a stable position.

Other options include custom-fitted mouthpieces provided by dentists, but these are very expensive, and the same custom-fitted alternatives can be bought online for much less. They are equally effective and have been thoroughly tested by the NHS who list the range of UK made SleepPro products as their top recommendation, and even issue them to patients.

Losing weight is the ideal answer but in the meantime help is available this way, and together they offer a great joint solution.

John Redfern

The problems faced by couples due to snoring

Snoring is a huge problem that results in one in three couples in the UK now opting to sleep apart to get a better night’s sleep. Do you find it hard to get a good night’s sleep because there is someone snoring alongside you? Millions of couples worldwide are familiar with this situation and suffer from disturbed sleep. In some cases, both partners in the relationship are snorers.


While we sleep our bodies are hard at work recharging and optimising our body’s functions. A recent study found that those who slept less than seven hours a night on average were three times more likely to get sick and suffer major health issues than those who averaged at least eight hours.

A recent study has shown that 41.5% of the British adult population snores at some time or other in their week. So most likely, even if you don’t snore, your partner does, and sometimes both of you have the problem. As such, more than 30 million people have a regular and ongoing problem with snoring and usually, men snore much louder than women.

The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 90 million Americans snore, 37 million on a regular basis. While all ages and genders snore, twice as many men than women snore nearly every night and most of them go through life undiagnosed. If you have trouble sleeping at night, it could be more than just a noisy disturbing inconvenience. In fact, you could be suffering from a serious medical condition called sleep apnea.

The reasons why we snore are pretty straightforward. When you fall asleep the muscles in your neck and throat relax. They then go floppy and the airways narrow, meaning there is less space for the air to go through. The soft tissue in this smaller space vibrates and rattles as the air passes through.

Snoring is also a symptom of sleep apnea which results in dangerous oxygen deprivation, as the sleeper’s airway becomes blocked, and deprives the brain of oxygen, As result it is unable to reach the cells and tissues, and dangerous conditions occur due to low oxygen over a long period.

If this is an issue for you, then there is a kinder, and more effective solution than kicking the person next to you and waking them up, or moving out. After all, that’s pretty counterproductive, and one of the main reasons why snoring is listed as the third most important factor that contributes to divorce. The medically recommended solution also makes quitting the marital bedroom to get some sleep something that is no longer necessary.

NHS Choices clearly gives the following information on their website:

‘If your snoring is mainly due to the base of your tongue vibrating, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may be recommended.

It’s designed to push your jaw and tongue forward. This increases the space at the back of your throat and reduces the narrowing of your airway that’s causing your tongue to vibrate, resulting in snoring.

You can buy a MAD for around £30-50, which is suitable for most cases of simple snoring (snoring that doesn’t cause any breathing difficulties).

However, if your snoring is associated with breathing difficulties, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, it’s recommended that you have a MAD made specifically for you by a specialist using impressions of your teeth and jaw.

The cost of a custom-made MAD will depend on the complexity of the device and materials used, and can range from several hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to obtain a custom-made MAD free of charge on the NHS.

An MAD lasts about 18 months before it needs to be replaced.’

Source: NHS Choices

Following an extensive testing programme, the NHS published their findings in The Lancet and recommended SleepPro oral appliances as their number one selection to prevent snoring, along with mild to moderate sleep apnoea. Many patients acquire SleepPro products online after consulting their Hospital or Sleep Centre where special literature is made available that describes the product range available and they can arrange special prices.

These are all problems that couples who snore may have to cope with later in life when they should be relaxing, enjoying life, and ticking off their bucket list but it’s never too late to take action.

Peace will return to the bedroom and your relationship will be the winner.

John Redfern

Gritting your teeth and getting on with it may not be such a good idea

Your teeth are not meant to be clenched and in contact all the time. They should only briefly touch each other when you swallow or chew. If they are in contact too often or too forcefully, it can wear down the tooth enamel that covers each tooth and without this to protect the inner parts of your teeth, you may have serious dental problems.

Woman holding mouthguard on white

Clenching or grinding your teeth regularly can also lead to pain in the jaw or in the muscles of the face. This is called Bruxism and it is the habit of clenching, gnashing or grinding your teeth. It happens mostly during sleep, but some people also suffer from this when they’re awake.

Who has bruxism?

It is thought that about half of the population grinds their teeth from time to time. But it may only be serious in about 1 in 20 cases. About 30% of children grind or clench their teeth too, but most children grow out of this and will suffer no lasting effects to their adult teeth.

How do I know if I have it?

You may not know that you grind your teeth while you are asleep. A bed partner may be the first person to notice the distinctive grinding sounds and noises. Other clues may be morning symptoms of a dull headache, jaw muscles that hurt or are tight, trouble opening the mouth wide, long lasting pain in the face, damage to the teeth and broken dental fillings.

If you’re not sure, your dentist can check and help you to work out if you have bruxism. He’ll ask you a series of questions and your overall dental health will be checked. This may include looking for any wear and damage to your teeth, checking the muscles in and around your jaw, and the function of the jaw joints, which are just in front of your ears. They may need to look at changes to your teeth and mouth over a number of visits to work out whether the cause is bruxism. It can take time to assess done this way and it can cost a reasonable amount of money to do so,

They may even suggest a sleep study may be needed. This will show how much you move your jaw while asleep. A sleep study looking for bruxism by itself is not common, but may also uncover other sleep problems that often accompany bruxism such as heavy snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea.

Bruxism is often increased as a problem by stress, concentration, or sickness, and can also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption and drug use. Most sufferers don’t know they have it despite the symptoms being clear.

What causes it?
There are many different and varied reasons for bruxism. These includes emotional stress such as anger and anxiety, drug use such as using stimulants, having to concentrate hard, illness, not having enough water in your body, the wrong diet, sleep problems, teething (in babies), bad tooth alignment and problems with dental work. Some people can also get bruxism as a side effect of taking antidepressants. If you let your doctor know of this side effect, you may be changed to a different drug.

How is bruxism treated?
There are many treatments available for bruxism, and they even include relaxation and awareness techniques. Counselling may be recommended as help to relieve stress in your life and improving the quality of your sleep can be of real benefit. This may include reducing the use of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, having enough sleep, making sure you keep a good bedtime routine, and stopping snoring by using a stop snoring device. Treating sleep apnoea in some people may also help to control bruxism.

There are no medications that will stop sleep bruxism and all dentists will suggest you use a mouth guard. They can be used straight from the box or one can be made to fit your dental profile exactly. Neither is expensive, and will save the dental problems as well as all the other issues. A fitted guard is obviously more efficient to use and more comfortable to wear.

It will help protect the teeth, muscles and jaw joint from the pressure of clenching and grinding. It will not stop the bruxism happening, but it will lessen the damage to your teeth and relieve much of the associated pain.

Can it get worse?
Many cases of bruxism are mild and cause little harm and if so, the person usually does not know that they are grinding their teeth. More serious cases may damage the teeth and result in facial pain and poor sleep. Nightly sounds can also wake other people sleeping nearby such as roommates and sleeping partners. If you know that you have this problem, then you should take immediate action to prevent any serious further consequences.

Don’t let life be a grind. Guard against it.

John Redfern

Simple snoring – Is it a problem?

When someone who snores discovers that they do not have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and simply snore heavily, the resulting feeling can understandably be one of great relief.

Snoring man, frustrated woman

However for some patients, frustration and not relief is the dominant emotion. They remain alone in handling the complex problems spurred by their simple snoring such as their wife sleeping in a different room or not being able to go on a caravan camping trip with friends. They want advice.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are conditions that share similarities but have some differences. Both can be caused or made worse by factors such as obesity, aging, or a large tongue and tonsils. Both snoring and OSA can have negative effects on a person’s health, including lessening sleep quality and causing daytime sleepiness as well as causing weight gain, more rapid skin aging, and memory loss. These conditions can also lead to a greater risk of severe conditions such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Historically there are longstanding home remedies for simple snoring (also known as primary or benign snoring) that sleep professionals have always recommended, such as weight loss, limiting night-time alcohol intake, and these still stand today.

However the medical viewpoint has now moved on to recommend the use of easy and inexpensive methods of snoring prevention such as using an oral appliance when sleeping at night. This helps snorers and snorers’ bed partners markedly improve their sleep and it also brings important health results along with it. These also work for those who suffer from OSA.

Snoring solutions are similar to apnea solutions. Anything that will open up the narrowed airway will help.

Good sleep is key to good health and in the UK this week we have been celebrating sleep and most of us have been getting plenty of it, but there are over 20 million of us in the UK that suffer from snoring and that’s not counting the millions who are affected by somebody else snoring.

Whilst it is a common condition, National Stop Snoring Week aims to raise awareness about the impact that sleep deprivation can have on the human body and general health. For many of us, a good night’s sleep is something that we could only wish for but is actually vital for our health.

An Omnibus study commissioned in 2015 found that over 45% of both snorers and their partners have mediocre or poor sleep quality whereas 63% of people from non-snoring homes have good or excellent sleep quality.

Partners of snorers wake up more often during the night (49% partner versus 31% snorer), feel more tired (46% partner versus 33% snorer), and are unhappier (18% partner versus 12% snorer) than the snorer. Most snorers (43%) say they try not to let snoring bother them but 20% admit to sleeping in a separate bedroom.1

The study found that 64% of American households are now dealing with at least one snorer and 50% are losing sleep because of it.

The effects of poor sleep are compounded with 18% forced to sleep in separate beds. In the United Kingdom, this figure has skyrocketed to 34% of people with snoring partners with 38% of women insisting on separate rooms.

For couples that suffer from their partners snoring, men are winning by enjoying better sleep quality than women (15% vs 9%). Women on the other hand reported poorer quality sleep due to a partner snoring (23% vs 16%).

The available solution is fast, inexpensive and vital to your health, so check out the NHS recommended oral appliances that are supplied by SleepPro, and are made in their laboratories here in the UK. Following extensive tests, the NHS recommends SleepPro as the first appliance to choose for the prevention of both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

John Redfern

  1. Source Research Article