If you’re sleep-deprived you’re costing your country billions

Sleep-deprived workers are costing the world economy billions every year and those involved also face a much higher risk of an earlier death as a result.  The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether says a new study of 62,000 workers.

Mature woman cannot sleep at night time

The study evaluated the economic cost of insufficient sleep in the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan, and said the loss equated to an average of 1.86% of economic growth across the total number of countries evaluated.

The main impact was on health, with those sleeping less than six hours a night 13% more likely to die earlier than those getting seven to nine hours sleep each night.

Even though the impact of tired workers in the UK may sound bad, it still ranked better than both the US and Japan which lost the most working days due to lack of sleep. According to the study, the ‘healthy sleep range’ is anywhere between seven and nine hours per night.

In rank order, starting with the worst measured, the figures are as follows:

1.    The USA loses 1.2 million working days a year, costing the country $411bn (£328bn) or 2.28% of GDP

2.    Japan loses 600,000 working days a year, costing them $138bn or 2.92% of GDP

3.    The UK loses 200,000 working days a year, costing the country about £40bn, or 1.86% of GDP

4.    Germany loses 200,000 working days a year, costing $60bn, or 1.56% of GDP

5.    Canada loses 80,000 working days a year, costing them $21.4bn or 1.35% of GDP

It is anticipated that similar figures, or perhaps worse for some, exist in all the other more advanced nations such as Australia, New Zealand, other European countries, and those in Asia.

Separate figures published for Australia state that sleeping conditions such as sleep apnoea cost the Australian community more than $5 billion a year in health and indirect costs, with the impact to quality of life estimated to be worth more than AUD $31 billion a year. It is growing worse as a problem year by year according to the Australasian Sleep Association.

The new report called on employers to recognise and promote the importance of sleep, even urging them to build nap rooms for staff to use. It said they should also discourage staff from “extended use” of electronic devices after working hours, and individuals were advised to wake up at the same time each day and exercise during the day to improve their sleep.

“The effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and well-being but it has a significant impact on a nation’s economy,” said Marco Hafner, a research leader at Rand Europe and the report’s main author.

Mr Hafner said that even small changes could make a big difference, adding that if those people in the UK who were currently sleeping under six hours a night increased this to between six and seven hours, it would add £24bn to the UK’s economy immediately.

In the US alone, the average worker loses 11.3 working days or $2,280 (£1,700) of productivity per year due to sleep deprivation, according to a report done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It has become so important now in the US that some companies pay their staff to sleep.

The staff at insurance group Aetna, are paid an extra $300 each year to get a good night’s sleep. Such is the US firm’s concern about the impact of sleep deprivation on employee performance, that it encourages its workers to sign up to a scheme that rewards them for getting at least seven hours of shut-eye per night. Aetna staff that participate earn $25 for every 20 nights in which they sleep over seven hours or, up to a limit of $300 in 12 months.

Introduced in 2014, 17,300 of the firm’s 49,500 employees participated last year, an increase from 12,300 in 2014. Staff are trusted to manually record how long they have slept every night. The firm’s staff are also given extra funds if they do exercise.

Insomnia, snoring, and sleep apnoea are the biggest causes, made worse by other things such as stress, alcohol, eating late and ‘blue light’ activity. All of these can be controlled and inexpensive, medically approved stop snoring appliances are available easily online.

John Redfern


Sleeping separately could be better for your health – but snoring is deadly

 

A recent shock headline said that sleeping in the same bed as your partner ‘can increase the risk of depression, heart disease and stroke’. Snoring, fighting for the duvet and being pushed out of bed by a ‘starfisher’ are all common complaints by anyone who’s ever shared a bed with a partner.

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A 2015 National Sleep Foundation survey found that as many as 25% of couples reported sleeping in separate beds, and 10% of them said they even slept in separate bedrooms, but it’s not always a relationship problem.

In fact, for some people in long-term relationships, occasionally having a bed to yourself is a secret guilty pleasure, but according to new research, you may not have to feel so guilty after all. A study by the University of Leeds has discovered that 29 per cent of people blame their partners for why they can’t get a good night’s sleep.

Few couples have the same bedtime routines or sleeping habits, and it’s no secret that lack of sleep results in bad moods and lack of focus, but it also results in an array of health problems including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. With digital devices already wreaking havoc on our attempts to sleep, this research may make couples rethink their bedroom arrangements.

However it’s not worth breaking up over. A recent study by LM Research found that those of us in happy relationships sleep better than singletons or those in unhappy relationships, as they feel secure and less anxious.

On the other hand lots of recent research underlines the damage done to health by disturbed sleep, particularly from heavy snoring or sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The condition can result in frequent periods of decreased oxygen levels in the body, known as intermittent hypoxia.

For example, a single bout of sleep apnoea impacts the human body’s ability to regulate blood pressure.

In a recent study measuring the impact of simulated sleep, researchers found that just six hours of the fluctuating oxygen levels associated with sleep apnoea can begin to deteriorate a person’s circulatory system. Research has found that patients with hard-to-control blood pressure may benefit from treating obstructive sleep apnoea.

A new study from the University of Chicago and University of Barcelona revealed that people who are suffering from intermittent hypoxia or an irregular lack of air caused by sleep apnea are more likely to develop advanced and deadly lung cancer.

The study, published in the journal Chest, showed that intermittent hypoxia promotes the release of circulating exosomes, increasing tumor growth.

It is now believed that obstructive sleep apnoea may also impact on patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Sleep disorders are quite common among kidney disease patients, but their impact on the kidney disease progression has previously been unknown. The new information underlines the need for clinical intervention to improve sleep habits in individuals with CKD.

Snoring is generally regarded as the first sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Although common among many adults, snoring is considered unhealthy in the long run as it leads to deprived oxygenation state during sleep and is found to be the major factor in increasing cardiac atherosclerosis, stroke and even natural death. Besides these, obstructive sleep apnoea is regarded as a big threat to the overall health to a person as it results in a number of other conditions like insomnia, lethargy, daytime sleepiness, weakened immunity, hypertension, anxiety, depression, nerve damage, decreased motor and memory function, and many more.

Snoring is generally found to increase with age and is reportedly more common among men, although the number of women who snore has increased a great deal. Globally around 30-50% of populations, depending upon the demographic region, are known to have snoring problems.

Often ignored, and therefore untreated, it can be serious for your long term health. A choice of stop snoring appliances that are medically approved are available online without prescription. SleepPro appliances are approved and supplied by health authorities such as the NHS in Britain, who rate it as the top solution to prevent and resolve the problem.

 

John Redfern


Sleep problems vary from one area to another by a significant degree

Appropriately, as degrees are involved, the city that is at the top of the league according to new figures for sleep deprivation is Cambridge. Amazingly Oxford doesn’t feature but there are a few surprises to be seen in the complete league table that is shown later in the article.stop snoring with sleeppro

Based on UK Google search data, it has been evaluated which cities are the most sleep-deprived by using detailed information from Google search data. The search engine was used to analyse the number of queries for a wide range of terms related to sleep deprivation such as ‘can’t sleep, help to sleep, beat insomnia’.

The company said of the research: “A good night’s sleep is a modern day luxury. Stressful daily routines, lack of ‘me time’, and a number of social pressures have a significant impact on our ability to rest.

Getting a good night’s sleep is recognised as being vital for normal health. Difficulty in sleeping tends to sabotage someone’s performance throughout the day. There are a number of sleep problems that people suffer from.

Most adults sleep between seven and eight hours although nobody truly knows how much sleep we need. Some people manage well with only four or five hours, while others, given the chance, will gladly sleep for ten hours.

Snoring, stress, depression and anxiety are some of the main causes of sleep problems along with lifestyle problems. Only a relaxed mind can sleep well.

Disturbed sleep doesn’t discriminate but those of us who are most likely to suffer from sleep disorders usually dwell in big cities.

Cambridge was Nº 1 in the league table, followed by Brighton, Manchester and Newcastle when it came to people getting the least amount of shuteye. Surprisingly, the bustling, ‘ever open’ city of London did not feature in the top 10, and is listed at number 12 in the list followed by the cities of Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds.

It’s always said that Londoners get the least sleep out of all the inhabitants of UK cities, however they don’t seem to find it hard to actually fall asleep once they finally get in to bed. Surprisingly, based on requests from those desperately searching for sleep advice the most, it’s historic Cambridge that tops the list, with the lovely seaside town of Brighton following it closely.

This is the list of the top 15 cities, from the most sleep-deprived to the least:

  1. Cambridge
  2. Brighton
  3. Manchester
  4. Newcastle
  5. Cardiff
  6. Leicester
  7. Belfast
  8. Bristol
  9. Liverpool
  10. Edinburgh
  11. Glasgow
  12. London
  13. Sheffield
  14. Birmingham
  15. Leeds

Of course, when we review this information we must take into account the fact that there are many people who haven’t sought help or advice.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) are common problems for many, particularly couples, where one partner disturbs the other’s sleep. It is widely accepted that 80% of sleep disorders such as OSA remain totally unrecognised and therefore remain dangerously untreated.

Many have discovered oral appliances that are a medically approved route for the prevention of the problem, and better sleep is a result. The benefits of this are also reflected in their health.

An example of this is diabetes. Prescriptions for type 2 diabetes have risen by a third in England in the last five years from 26 million to 35 million a year, according to NHS data and the hotspots for this match very closely to those of sleep disorders. Diabetes UK has done a lot of work around prevention and raising awareness of the condition and say to stop snoring is important.

John Redfern


Home Sleep Tests for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea are so easy to do

If you or your partner have recognised that you have a sleep problem; this could be snoring, waking up choking or gasping, or even waking up in the morning still feeling tired, then these are some of the alert signals that could suggest you might have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Man lying in bed sleeping
OSA is a fairly common condition that, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Home Sleep Tests can identify OSA, are simple to perform, and done quickly with a high degree of accuracy in the comfort of your own bed.
The most accurate method for diagnosing OSA is Polysomnography, (PSG), but it is a cumbersome and expensive test and entails overnight visits to a sleep clinic where multiple sensors are used to monitor a wide array of functions. Some patients undergoing PSG may experience anxiety and discomfort associated with sleeping outside of the home environment. Depending on the geographic location, PSG might be unavailable or there might be a long wait time before a patient can undergo this test
A well-validated, easy to perform, and much less expensive alternative is the home sleep test (HST).
This is especially beneficial for patients who might feel anxious staying overnight in a sleep laboratory for PSG. The HST has fewer sensors, is more compact, and is less cumbersome to perform. A technologist is not needed to monitor the patient during the HST. Given the prevalence of OSA, as discussed earlier, the HST can be a useful tool for primary care providers to evaluate their patients suspected to have this disorder. The HST can aid in the early diagnosis and initiation of treatment in these patients.
Following on from the basis of a simple questionnaire, this type of Home Sleep Test involves ‘Finger Pulse Oximetry’ which monitors your heart rate and blood oxygen levels during the night, and looks for deviations and abnormalities that can identify obstructive sleep apnoea.
A Finger Pulse Oximeter is small, wrist worn medical device with a finger pulse sensor, that records your heart rate and blood oxygen levels whilst you sleep, and when you have an ‘apnoea’, your airway is blocked momentarily and your oxygen levels drop accordingly. Your heart rate is also directly affected because you cannot temporarily breathe. The Finger Pulse Oximeter is able to identify when this happens and importantly, how many times it happens whilst you sleep. All of that data is recorded on the device and is downloaded to be analysed and interpreted by a qualified sleep technician from the provider of the rented Oximeter.
Sleep studies are becoming more and more common everywhere in the world as the incidence of OSA increases. In the UK alone, tens of thousands of people do a sleep study every year. It is painless, very simple to do and provides extremely valuable information as to how you are sleeping. The Home Sleep Study is very similar to the majority of those done on the NHS, in so far as it uses similar equipment, standards and methods for determining the outcome. The main difference is there is very little waiting time.
It is always a totally confidential service and the only person who will receive the study report is the person ordering the study.
In the past all sleep studies required overnight stays in hospitals beds, and sometimes still do. In these cases the patient was often wired up like a lab monkey in order to record a ‘normal’ nights sleep! Home sleep studies can operate a proven in-home service that enables patients to wear minimalistic equipment that can still adequately record sleep but in the comfort of their own bed. It is far easier to sleep ‘normally’ in your own bed than in a foreign setting and that fact means the data recorded is likely to be more accurate and realistic.
If you think that your sleep is a problem, then a Home Sleep Test is a wise move in case you are suffering from OSA. After all, the statistics show that currently 80% of all cases of sleep apnoea go undiscovered, and therefore untreated, with the subsequent serious threat to your future health.
With a Home Sleep Test, that won’t be the case, and sleep apnoea can then be controlled and even prevented.
John Redfern


Women need more sleep than men – but they don’t get it.

According to Britain’s leading expert in Sleep Science women need to have more sleep than men. It may only be twenty minutes per night and that may not seem much, but it adds up to a massive amount in a lifetime and is vital.

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It works out at 7,300 minutes a year, which is just over 120 hours, or 15 full nights of 8 hours sleep, and if you work that out over the average woman’s lifetime of 84 years then it’s a huge sleep deficit of about 3.5 years in total.

Dr. Jim Horne, the expert in question, pointed out that women tend to multi-task whereas men don’t. Consequently they use more of their actual brain than men and this leads to a greater need for sleep. Essentially, the more you use your brain during the day, the more it needs to rest.

Professor Horne is director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University and author of Sleepfaring: A Journey Through The Science of Sleep, and he states:

“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. During deep sleep, the cortex — the part of the brain responsible for thought memory, language and so on – disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode.”

“The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need. Women tend to multi-task — they do lots at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater. A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male — though probably still not as much as a woman.”

“This is because women’s brains are wired differently from men’s and are more complex, so their sleep need will be slightly greater. The average is 20 minutes more, but some women may need slightly more or less than this.”

Basically, women’s brains are typically more complex and thus need more time to relax and recover during the night. There are several factors that may affect women’s quantity and quality of sleep:

  • Sleep disturbances during pregnancy due to excess weight and the position of the foetus.
  • Difficulty sleeping during menopause due to hot flushes.
  • Being woken up and moved around on the bed by their partner, particularly as men tend to be larger than women.
  • Worrying about problems and losing sleep as a result.
  • The biggest problem however is snoring. Women lose much more sleep due to snoring and more than 2/3 of men wake their partner up.

All of us can be woken up by the sound of snoring at some time, and for many, it is certainly not funny. Large amounts of precious sleep are often lost from it. Tiredness is not the only resulting problem. Resentment can lead to relationship problems for many. Chronic sleep loss can cause serious under-performance at work, anxiety, and depression.

Amazingly, some different research discovered that women reported losing approximately 11.5 times as many hours of sleep from disturbance by snoring when the data was compared to that for men. On average the amount of time they were reported being awake was 40 minutes. Men stayed awake for a shorter time of 35 minutes, often continuing to disturb their partner throughout that time.

Bear in mind that women need 20 minutes more sleep anyway, and often lose forty this way, so we are now talking about loss of an hour each night.

One of the key things for women to do is to make sure that their partner take steps to stop snoring – something that is simple today. A massive 69% of women tried to stop their partner’s snoring by poking, kicking, or waking them up but soon found that it didn’t last and it didn’t help. They need an oral appliance to solve the problem, and maybe one for themselves as well.

Oral appliances are like a sports gum shield and fit comfortably, staying in place all night, and ensuring a good night’s sleep for all concerned. Simple starter appliances like this are medically approved, very low cost, and there’s a choice to suit you, all of which can be shaped to fit you well.

If your problem is mild to moderate sleep apnoea then you can obtain a special custom fitted mouthpiece that will prevent the problem – again medically recommended by the NHS in Britain, but with no prescription required. For very extreme cases of course you should talk to your Doctor who may refer you to a Sleep Centre for specialist advice.

John Redfern


Snoring has now been proved to be Step One in the decline of your health

If you are 40 and snoring heavily, you may already have begun the steady decline into a health-threatening middle age.

Researchers have charted the downward journey into the chronic illnesses that typically burden people from mid-life. They have mapped out the first four steps and found that it begins with snoring.

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The results of this new study were released at the Sleep Down Under 2016 conference in Adelaide last weekend, and for the study in question, specialists at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne worked with a large selection of snorers whose snoring was bad enough for them to seek medical help. Almost all had underlying sleep apnoea and its progression was tracked back along with the resultant onset of various key health problems.

The study participants were aged around 55 and mostly male. The males generally had begun snoring around the age of 32, which was much earlier than the women, who started on average at 40.

When the specialists investigated their other health issues, they found links to hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which are physiologically similar and are most usually linked with obesity and lifestyle factors.

Of all the study participants, 43 per cent had hypertension, a quarter had diabetes and 23 per cent had some form of heart disease. Eight per cent of them had all four conditions, referred to as the quadrella.

In those with the quadrella, the pattern was clear with snoring happening first, followed by hypertension, then diabetes and finally heart disease. Three-quarters of those with all four health problems were male and most of them were in their 60s.

Their decline had been in process for many years and the researchers say the sequential nature of these conditions and subsequent progression is worth investigating to test the impact of early intervention. That of course means to persuade people to stop snoring as early as possible.

This slippery slope for those on the path of ill health began when they started to snore very heavily at an average age of 39. By about 43 they have signs of high blood pressure and by 52 they are knocking on the door of diabetes. By the time they hit 54, they have early symptoms of heart disease. Snoring however is now known to start much earlier than that age, primarily due to worsening lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese. This narrows the throat and causes the problem to start at an earlier age. For those of a normal weight the throat tends not to restrict until the problems of relaxed muscles starts to occur due to age.

A good night’s sleep is critical for good health and this is a deteriorating situation as the number of people with sleep disorders grows every year as a result. It was a question being pondered by 700 experts at a conference in Adelaide where key papers outlined breakthroughs to help millions of people suffering from sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea and insomnia.

It is estimated as many as 1.5 million Australians suffer from a major sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea with as many as 80 per cent of them undiagnosed. Sleeping conditions such as sleep apnoea cost the Australian community more than $5 billion a year in health and indirect costs, with the impact to quality of life estimated to be worth more than $31 billion a year.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs in about 18 million Americans at a cost of over $80 billion, or about one in 15 people, and is caused by a repetitive airway collapse that prevents air from reaching the lungs. Sleep apnoea can have negative consequences if it goes undiagnosed and untreated early. As well as the conditions mentioned previously, it causes chronic tiredness, which can lead to cognitive impairment including trouble concentrating and memory problems.

The problem is rife throughout the world and has been identified recently by the NHS in Britain as a key area on which to focus.

Advice and medically approved treatment to prevent the problem of snoring, and its possible development to OSA, are available easily online without prescription. A selection of mouthpieces that are worn at night, and designed to suit the degree of the problem, can put years onto your life and its resultant quality.

John Redfern


Do you know if you just snore heavily or if you suffer from sleep apnoea?

To find out which check the short questionnaire at the end of this article.

Many people still treat snoring as a joke or something to be embarrassed about, but loud snoring, especially when accompanied by daytime fatigue may be a sign of sleep apnoea, a common disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. Sleep apnoea can leave you feeling exhausted during the day, affect your mood and your relationship with your bed partner, and even be dangerous to your health.

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Obstructive sleep apnoea is a serious sleep disorder where your breathing is interrupted during sleep – sometimes hundreds of times during the night. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen and makes it a potentially fatal condition.

Because sleep apnoea only occurs while you’re sleeping, many people aren’t aware they have a problem until a bed partner or roommate complains about their heavy snoring, which is one of the major indicators.

Anyone is susceptible to sleep apnoea, men more so than women, and it even occurs in children. You may not know if you or your partner have sleep apnoea but there is simple way to find out. Obviously one can go for expensive sleep tests, but these also involve going through the right medical channels and being away overnight for a detailed assessment to be done, or you can check quickly with the test before you do that. In most cases simply using an oral appliance will both limit and even prevent it happening. These do not require a prescription and are available easily online, are medically recommended, and made to fit your own dental profile.

What is sleep apnoea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a chronic condition in which there are repeated blockages in the throat causing pauses in breathing. If there are more than five of these events per hour of sleep, each event lasting 10 seconds or longer, a patient is diagnosed with OSA. Some patients have events every minute during sleep; some have events lasting 60 seconds or longer and most of these patients are unaware of this deadly condition.

A typical sleep apnoea episode will see your airflow stop, and as a result, the oxygen level in your blood drop. Your brain responds by briefly disturbing your sleep enough to kick start breathing, which often resumes with a gasp or a choking sound. If you have obstructive sleep apnoea, you probably won’t remember these awakenings. Most of the time, you’ll stir just enough to tighten your throat muscles and open your windpipe.

Here is a quick assessment to determine your predisposition for sleep apnoea. It is called the STOP-BANG Sleep Apnoea Questionnaire.

STOP (Snore, Tired, Observed, Pressure)

Do you SNORE loudly?
Do you often feel TIRED, fatigued or sleepy during the day?
Has anyone OBSERVED you stop breathing during your sleep?
Do you have or are you being treated for high blood PRESSURE?

BANG (Body Mass Index, Age, Neck, Gender)

Are you obese or very overweight with a BMI over 35?
Are you 50 years of AGE or older?
Is your NECK circumference greater than 16 inches?
GENDER: Are you a male?

SCORE:

If you say YES to 2 questions or less: There is a risk of mild sleep apnoea –
If you say YES to 3-4 questions: There is a risk of moderate sleep apnoea
If you say YES to 5-8 questions: There is a risk of severe sleep apnoea

Oral appliances, which are available without prescription online, are recommended for both mild and moderate sleep apnoea, but in severe cases you should be advised by your Doctor as to the best course of action.

John Redfern

To see Sleep apnoea in action watch this video by Nucleus Medical Media


Do you snore heavily? High blood pressure? Do you suffer from Diabetes? These related conditions are affecting more and more people.

At the start of this year this year it was reported that poor diabetes care was leading to avoidable deaths, record rates of complications, and huge costs to the health services. It has become a worse problem in the last 6 months.

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10% of total healthcare money is spent on this illness and most of the money involved goes on managing the complications not preventing them. This is widely recognised to be a worldwide problem and not one to be found just in Britain. Both Australia and the USA are also grappling with similar major increases in the condition.

Diabetes is closely connected with weight gain and disturbed sleep results from this lifestyle problem. Excessive weight will narrow the throat as well as causing the muscles to weaken and this problem increases as we age so it needs to be prevented earlier. Snoring or sleep apnoea is one of the results.

We now know that people with sleep apnea are nearly twice as likely as normal sleepers to develop diabetes, and snorers are 27% more likely to do so. Those with daytime sleepiness are also about 50% more likely than those without that symptom to develop diabetes.

There are currently estimated to be 3.5 million adults with type 2 diabetes in the UK, and this is an increase of 1.5 million adults compared with just 10 years ago when there were slightly over 2 million people with the condition. At this rate of growth it is predicted that there will be five million people with the disease in 2020, which is five years earlier than previously anticipated. The increased costs to individuals and Health services will be massive.

Despite wide press coverage, this problem is ignored and continues to grow. Prescriptions for type 2 diabetes have risen by a third in England in the last five years from 26 million to 35 million a year, according to NHS data. In addition, during the first six months of 2016, the number of prescriptions for type 2 diabetes was already up by more than 8% compared with the same period the year before.

Getting good sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise to remain healthy during the aging process. However, although any serious sleep disturbances such as snoring have been recognised to cause problems for nearly all aspects of health, it is often ignored when treating diabetes.

If you snore or have symptoms of sleep apnoea it’s important to take preventative measures now because if ignored, it may prove to be too late.

A recent study of 6,000 US adults has shown that disturbed sleep contributes to overeating and weight gain, raising blood pressure, which causes diabetes, and also that oxygen deprivation can also cause the onset of raised blood pressure and Diabetes. According to the research anyone with night-time breathing issues like snoring or sleep apnea often has high blood sugar and is almost twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Martin McShane, from NHS England, said recently: “These figures are a stark warning and reveal the increasing cost of diabetes. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s time to get serious about lifestyle change.”

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says: “Over the past decade, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by over 1 million. With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste and the government must act now”.

Improving sleep, stopping snoring, controlling sleep apnoea and eating more healthily combined with losing weight are all key factors in the process. As a result, NHS England has said that up to 20,000 patients will receive weight loss interventions by the end of this financial year as a result of GP referrals onto the Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Many sufferers have identified that they snore and taken the highly sensible first step of equipping themselves with an oral appliance to prevent the problem, as recommended by the NHS, who approve certain tested oral appliances such as SleepPro, and either issue them direct or by referral to more severely affected patients.

All SleepPro stop snoring appliances are available online without the need for a prescription. They are high quality yet inexpensive items and they are medically approved worldwide.

John Redfern


Snoring or sleep apnoea – there’s a whole world of differences involved

It’s not hard to imagine how noise, weather, an unsettled child or a bad day at work could influence how you sleep, but what about the effects of where you live, your ethnicity, your gender, your education, or even your income?

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It’s been proved there’s a complex web of interactions involved and studying the connection between ethnic groups and sleep apnea could help sleep specialists understand aspects of the condition that still remain unexplored and may help individualise the approach to different patients.

However, can a factory shift worker who comes from a non-English speaking background and lives in a rough part of town be more likely to have poorer sleep than a professional from a well-to-do suburb earning a stable income? Not withstanding the sleep-disrupting pressures that many professionals can face, the answer is very possibly yes. International research has pointed to links between disadvantaged social circumstances and poor sleep.

In the United States, the number-one risk factor by far for sleep apnea is an increase in body weight, but ethnicity may also play an important role. One key study by Pennsylvania researchers found poor sleep quality was strongly associated with both poverty and ethnicity.

The study surveyed 9,714 people on their sleeping habits and found that African-American and Latino participants demonstrated increased odds for reporting poor sleep, as did people who were unemployed, unmarried or had high stress levels.

In two presentations at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston last year, scientists reported that the amount and quality of sleep people get each night vary across racial and ethnic lines, with one study showing that Afro-Americans and Asians don’t sleep as much as others, and another study showing that foreign-born Americans are less likely to report having sleep problems than those born in the U.S.A.

In a further study of patients observed at the Detroit Receiving Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, the severity of sleep apnea was shown to be higher among African-American men under 40 years old and between 50 and 59 years old. However no difference was found between African-American and other groups of women.

It was discovered also that it doesn’t take much weight gain for Asians to develop the same severity of sleep apnea compared to those of Caucasian descent. This is likely related to differences in the typical bone structure of the head and face. In other words, it takes less weight gain for many Asians to develop the repetitive obstructions during sleep behind the tongue and soft palate that happen in sleep apnea.

Access to treatment for sleep disorders has also been found to vary greatly with circumstances throughout many parts of the world.

Further research was conducted in 2015 by Dorothy Bruck, emeritus professor of psychology at Victoria University and a sleep psychologist with the Sleep Health Foundation.

“Socio-economic status is a big determinant of health in general and sleep is no exception to that,” Dr Bruck said. Aboriginal people with a confirmed sleep-related breathing disorder, for instance, were more likely than non-Indigenous sufferers of the condition to live in a remote community, the study found and they were also more likely to be younger and female.

David Hillman, a sleep physician and chair of Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation says the way factors such as socio-economic status, race, gender and other life circumstances interact with sleep is an area that warrants further research.

Dr Hillman says men are more likely to experience issues such as sleep apnoea and snoring, but women are more likely to experience disrupted sleep and insomnia in particular. He says one of the reasons for this is that women are more prone to experiencing depression, which can interfere with quality of sleep but other factors behind the difference between the genders are less clear.

We are all individuals and as a result may demand a different solution to our snoring and sleep problems, but with such a wide range of different stop snoring solutions now available online, it is much easier to get help.

John Redfern