#Stoptober • Is Smoking Ruining Your Sleep?

#stoptober
The successful Stoptober campaign is under way yet again and as well as assisting you to stop smoking, it can help you in other ways – such as stopping snoring. Snoring happens for lots of different reasons and sleep disorders of this type can be caused by genetics, body weight, or simply age. However we know that smoking can make you snore.
Although smoking can make you snore there are several ways it can do this. The first and second ways are quite obvious. Firstly it can dry out your throat very quickly which isn’t a major cause of snoring, but it can contribute to it. The second way smoking can cause snoring is by direct irritation. When you smoke, the smoke itself irritates your mouth and throat including the mucus membranes and the bronchial tubes. That may not sound like much, but it is.
Because your airway is quite small to begin with, it takes very little for it to be constricted enough for you to start to notice, and all of the irritation that is caused by cigarette smoke leads to inflammation. In such a small space inflammation is not a good thing and it’s enough to constrict your airway and cause you to snore – sometimes very heavily.
However there is actually a third way in which smoking is related to snoring. For some people, smoking causes them to actually create more mucus and if you’re producing too much mucus it can take up space in your airway and make you snore. There is no way to get rid of it completely but reducing your milk intake and increasing the amount of water you drink will help.
Solutions
Even ex-smokers are more likely to snore than someone who has never smoked. However, just because there isn’t an easy solution to the problem that doesn’t mean that the symptoms cannot be treated.
Obviously you can stop smoking. Otherwise, your best bet is probably a simple mouthpiece that you wear at night when sleeping. The mouthpiece is the best way to open up space through the airway and this will prevent you from snoring. It’s comfortable fast, and inexpensive – and can help stop or restrict other associated problems with your health – as well as quite often saving relationships.

Smoking leads to snoring

Smoking affects your sleep in several ways – all to do with the active ingredient, nicotine.

  • Depending on your level of use and dependence, your desire for additional nicotine during your sleep may cause you to awaken and this may lead to insomnia.
  • Nicotine itself is a stimulant and the use of it too close to bedtime may also make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
  • Smoking also is associated with a disruption of the basic structure of your sleep – called the sleep architecture – and this comprises a number of very important stages. Research shows that smokers take slightly longer to fall asleep, sleep less, and have less deep sleep.

For those who quit smoking, these differences in sleep architecture do not persist. So if you smoke and you also have disrupted sleep, this may be yet another very important reason why you should quit.

Stop Now….before it’s too late.

By John Redfern

 

 


Heavy Texting and Social Media are linked to Sleep Problems and poor performance for University students

I recently highlighted the high incidence of sleep disorders in adults, particularly women, and also wrote about the worrying problems that lack of sleep and snoring can cause in children – but what about young adults – particularly students going away from home for the first time?

Sleep deprivation has always been regarded as a major problem for those leaving home to go to College and University – as part of their transition to campus life. Now, a new study in the USA has identified another problem when it comes to students and sleep problems. In a word, it’s Texting.

Sleep Problems and poor performance

In a recent article it was reported that texting was a direct predictor of sleep problems among first-year students in a study that examined links between inter-personal stress, text messaging behaviour, and three indicators of college students’ health: burnout, sleep problems and emotional well-being.

Although the results of this study showed that the impact of texting on a student’s psychological well-being very much depended on the level of interpersonal stress they were already facing, more texting was associated with poorer sleep regardless of their previous level of stress.

The students in the study were all in their first year away from home and answered questions that measured academic and social burnout, emotional well-being, and sleep problems. They were also asked to estimate how many text messages they sent and received on an average day.

The study’s findings on sleep were especially significant given the well-documented compromises in sleep that students experience throughout their time in higher education, but especially in the first year. Several recent studies have shown that 70 per cent of college students receive less than the eight recommended hours of sleep. A recent survey concluded that “Only 40 per cent of students feel rested on two days of the week”.

To assess the students’ sleep quality, a ‘Sleep Quality Index’ was used to fit the college sample. It measured multiple aspects of sleep quality such as sleep duration, the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, the amount of time actually spent sleeping while in bed, night-time disturbances, and any daytime sleepiness.

The key finding was that the higher the number of daily texts – the higher the index of the student’s sleep problems. It is worth noting that this finding reinforces previous evidence pointing to a direct association between the use of mobile phones and poor sleep in adolescents and emerging adults.

Among the possible causes for this connection are two tendencies: students’ feeling pressured to respond immediately to texts, no matter what time of day or night, and students’ sleeping with the phone nearby, thus being awakened by the alerts from incoming texts. Initial conclusions are that heavy text messaging could be problematic during times of stress. Although speculative, it could be argued that texting is a uniquely unsuitable mode of communication for coping with interpersonal stress in close relationships.”

For instance, it is suggested that the abbreviated language that is common in texting — so-called “textese” — lacks the ability to provide the kind of nuance that is important in discussing sensitive issues. In addition, texting fails to offer critical non-verbal indications and hints that would be part of a face-to-face conversation. The Report stated that:

“Text messaging may carry a high risk of producing misunderstandings and unproductive interactions during periods of stress. When interpersonal stress involves conflict, the conditions required for productive communication may be particularly difficult to achieve through texting.”

To put it simply, as well as distracting students from restful sleep, leaving them tired the next day, texts can very easily be misunderstood, and cause more problems than they solve in a conversation.

Texting, Social Networking and other Media use has also been linked to poor academic performance in a US Report which says the widespread use of media among college students — from texting, to chatting on cell phones, to posting status updates on Facebook — may be taking a very serious academic toll.

According to this new study, new women students spent nearly half their day — 12 hours — engaged in some form of media use, particularly texting, music, the Internet and social networking. Researchers found media use, in general, was associated with lower grades an other academic problems. However, there were two exceptions: newspaper reading and listening to music were actually linked to a positive academic performance.

These findings were reported online in the journal Emerging Adulthood, and they offer some new insight into media use in early adulthood, at a time when many young people are living independently for the first time and have significant freedom from parental monitoring.

By John Redfern


Save yourself from anxiety and depression

Depression is “A mental disorder characterized by feelings of gloom and inadequacy” and anxiety is classified as ‘’a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”. Being anxious or depressed some of the time is normal and is a part of being human. However when anxiety and depression prolongs itself and starts to affect your daily life your relationships and self esteem that gets alarming and needs intervention, be it medical intervention or self help.

Depression is more than short term sadness. Feeling anxious is OK sometimes, before a job interview or before an exam for example but anxiety disorder becomes prolonged and lead to panic attacks. Our feelings are important physiological cues to us and they are gentle ways of nature to tell us about something, they are indicators that we need to amend the specific aspects of our lives and tuning up ourselves is needed.

These feelings of anxiety and negativity are signals for us. Mother Nature is telling us (and if we don’t listen yelling at us) TO DO SOMETHING. They are in fact trying to motivate you. Take the example of a person criticizing you. You will not like it, feel angry or hurt. That is your mind’s response in saving your well-being.

However when these feelings of anxiety and depression get out of control and you feel your productivity is being affected and you don’t want to come out of the bed and just want to vanish or disappear when you think that your existence does not matter to any one and the world would be better off without you this is the kind of feeling you should get rid of and treat.

Getting free from anxiety and depression

Depression is a very painful situation. The agony and the suffering a depressed person undergoes is immense and the good news is that it can be cured. Below is some advice on dealing with the situation:

  • Reprogram your mind: the negative feelings the feeling of worthlessness are all in your mind. Fight them, counter them and do this firmly. Tell yourself again and again that you are a wonderful amazing and unique person. Kill those negative thoughts that let you down and make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Get inspired by people: keep a good company, one that will motivate you, let you learn and grow and excel in life.
  • Get connected with nature: nature has a magical way of healing. Go for a walk, hiking go to the beach or just stroll in a park.
  • Help others: when you lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate than you are you will feel blessed and thankful and happy.
  • Eat happy: take vitamins, fresh fruits, and maintain a healthy well balanced diet.
  • Exercise: A 30 min walk in the park will boost your mood a lot. Make it a habit to do physical exercise daily and this will relax you and lessen your anxiety.
  • Write it down: a great way to do purification is to write down everything or anything that comes to your mind in a private diary and one feels less stressed. This method is especially helpful if you are having communication problems and find it hard to communicate verbally. This journal therapy is a great way to de stress yourself
  • Live your own life: we have many responsibilities and roles that we are juggling in our daily lives and each responsibility demands a lot from us. Sometimes in the midst of these commitments we neglect our selves drastically and when this gets prolonged we get depressed. It happens that we are doing what pleases our parents our spouses our boyfriends or girl friends or someone else and in all this effort the person getting neglected severely is OUR OWN SELF. So take time for your own self, make yourself happy and LIVE YOUR DREAM.
  • Stop comparing yourself with others: that will just make matters worse for you. You can`t comprehend what problems other people have faced so be grateful for what you have and concentrate on your own life. This way you shall defeat both the anxiety and depression. The grass always looks green on the other side of the fence, but it isn’t.

About the Author:

John Paul is a writer who specializes in sleep disorders. You can check his Sleep Deprivation website, where you can find valuable and latest information about sleep disorders, and much more.


Orthodontists have a big role to play in stopping children snoring

Many more people are now aware of the serious health dangers for both adults and children that are signaled by snoring. It’s not just a matter of sleepless nights and poor rest for your children but also poor behavior and learning difficulties are also likely.

A recent Conference held in New Zealand featured strongly on this subject and the key role that the family orthodontist can play. One of the main topics was the problem of obstructive sleep apnoea, especially in children, and the role of orthodontists in helping to diagnose and treat the problem.

The statistics are similar in Australia and New Zealand to those for the United Kingdom. We are aware that approximately one in 25 men, and one in 50 women, are affected, but that significant numbers of others remain totally undiagnosed and therefore receive no treatment – a dangerous situation.

The main objective was to better educate the medical profession as far as snoring and sleep apnoea is concerned, an area where Australasia, and also the UK, lags far behind the USA and Canada in recognition and advice.

Sleep Apnoea - Children and Sleep Disorders

It is generally believed that about 35 per cent of children who snored more than three times a week have obstructive sleep apnoea, and that weight and environmental factors like allergies could increase the risk.

“If a child is snoring more than three nights a week then parents should be concerned.”

It was stated that if sleep apnoea went untreated, as well as behavioural and learning problems, it could cause other problems in the muscle and skeletal structure of the face.

A speaker from from the leading New Zealand Children’s Hospital said that often parents weren’t too concerned about snoring, but it could be a sign of bigger problems and it was important to have it diagnosed and treated.

“If parents feel that their child is having difficulty breathing while asleep, or are worried they are not getting enough air, then those are worrying signs that the child might have obstructive sleep apnoea. Because the breathing problem leads to sleep disturbance, children often have difficulty concentrating during the day and are more likely to have behaviour problems, temper tantrums and moodiness.”

The belief is that in many cases it is being picked up far too late, and because of that, problems like behavioural issues remain after treatment because they had become so entrenched over time.

It is in this area that the Conference believed that orthodontists have a key role to play.

Children with nasal obstruction, leading to snoring, sleep apnoea and daytime mouth breathing, can develop changes in the shape of the face that results in problems with the alignment of teeth. In some cases parents might not be aware that breathing is an issue and the first profession they might see could be an orthodontist.

Conference said “Orthodontists have an important role in asking about snoring and breathing problems during sleep and referring children to their doctor for tests and treatment where there is concern.”

By John Redfern


Researchers say that there is such a thing as 'Beauty Sleep'.

They say ‘Snoring makes you look old, ugly and dopey.’

  • Study of sleep apnoea patients shows that treatment makes them more noticeably attractive to others
  • Voters asked to rank pictures of patients before and after treatment
  • Snoring and poor sleep increased facial puffiness and redness
  • Commonly-held signs of sleepiness such as dark circles did not increase

According to an article published this week in the Science section of The Telegraph, and also in The Daily Mail, “Snoring not only keeps your partner awake at night, it also makes you more haggard and ugly.”

Coming from such creditable sources as these – How can we doubt it?

We have all become very aware these last few years of the many dangers of heavy snoring and sleep apnoea – but this is something new. Snoring can be more than just an annoyance to anyone sharing your bed – it is a very major health risk.

 

sleep apnoea

Some snorers will stop breathing numerous times during the night, and because they do, the usual oxygen supply to their hearts and brains is temporarily cut off. This is the condition known as sleep apnoea, the cause of which is the relaxed tissues in the soft palate at the back of the throat blocking the airway, and this causes their breathing to be interrupted. Sleep apnoea is much more common among obese people but is easily treatable, firstly by losing weight, or alternatively by wearing a simple device like a gum shield that keeps the airways open during sleep.

The evidence came from a study made of middle-aged sleep apnoea patients, where they found that two-thirds of those who were treated for this condition were judged to be much more attractive in their “after treatment” pictures than in the “before treatment pictures.”

Detailed analysis of the panel was made by a sensitive “face mapping” technique usually used by surgeons, and then asking the opinion of a panel of independent ‘appearance raters.’ The changes were noted just a few months after they began treatment to help them breathe better during sleep and overcome chronic sleepiness.

Patients’ foreheads were found to be less puffy and their faces less red following treatment for the sleep apnoea and they were assessed to have fewer wrinkles. The researchers also perceived, but did not have a way to measure, a reduction in forehead wrinkles after treatment.

The results were jointly published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine by the University of Michigan Health and Technology Departments, in which the article stated that the raters found that patients in the post-treatment photos looked more alert, more youthful and more attractive. The raters also correctly identified the post-treatment photo two-thirds of the time.

This report underlines just one more benefit of getting treatment for sleep apnoea with its many dangers. Sleep apnoea affects millions of adults – most undiagnosed – and puts them at higher risk for heart-related problems, other serious illnesses and daytime accidents caused by drowsiness.

By John Redfern


New evidence that sleep apnoea is one of the main causes of diabetes

Some recent research conducted in France has reached the conclusion that if a person suffers from obstructive sleep apnoea, (OSA), then they will have a much higher chance of having diabetes.

One of the main problems of sleep apnoea is that the person who has it will stop breathing many times during the night, and will snore loudly, often complaining the next day of a poor night’s sleep. Often they do not realize why as they are not aware of having stopped breathing, perhaps several hundred times during their sleep.

The research team, based at the University of Angers, in western France, concluded that sleep apnoea is more often than not undiagnosed and therefore goes untreated, and it could well be one of the key causes in the development of diabetes.

Sleep Apnoea and Diabetes Test

They tested the glucose levels, and studied approximately 700 men, a major problem group for sleep apnoea, particularly those men who were overweight and middle aged. All those tested had been referred by their doctor to sleep clinics, because of the suspicion of sleep apnoea in varying degrees of severity.

Most tested positive for sleep apnoea but around half of them also had diabetes or insulin resistance, which is a glucose abnormality that usually continues to become diabetes later. The link between the sleep disorder and diabetes was clearly established and the more serious their sleep apnoea, the higher their insulin resistance.

What is more important is that the research seems to have established an explanation for the link between the two. Despite many respondents being overweight this was not the cause, merely incidental. It has been proposed that the primary cause is the fall in oxygen when breathing repeatedly stops and this disturbs the glucose metabolism of the body.

It is already accepted that if sleep apnoea, however mild, is treated, usually by wearing an ant-snoring oral appliance at night, then health and quality of life for both those suffering from the problem, and their partner, shows immediate improvement, as well as safeguarding long term health. More severe cases that develop, usually because the problem has not been treated early will require the use of CPAP breathing apparatus through the night. Many sufferers dislike using this equipment for a number of reasons.

It is now recommended in France, since this research, that all snorers be immediately screened for diabetes. The researchers say that snoring should not be dismissed as a nuisance with no medical significance. If OSA is present, it should be diagnosed and treated. By simply wearing an oral appliance similar to a sports-style gum-shield whilst sleeping, severe health problems such as diabetes, along with others, can be prevented.

By John Redfern


Snoring is now classified as one of the worst sounds in the world

As we are all aware, the likelihood of us snoring as we move past middle age is very likely, and this is primarily due to the muscles in our throats being less firm and toned, almost closing as we sleep and breathe at night – with the resultant vibration through the narrower airway causing snoring to occur – and often very loudly. Evidence of this was found in a recent survey.

To mark the launch of their new range of Hearing Aids, an interesting research survey of 1600 adults aged 50 plus was carried out by Age UK, and this research investigated the sounds that the respondents had most liked and most hated in their own lives.

The main sounds selected in these two distinct groups were as follows.

The two clear choices of Music and Laughter came first and second in the poll for popularity, while right down at the bottom of the league came Arguing, Snoring, and Talking in the Cinema or Theatre.

In connection with the sounds that were liked most, both of the sexes said that they enjoyed the sound of laughter and this ranked highly in both women (55%) and in men (47%). However, within that selection, men and women had some slightly different preferences, with 47% of women really loving the sound of a baby’s ‘giggle’, whilst only 27% of men said they liked it and pointed this out – perhaps to be expected due to maternal instincts.

Other highly popular sounds that were selected were the rustle of leaves, the crackle of a log fire, and the words ‘I love you’, again as may be expected.

The selected sounds that were disliked most again showed scoring similarities between both the male and female adult groups. Arguing was top of the list with an almost even score of 39% by women and 37% by men, and loud music was disliked absolutely equally, with a score of 33% for both the men and the women.

However, there were bigger differences in some of the other noises chosen, particularly Snoring, which ranked very highly with women at 35% and in second place overall. Amongst men though it scored a lower ‘dislike’ figure of 27% – perhaps reflecting the fact that men are the key culprits in this thorny matter, with women suffering the most of all as they have to have to listen to it and suffer the disturbed nights.

Other sounds that were selected as being much disliked and got a clear mention were noisy eating, talking in the cinema, and the intrusion of other people’s mobile phone ringing.

 

Snoring is number 2 on the worst sounds chart

 

By John Redfern


Snoring and other Adult Sleep Disorders – Particularly those in Women

A recent study by the National Sleep Foundation stated that over two-thirds of U.S. adults say that their partner snores. A similar study conducted in the UK found that the average married person loses about 730 hours of sleep each year because they snore or their spouse snores or is very restless.

And in yet another survey, that shows what people are doing about it, almost 40% of couples choose to sleep in different beds.

So if you’re not feeling refreshed after waking up in the morning, and you you’ve had 7 to 8 hours of sleep – or you think that you have – then this is one of the most common signs and symptoms of sleep disorders.

Millions of people suffer from one form of sleep disorder or another, and there are numerous types that you need to be able to recognise – all with different obvious outward signs – but all with the same end result and this situation can be produced for lots of different reasons.

Disorders vary greatly; some like insomnia can cause you not to sleep properly at night, whilst others such as poor sleeping habits result in loss of important rest without you realising it’s happened.

 

Sleep Disorder

 

If you feel sleepy during the day there are 5 top sleep disorders and reasons why this may have happened

 

  1. Sleep Apnoea A sleep disorder that repeatedly stops your breathing at night and is very serious for everyone, but particularly those of you who drive for a living or are in charge of machinery as it may cause you to fall asleep during the day.

  2. Restless Leg Syndrome This disorder causes excessive amounts of leg movement throughout the night and causes loss of sleep as a result.

  3. Poor Sleep Hygiene Very common and the primary result is insufficient sleep for which there can be numerous reasons such as shift work, an unsatisfactory environment for comfort, noise levels or temperature, or simply because of social reasons like late nights.

  4. Narcolepsy There are many symptoms of this but obviously sleepiness is the most obvious and it is usually a matter of being unable to regulate sleep and waking at reasonably regular times.

  5. Parasomnia This term covers such Sleepwalking, Sleeptalking or similar behaviour – even including Night Terrors.

Insomnia in women is more common than it is in men, according to various studies, and there are a number of causes for this condition. In addition,
Insomnia occurs in two types; firstly short term insomnia, which lasts up to a maximum of 2 to 3 weeks and long-term insomnia, which lasts for more than 3 to 4 weeks. Short-term insomnia is not at all dangerous, but the long-term insomnia, if left untreated, can result in many other dangerous health conditions. There are many causes of insomnia in women and if these are corrected it would allow them to sleep well.

Key amongst the causes of Insomnia in women is either stress or depression. Lots of women worry a great deal about school matters, family problems and money issues, resulting in their mind not relaxing at night and worrying when they should be sleeping instead. Depression, on the other hand, may cause too much sleep or too little, particularly with medication involved.

Whichever might be the cause, you can find out if you are having this issue by making a daily note of the various signs and symptoms of the disorder.

 

Check out which of the following signs are typical for you:

 

Loud or chronic snoring:

This is one of the prominent signs and symptoms of sleep disorders, which you will know through your spouse or partner. Most snoring is caused by an obstruction in the airway and the sound is the result of the soft tissue in the throat vibrating, while the air passes through a narrower airway.

If you snore regularly, you might leave your partner awake all night too, which is perhaps another sign or symptom to note and it is wise to seek some immediate medical help to find out if it is a sure sign.

Gasping for air:

If you have sleep disorders, it may be common for you to suffer from gasping or choking for air. This happens as the level of oxygen in your blood becomes very low when you pause for breathing, and it will send a signal to your brain to wake up and breathe immediately. This can happen as often as every 30 seconds. If it does, then consult your GP immediately.

Feeling exhausted all day:

IF you feel very tired all day and it seems to affect your performance at work then it could be that you might be deprived of sleep for one reason or another and may not know why.

Don’t ignore this symptom, even if you have slept regularly for 7 to 8 hours each night, as this is a sure sign of having a sleep disorder.

High blood pressure levels:

If you are experiencing sudden bouts of hypertension, it is because your body goes into what specialist sleep doctors call ‘fight mode’ causing a hike in the blood pressure levels. This might even put you at risk of a cardiovascular problem such as heart attack or stroke.

Visiting the bathroom frequently while sleeping:

Urinating frequently at night can occur often among older adults between 55 and 84. This is a classic symptom of a sleep disorder. If you notice that you are visiting the bathroom more than 3 times at night in between sleep then you should see your doctor as soon as you can.

Waking up with a headache:

You might wake up with a headache frequently as the low level of oxygen in the brain causes the pain and this again happens often because of various forms of sleeping disorder.

Most importantly, observe, take notes, and if any doubt ask your GP.

By John Redfern


Snoring and Other Sleep Disorders in Children

Snoring is the number one sign of there being a sleep problem in children and it has been estimated that at any one time, as many as one in ten of them may be suffering – leading to very disturbed nights.

A child may be snoring due to a number of possible causes which include oversized tonsils and/or adenoids, various anatomical issues such as a small jaw or airway diameter, and some allergies, or asthma, that cause swelling of the linings of the airway. Some children may even suffer from a problem called obstructive sleep apnea, usually referred to as OSA, which is a condition where their airways become very obstructed, causing the child to stop breathing often during the night – perhaps as much as a hundred times – and each time losing valuable sleep that they need.

Snoring and Sleep Disorders

If your child is snoring and observed to stop breathing during the night, it is important that you seek medical advice quickly, as OSA is a much more serious sleep disorder, whether it occurs in adults or in children, and it can cause a number of serious long term health problems.

Other commonly diagnosed sleep disorders in children include nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking. Symptoms of sleep disorders such as these in children have often led to misdiagnosis of some behavioural disorders such as ADHD. Therefore, all parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of possible sleep disorders in children that consistently snore – this being regarded as three to four times a week. There are many symptoms for parents to look for in their children.

They should also look out for a breathing pattern that pauses during sleep, waking up with a headache, difficulty in either falling asleep or staying asleep, having restless and/or disturbed sleep, difficulty getting up in the morning, falling asleep in the wrong place or at the wrong time, poor growth compared with peers, bed-wetting, consistent night terrors or nightmares, behavioural issues at home or school, and having difficulty in concentrating.

The main reason that causes childhood snoring is having large adenoids or tonsils, which partially block the windpipe during sleep. This blockage restricts the movement of air, and it has to be forced through the air passage, causing snoring. Some children have recurrent upper respiratory tract infections and they are more likely to snore, as are any children who have allergies that cause inflammation of the airways. This inhibits the flow of air in the windpipe and the result is snoring.

Numerous research projects have clearly shown that children who snore are more likely to have learning and behavioural or emotional problems but these were lessened, and even disappeared with improvements in the snoring problem.

The doctors stated that the sleep disruption, caused by snoring, was often the main factor leading to poor behaviour during the day, but that one should always be cautious as it could also be other factors that needed further investigation.

The biggest study carried out on this problem was done in the UK and tracked 13,000 children for a period of seven years so the results are extremely accurate. It was conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, and based on children in South-west England. It was published in Pediatrics Magazine and the results were clearly evident.

The team found that overall, children with sleep-disordered breathing, regardless of the age at which they had it, were more likely to develop symptoms of behavioural or emotional disorders, including anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), by the age of seven. Overall, the chance of children who snored experiencing those disorders was about 5.5 percent greater than the children who experienced no breathing problems. The worst-case group represented the biggest risk, with nearly 18 percent facing possible emotional disorders by age 7.

There were other possible factors but the researchers said that the strongest effect definitely came from sleep-disordered breathing – in a word – snoring. For example, among the “worst case” kids, sleep-disordered breathing was linked to an increase of 72 percent in the risk of behavioural and emotional symptoms at age seven, even considering all the other factors together.

If your child is displaying symptoms of a potential sleep problem, talk to your GP – and they may discuss that they are referred for a sleep study.

By John Redfern


How much sleep should your child be getting?

We’re all aware that getting good quality sleep every night is imperative to both good physical and mental health and keeps us functioning normally as human beings. It’s been proven many times that sleep deprivation is known strongly influences many physical aspects of our well being particularly our learning skills, memory, immunity levels, growth and weight control.

Poor sleep patterns and late nights over long periods can create real problems as babies and young children develop, and it is still important in their teenage years. As most parents of young children know, if a child is not getting enough sleep it can have an impact throughout the day. The problem is if your child isn’t getting enough sleep, how can you establish better sleep habits?

Paediatricians will tell you that perhaps the biggest thing you can do to help your child to establish a healthy sleep habit is to help them establish a regular routine. Creating a routine that you stick to strictly will help form good sleep habits for your child. Routines will help your child’s internal system know when to fall asleep and when to wake up, while moving these times erratically will hinder your child’s good sleep habits.

Children who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep based on their age can suffer problems ranging from being in a bad mood to a weakened

immune system or a lack of growth. It’s not just about the times, however. Establishing a routine including events that occur before bedtime will help you child relax before bed. A bath, a book or other quiet activities can help sooth your child before it is time to sleep.

Sleep needs change as children grow from infants to teenagers. Kids who don’t get enough sleep can perform worse in school and have mental and physical problems as well.

A new British study suggests that going to bed at different times every night appears to reduce children’s brainpower.

The research included 11,000 children in the United Kingdom whose family routines, including bedtimes, were recorded when they were aged 3, 5 and 7. At age 7, the children were given tests to assess their math and reading skills and spatial awareness.

Irregular bedtimes were most common at age 3, when around one in five children went to bed at varying times. By the age of 7, more than half the children went to bed regularly between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

At age 7, girls who had irregular bedtimes had lower scores on all three tests than girls with regular bedtimes. However this was not the case among 7-year-old boys, according to the study, which was published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Irregular bedtimes at age 5 were not associated with poorer brainpower in girls or boys at age 7. But irregular bedtimes at age 3 were associated with lower scores in reading, math and spatial awareness in both genders, suggesting that around the age of 3 could be a sensitive period for the development of mental skills.

Irregular bedtimes could disrupt natural body rhythms and cause sleep deprivation, harming children’s ability to acquire and retain information, the researchers said.

“Early child development has profound influences on health and well-being across the life course,” said study author Amanda Sacker, from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London. “Therefore, reduced or disrupted sleep — especially if it occurs at key times in development — could have important impacts on health throughout life.”

Adjusting the sleep environment

Paediatricians and specialists in Children’s Sleep Disorders have recently put together simple guidelines to assist in their sleep hygiene.

  • The sleeping room should not be the same room used for playtime.
  • The room should be dark, but not pitch black.
  • Make sure the child gets sufficient daytime exercise
  • Establish a regular schedule
  • White noise, such as that provided by a fan may be helpful

Children can be difficult out for a number of reasons. However, when bad behaviour becomes a habit, teachers and parents often look to medicine to provide an answer. While testing for disorders like ADHD, depression and anxiety may effectively rule out some problems, the solution may often be an easier one to find. Many of the symptoms of psychological disorders are caused by lack of sleep. Paediatricians suggest that ensuring your child is getting adequate sleep may dramatically improve his or her behaviour – improve their attention span and memory, and generally improve their performance overall at school.

By John Redfern