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


There are alternative solutions to CPAP

As we all know, a solid night of sound sleep is important; so important that a person’s overall health and ability to function effectively during the day depends on it. But when normal breathing patterns are disrupted during sleep, it’s not unusual for health to deteriorate.

The major conditions that cause concern are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the key symptom, excessive snoring, which is usually caused by the tongue falling back into the throat when the sleeper’s mouth is open, This blocks airflow and forces the sleeper to wake up and constantly adjust his or her position. This can occur multiple times every hour and renders restful sleep impossible. If a person can somehow close his or her mouth while sleeping, however, then the tongue won’t fall back and their sleep may not be disturbed.

The usual recommended treatment for this in the UK is by the use of a CPAP machine, to maintain and force a continuous flow of oxygen into the lungs during sleep via a facemask.

Living with a partner who has symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can also be a difficult proposition. At night, their snoring and gasping for air can keep you awake, and the restless shifting from position to position can prevent you from sleeping. During the day their fatigue may prevent them from being able to help out at home. However, talking with your partner about getting diagnosed is the first step toward both of you sleeping all night and waking up in the morning feeling refreshed.

Many sufferers however do not wish to wear a restrictive mask all night for a variety of good reasons – varying from claustrophobia to discomfort. As a consequence many people risk serious health problems by choosing not to be diagnosed or simply acquire the equipment and fail to adapt to using it.

As a result many Sleep Specialists and Dentists are now recommending other alternative therapies in order to lower health risks; their attitude now being that better a slightly less effective treatment than none at all, and the results have proved that this is proving an excellent solution. OSA sufferers that were previously undiagnosed are now coming forward for simpler and less invasive treatment for their possibly life-threatening problem.

This first began in the USA where awareness of Sleep Disorders is at a much higher awareness level, but has now begun to be widely accepted in the UK among leading Dental Practices. They are happy to recommend their patients to accept alternatives to CPAP. These solutions are NHS Approved products whose success levels are well recorded for all the common snoring problems amongst both men and women.

If you suspect that you or a member of your household suffers from snoring or sleep apnea, the first step is to see your dentist. He will organize a small oral appliance called a mandibular advancement device (MAD) that is worn during sleep to reduce snoring by moving the jaw forward and preventing the tongue from closing off the air passage. With your air passage open and unobstructed, snoring is greatly reduced which results in a quiet, restful sleep for you and the other members of your household.

An alternative device is a snoring chinstrap – which can be worn singly or in conjunction with the MAD if requiring extra support to close the mouth. This simple comfortable fabric product can help you and your partner get a good night’s rest and possibly prevent serious future health problems. An adjustable snoring chin strap wraps underneath a person’s jaw and over the head and is manufactured from comfortable, lightweight, and breathable fabric. It distributes tension evenly across the head and alleviates pressure points. As a result, the jaw stays closed, the tongue does not fall back, airways are more open, and sleep can occur without disturbances. It is a simple, low-cost, and non-surgical solution to a highly debilitating problem.

Together, the Custom mouthpiece and the Chinstrap are now widely diagnosed by leading dental practices in the UK for those heavy snorers who struggle with or deliberately avoid CPAP treatment for their problem. It may save their marriage – and even their life.

By John Redfern


Stopping snoring improves lifestyle and prevents heart problems

Making sure you get plenty of undisturbed sleep could increase the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and prevent heart problems, researchers suggest.

It’s important to take regular exercise and of course eat healthily as we all know – but it is even more important to stop smoking and moderate your alcohol intake – particularly later in the evening. It’s these lifestyle changes that will most protect you from heart problems and reduce the chance of early death as a result.

Researchers wanted to find out if getting a good night’s sleep – which they defined as seven hours or more a night – could enhance the benefits of healthy lifestyle changes. Several studies have already suggested that it can, and that lack of sleep is linked to a risk of being overweight, and to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A key symptom is snoring which obviously can seriously disturb your sleep pattern – and also that of others.

The research took place as follows and took 12 years in total

  1. Doctors and researchers studied almost 20,000 adults aged between 20 and 65 who had no previous history of heart problems.
  2. All of them were questioned about diet, exercise levels, whether they drank or smoke, and how much sleep they usually got each night.
  3. Then researchers recorded how many of the people in the study, which lasted about 12 years, died of heart problems, or had a heart attack or stroke during that time.

During the study period, 142 people died of heart problems, 239 had a heart attack, and 122 had a stroke – a total of 703 cases.

The key finding was that the healthier the person’s lifestyle, the less chance there was of dying of heart problems, or having a heart attack or stroke.

People who had a healthy diet, drank in moderation, didn’t smoke, and exercised often, reduced their chances of dying of heart problems, or having a heart attack or stroke, and even more if they had “sufficient sleep” every night – undisturbed by heavy snoring or sleep apnoea.

The results were conclusive and are important for us to act on immediately.

Eliminating snoring is key. Unless this is done the chance of a good night’s sleep is seriously restricted – both for the person snoring and their partner.

Tossing and turning is a familiar feeling for many and there are a number of key things that will prevent us from getting the restful night we both need and deserve.

The 5 main things that will disturb your sleep are:

  • Late night stimulants like coffee, alcohol or food
  • An uncomfortable or noisy environment including snoring by either you or your partner
  • An irregular routine – going to bed and waking up at different times each day
  • The wrong body temperature during sleep – too warm or too cold
  • Stress and a busy mind

The recent hot, humid weather across many parts of Britain has made for uncomfortable nights for quite a few people and although The Met Office says temperatures will now fall slightly, the humidity will remain fairly high.

Humidity is a big part of the problem, making it hard for sweat to evaporate. For many, getting to sleep will have been sweaty and uncomfortable, closer to the climate people associate with Bangkok rather than Birmingham.

Warm nights have been the biggest problems because in Northern Europe, most of us have mechanisms in place to keep our homes warm during the winter, but not to keep them cool during the summer. Our warmest summer nights can be a bit of a double whammy for our sleep, because we get exposed both to too much heat and too much light. So what can we do?

It’s mostly common sense and Mary Morrell, professor of sleep and respiratory physiology at Imperial College London suggests the following things to help. She recommends using thin cotton sheets, using an electric fan, opening relevant windows that don’t let in noise, cutting out late night tea, coffee and alcohol, and putting up heavier winter-style curtains to reduce the light.

All this will make for a better night’s sleep and of course we know the health benefits of that already.

By John Redfern


Sleep Apnoea and Snoring linked to Obesity

Obesity has long been considered one of the most important risk factors associated with heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea – in particular visceral fat, a type that collects in the abdomen. Visceral fat is found in the abdominal cavity around the body’s organs and is thought of as a key trigger for both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Although both men and women are at risk for OSA, more men than women are diagnosed with the condition, and the associated mortality rates are also considered to be higher in men.

Although Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference were found to be very similar in the men and the women, it was men that had the greater degree by far of visceral fat in their abdomen. In addition, the incidence of OSA was higher in men and the degree of severity much greater. As well as producing higher cholesterol levels, this degree of visceral fat accumulation is associated with low blood-oxygen levels – often resulting in severe OSA.

On the other hand the researchers found no association in women between visceral fat accumulation and obstructive sleep apnoea. The only relationship found was with Body Mass Index – to be expected of course. Other studies have also found links between visceral fat and OSA, as well as the differences between the associated risks to men and women: Researchers at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine studied the relationship between visceral fat and OSA in non-obese men and women. In men, they found visceral fat associated with obstructive sleep apnoea. In women, visceral fat was not associated with OSA. However another type of fat—subcutaneous fat, located just beneath the skin in the abdomen and throughout the body—was associated with sleep apnoea in women.

Key Findings

  • A study of obese men and women found that visceral fat was significantly greater in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea than those without, leading researchers to suggest that visceral fat is an important risk factor for OSA in both men and women who are obese.
  • People with visceral fat accumulations and sleep-disordered breathing were significantly more likely to experience night-time acute coronary syndrome, a serious form of heart disease.
  • There is some good news for obstructive sleep apnoea patients who use therapy to treat their sleep disorder: research has indicated that visceral fat in people with OSA can be significantly reduced with regular, long-term use of the common therapies – either CPAP or the more easily accepted mouthpiece or splint to wear at night.

It’s estimated that about 5% of adults in the United Kingdom suffer from OSA, but the disorder is considered significantly under-diagnosed, particularly among women. Sleep apnoea is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as certain forms of cancer. There is a significant belief showing that people with OSA who snore heavily have greater risk of earlier mortality than those without the sleep disorder, if the disorder is left untreated. There are indications within some research that men are at greater risk for mortality than women, though it’s clear that both men and women with obstructive sleep apnoea face elevated health and mortality risks compared to those without the disorder.

The stakes are high for people with obstructive sleep apnoea: the disorder is profoundly disruptive to sleep and can lead to serious health problems if not identified and treated. Understanding more specifically the health and lifestyle conditions that may increase risks of sleep apnoea can lead to better screening and treatment options. It’s also important to continue to evaluate the ways that risks for men and women may differ, and to create screening criteria and treatment protocols tailored to the needs of each. For both men and women, maintaining a healthy weight, with particular attention to abdominal fitness, is important for good sleep and good health.

By John Redfern


Taking Green to the Mattress: Healthier and More Comfortable Sleep

The all-around benefits of going green aren’t just about saving the environment, but also about a safer, cleaner, and healthier alternative to the many options available in the marketplace. This is especially true as it relates to your mattress, a surface that you’ll spend up to one-third of your life on.

One of the greener alternatives as it relates to mattresses is natural latex foam. For a little bit of background on latex – this mattress material is tapped much like syrup is from the maple tree. In the case of botanical latex liquid, it is drawn from the Para rubber tree. This harvest is done sustainably, leaving the tree to continue growing and producing latex for up to 30 years. And the mattress is nothing short of a delight to sleep on.

Some of the wonderful benefits that all natural latex affords the sleeper are the botanical properties inherent in the Para rubber tree – that is, the end product is a mattress that is antimicrobial. This makes it so the individual needn’t worry about having a mattress that hosts dust mites, a common concern with traditional mattress types. Bed bugs are also extremely uncommon in latex, because there is nowhere for them to flourish and reproduce (the mattress core is solid, instead of open and empty spaces). Further, given that the green latex mattress is hypoallergenic, it is unlike many of the mattresses in the marketplace that are man-made and laced with petrochemicals that can cause allergic reactions and noxious off gassing. You’ll also find all-natural latex to be mold and mildew resistant.

How often have you heard of a mattress lasting longer than 10 years? That’s another advantage of going green in the bedroom – a green mattress can last 20+ years, and is very resilient, not experiencing the sagging or getting depressions in it over time that is common with innerspring mattresses that need to be replaces every 5-7 years.

One of the best things a person can notice with consistent sleep on a surface like natural latex is the pressure-relieving comfort that is given due to the pliable, elastic latex hugging the body’s curves, and giving it the opportunity to have its weight spread out evenly upon the mattress surface. And, it’s also a proven fact that it is much healthier on the spine for it to be in alignment while asleep. This is what makes latex a favorite among chiropractors and orthopedic specialists.

In the end, a mattress is about comfort and support – two things that a botanical latex mattress excels in. With the wonders of technology, the mattress core can be produced more densely to provide adequate support, and another process used to create a surface layer that is softer and pliable, giving the feeling as it were of almost sleeping on a cloud. Going green, saving money (in the long run), being healthier, and supporting the environment with a substance that biodegrades instead of takes up space in a landfill at the end of its useful life – what more could one ask for?

Amber Merton is a writer for PlushBeds, an online vendor of natural latex mattresses and other ecofriendly mattresses, such as their soy-based memory foam sleeper sofa mattress, http://www.plushbeds.com/sofabedmattress.html.


It’s official: Getting a good night’s sleep could save your life.

Sleep is good for the heart as well as the mind, say researchers, and to get seven or more hour’s sleep each night boosts the benefits to the heart of a healthy lifestyle.

The results were conclusive. According to a large and recent European research study into cardiovascular problems, all the traditional advice on exercise, diet, drinking and smoking contributed greatly to the reduction in deaths from heart disease or stroke, but even more lives were saved by also having enough undisturbed sleep – and the elimination of snoring is always regarded as a key stepping stone in this process.

The overwhelmingly strong message from these leading European researchers into Health matters is that seeking sound advice on getting enough sleep could have a substantial impact on public health and make a huge contribution – saving vast amounts of public money on the way.

In theory, many heart and stroke deaths could be prevented or postponed.

The research programme tracked heart disease and strokes in more than 14,000 men and women for more than a decade, and by the end of the study, about 600 individuals on the research panel had suffered heart disease or stroke, and 129 of them had died as a result.

The study found that deaths were much less likely in people who followed all four positive lifestyle recommendations:

  • Taking exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Not smoking

However this research emphatically establishes that combining a good night’s sleep with these other healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of heart disease considerably.

Observing all four behaviours was associated with a 57% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 67% lower risk of dying from stroke or heart disease, they say.  But when sufficient sleep was added to the equation – combining 7/8 hours good sleep with the other four lifestyle factors, the beneficial effect was amplified considerably – resulting in a 65% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 83% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Research studies have previously shown a link between poor sleep and cardiovascular disease, but this is the first time that sleep has been added to the other four healthy lifestyle recommendations, and with outstandingly clear results. This major leap in effectiveness is obviously more easily gained with the elimination of any degree of a snoring problem – the biggest contributor to accepted sleep disorder.

The conclusion:

If all participants adhered to all five healthy lifestyle factors, 36% of composite cardiovascular disease and 57% of fatal cardiovascular disease could theoretically be prevented or postponed.

The expert view:

It is apparent that the public health impact of sufficient sleep, in addition to the traditional healthy lifestyle factors, could be substantial and the benefits of sleep should be considered by public health experts and parents alike.

The main message of the study is that we need to consider sleep as an important factor for health and from a public health point of view we should encourage people to get enough sleep and like all other healthy lifestyle factors this needs to be taught at home.

By John Redfern