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,

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

New DVLA report blames Sleep Apnoea for 20% of Motorway accidents

Further to similar statements by Government Motoring Departments in other countries such as the USA, the DVLA in Britain has made a statement that a greater awareness of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) could save lives.

Surprisingly, very few of the major UK media sources have picked up on either the report or the story, with the exception of The Telegraph, and some publications in the specialist commercial motoring press like Fleet News.

Further to a new guide to the condition, the DVLA have underlined the fact that OSA is thought to cause as many as one-fifth of accidents on Britain’s motorways, and as a consequence needs greater recognition amongst all drivers, particularly commercial, as this increased knowledge and higher awareness could doubtless save lives.

Sleep apnoea recently has been closely linked to a number of fatal driving incidents involving commercial vehicles, including the death of a Newcastle pensioner who was hit by a bus and killed in 2011 after the driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel. The bus driver was later diagnosed with OSA.

Drivers of commercial vehicles are thought to be particularly likely to develop this highly dangerous and life-disrupting sleep disorder as it has been found to have a much higher likelihood of being found amongst middle-aged men with sedentary jobs such as driving.

As a consequence the DVLA has produced a document highlighting the key facts around driving and obstructive sleep apnoea which is targeted at all drivers but especially those handling HGV vehicles. The report was developed on behalf of the DVLA and group of specialist OSA experts, and it has taken into account input not only from clinicians, but also from leading members of the haulage industry.

Professor John Stradling, a participant, and spokesman for one of the UK’s leading Sleep Clinics made the following statement this week: “It is vital that we do not push the problem underground by making it difficult for commercial drivers to admit that they have symptoms. We have worked closely with the DVLA to agree a consistent process that highlights the importance and the longer term benefits of seeking treatment quickly.”

However, OSA can be treated very quickly, and very easily, and when the main symptoms such as snoring are controlled, quality of life can be improved. However, if it is left untreated, sleep apnoea is likely to impact on a person’s general health and is known to reduce life expectancy.

The biggest worry in seeking treatment is that commercial drivers have fears about losing their licence, and as a consequence their job, but this may not be something that necessarily is a result if help is sought quickly.

The Head of Policy for the DVLA has made the following official statement:

“We understand from talking to our members that many drivers have concerns about seeking medical advice for fear of losing their licence. However this document provides answers to many questions about OSA and also offers advice on how to access treatment as quickly as possible.”

The DVLA stress that safety is their key concern – both for drivers and others – and their main objective is to encourage drivers to come forward straight away if they are experiencing any of the key symptoms such as heavy snoring coupled with regular pauses in their breathing during sleep.

The DVLA emphasises that once drivers are receiving treatment, and the main symptoms are brought under control, driving can be resumed without jeopardizing the life and safety of themselves and other road users.

The conclusion is to seek professional help quickly from experts and to preferably consult with your Dentist – or your GP. There are simple proven appliances readily available that are NHS Approved . These items include easy-to-use products such as mouthpieces and chin straps to wear whilst asleep. These are readily available and will rapidly eliminate the symptoms.

For further Government advice and information use this link OSA and Driving where you can download the new DVLA leaflet ‘Tiredness can Kill’.

By John Redfern

Do you suffer from sleep apnoea? If so – your Dentist is the key

Snoring cannot only be an embarrassing problem for some people but it’s also a medical condition that one should get rid of as fast as possible.

Today, there are a host of devices, treatments, solutions and products that are available in the market, but sadly not all of them are effective enough to bring a permanent solution to a problem which can also vary greatly in intensity – with obstructive sleep apnoea perhaps being the worst type that has been identified.

One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnoea is very heavy snoring. The simple dictionary definition of the word apnoea is that it is ‘a temporary cessation of breathing during sleep’, the term originating from ‘apnoia’, the Ancient Greek word for breathless.

As we all know well, it is vitally important to get a solid night of sound sleep; in fact, so important that a person’s overall health and their ability to function effectively during the day depend on it very much indeed. However, when our normal breathing patterns are badly disrupted during sleep, it’s not unusual for a person’s health to deteriorate alongside this.

Although today the problem of snoring is very easily solved for many people, as previously stated, in some extreme cases it can also be a sign of a much more serious medical condition known as sleep apnoea, a disorder that causes a person to actually stop breathing during their sleep.

One of the main indicators of sleep apnoea is that there will be a frequent incidence of abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep, and these can be quite frightening to an observer as each one can last for several seconds. They will happen throughout the night and be repeated many times. These episodes of apnoea are caused by a blockage, in some form or other that occurs within the airway, and this impedes the natural flow of breathing. This is often the fault of relaxed tissue in the throat that causes the airway to be closed – not a blockage by some foreign object that makes this happen.

If you are a loud, habitual snorer, and are perhaps aware of this type of incident through being told by your partner, then you should act to resolve the problem – and not delay. You should get professional help because it will not go away on it’s own. There are easy solutions available.

One main treatment for sleep apnoea is known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in which the patient is fitted with a device that keeps the airways open during sleep. It’s been proved already that CPAP can reduce the levels of daytime sleepiness and a study from the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital in the UK now shows that CPAP also has a beneficial effect on high blood pressure or hypertension.

But it’s often not popular with sleep apnoea sufferers and that can be a problem. Not only has it been found to deter many sufferers from seeking treatment, but also amongst those who have – many have tried and rejected it for a variety of reasons.

A solution to this resistance is seen to be emerging – particularly in the USA where sleep apnoea has long been seen as a really serious health problem – with the well-earned and appropriate nickname of ‘The Silent Killer’.

The trend has been set by the leading Dental Practices in the USA and it has been found to be a successful solution with many of their patients who suffer from this major and dangerous sleep disorder.

The solution is proving to be the Custom snoring mouthpiece as OSA sufferers simply accept it far more readily – and although not the ultimate in OSA treatment, which is always regarded as CPAP, this makes for a sensible alternative. After all – without it – you will remain totally untreated.

The following statement is by a leading Chicago Dental Practitioner but his point of view is widely voiced and accepted throughout the USA and Canada – and is now being followed and recommended as a treatment and solution by some leading UK Dental Practices.

“If you or a family member is aware of a snoring problem, a custom snore guard can be made to help reduce or eliminate snoring woes”.

“They resemble an athletic mouth guard, worn by many sportsmen, which is a small oral appliance 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 members of your household.”

A few minutes time with your Dentist will set you on the way to safeguard your health and eliminate many of your possible future problems.

Many sleep apnoea patients go undiagnosed – thought to be as many as 80%. OSA is well known to be closely related to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and even possibly some forms of Cancer. Recent research has also shown close links to Alzheimer’s disease.

Discuss a Custom Mouthpiece with your Dentist. They are readily and quickly available from specialists such as SleepPro, via your Dentist, who can quickly organize an efficient, comfortable, well-fitted mouthpiece for you. It’s a very simple, inexpensive, and known effective solution to your sleep disorder and what may eventually prove to be a highly dangerous health problem.

By John Redfern

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Increases Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

In a recently published study, the sleeping habits of 10,701 people were studied for 5.3 years to see if there were any incidences of sudden cardiac deaths. Most of the over millions people who suffer from this disorder are undiagnosed.

During the course of the study, 142 participants died of sudden cardiac death. Most of these participants were aged 60 years and above, and had 20 or more apnoea episodes per hour of sleep. They also had oxygen saturation below 78 per cent during sleep.

Researchers of the study found that the risk of sudden death increases by double for people with sleep apnoea.

The authors of the study released a press report wherein they stated that when people breath properly during their sleep; their oxygen saturation level is 100 per cent. If due to improper breathing while sleeping, this oxygen saturation level goes below 78 per cent, the risk of sudden cardiac death increases significantly. They also revealed that people with sleep apnoea usually die from sudden cardiac arrests between midnight and six-o-clock in the morning while people without sleep apnoea mostly die of sudden cardiac arrests between six-o-clock in the morning and noon.

Sleep apnoea has also been linked with other cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, and atrial fibrillation. In its most severe form it can be treated by losing weight, implementing sleep posture changes and using devices that deliver air pressure through a mask placed over the nose while a person sleeps.

Latterly, due to the severe dislike of these breathing masks and machines, many specialists have been recommending the more readily acceptable oral mouthpiece as a useful solution – they are easier to use, instant, and highly affordable. The recommendation though is for the custom version as opposed to the off the shelf version.

Sleep apnoea is a sleeping disorder that can affect anyone. Recently it has received much attention. Nonetheless many people who have sleep apnoea have yet to have the “who me” moment. The reason the moment is so elusive for so many is that they don’t have a strong feeling that they have any problems sleeping. In some ways it’s like high blood pressure. You can have a serious problem, but be completely unaware of it until you have your blood pressure checked.

Who are most often affected by sleep apnoea?

People with sleep apnoea are most likely to be: men, overweight, over 60 years, those who consume alcohol or take sleep medicines, smoke, or have chronic rhinitis. Of course having combinations just makes it more likely.

Sleep apnoea is a sleeping disorder that can affect anyone. Recently it has received much attention. Nonetheless many people who have sleep apnoea have yet to have the “who me” moment. The reason the moment is so elusive for so many is that they don’t have a strong feeling that they have any problems sleeping. In some ways it’s like high blood pressure. You can have a serious problem, but be completely unaware of it until you have your blood pressure checked. By the way, when WAS the last time you checked your blood pressure?

In most cases, except for the tell-tale symptoms, which I will mention momentarily, the only way you might know you have sleep apnoea is if someone has complained that you snore like a Saturn 5. In many cases the person sleeps through the apnoea event without waking up or sensing that anything is out of the ordinary.

How can I tell if I have sleep apnoea?

There are two types of sleep apnoea, obstructive and central but the most common by far is obstructive.

The most common symptom is daytime sleepiness. As humans, we have very complex sleep cycles, and these cycles must run uninterrupted for you to be fully rested and refreshed. Sleep apnoea interrupts these cycles everywhere from 5 to 30 times per hour, which can turn 7 hours of sleep into just 1 or 2 hours of effective sleep, and this makes you feel tired and sleepy while you’re awake.

The next most likely symptom, aside from someone telling you that you snore horribly, is waking up with a dry mouth or slightly sore throat. This symptom indicates you were breathing through your mouth most of the night.

What causes obstructive sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea occurs most often when a person is sleeping on their back. It occurs because when you are in that position, and as the muscles of the throat relax, the passageway for airflow begins to collapse. The diaphragm continues to contract but there is no airflow into the lungs. During exhalation what air is in the lungs is exhaled normally and during the next inhalation the collapse happens again. Eventually, a shortage of oxygen causes you to move slightly or turn your head, the muscle tone of the throat returns briefly and you breathe normally for several breaths. Then it happens all over again.

Through slight adjustment of your jaw, the mouthpiece mentioned previously helps to keep your airways open during sleep and prevents the apnoea.

Is it really a big deal?

YES Number 1

A study published on June 11, 2013, in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, found that in people (mean age = 53 years) with severe sleep apnoea, i.e. occurring more than 20 times per hour, there was a 60% increase in the risk of sudden cardiac death during sleep. In people with more than 20 episodes per hour, there was an 81% increase in risk, compared to those without apnoea.

YES Number 2

In a presentation given at the May, 2013 American Thoracic Society 2013 International Conference, a link was established between sleep apnoea and Alzheimer’s disease. It was noted that Alzheimer’s disease improved once treatment for sleep apnoea began and it may be that treatment for sleep apnoea might evolve into a form of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

YES Number 3

Sleep apnoea has also been associated with increased risk for hypertension, diabetes, and liver dysfunction.
So spread the word. Sleep apnoea, although it is destructive to your health, should not be neglected because it is very easily treatable.

By John Redfern