Sleep is the Cornerstone to Good Health – So You Must Stop Snoring

Part Two

Getting good quality sleep every night is imperative to both good physical and mental health. It is often said that restful sleep is the glue that keeps us functioning normally as human beings.

In this article, Sleep and Physical Health, I will describe the four specific consequences of sleep and physical health and my accompanying article will deal with four specific consequences of Sleep and Mental Health.

1. Sleep and Memory – Researchers have found that not getting enough sleep distracts the brain from focusing and being able to retain information. According to accepted authorities there are three parts to “making memories” – the acquisition phase, the consolidation phase, and the recall phase. While the acquisition phase and the recall phase happen while we are awake, it is believe that sleep is required for the consolidation phase of forming memories, or in other words, making facts or episodic-type memories stick. So, keeping late hours and “cramming” for a test as a student may not be the best strategy to performing well with recall. Better to make sure that a restful night of sleep is had before that big test.

2. Sleep and Learning – Similar to sleep and memory, it’s very difficult to learn new facts, ideas, or concepts without having first gotten adequate sleep. An interesting study was done with bees to illustrate the lack of ability to learn appropriately when not getting enough sleep. The bees’ sleep was interfered with, which caused them real difficulty in remembering experiences they had learned a day previous. It is widely accepted that this is the same with humans.

3. Sleep and Moods – All of us have experience the temper and bad mood of someone who has “woken up on the wrong side of the bed”. Lack of sleep causes irritability, and disorientation. Not getting enough sleep can cause individuals to become quite emotional. Sleep deprivation is tied to depression as well. In fact, those who are repeatedly awakened during the R.E.M. sleep state can become very angry. Extended periods of sleep deprivation can even cause hallucinations or delusions and even death in extreme cases, when it was used as part of certain types of ‘cross questioning’. It just makes sense that getting enough sleep can mitigate some of the stresses we face on a daily basis, and help to keep emotions and moods on a more even keel.

4. Sleep and Creativity and Imagination – Having good quality sleep on a consistent basis does lend itself to better creativity and imagination. The phrase “sleep on it” is actually very sound advice. During sleep our subconscious can go to work to help us solve problems. Often dreams can provide insight that we hadn’t considered during waking hours. Dreams are often the product of our imaginations, wrapped together with portions of true experience. There is an interesting BBC article covering notable examples of “dream discoveries”. Get your sleep and create something wonderful! Look out for it soon in our March Newsletter – 5 Dream Discoveries.

Some of the reasons for sleep are plain common sense, while others have yet to be discovered. For now though, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night (for adults) is the best recipe for good, sustainable health and longevity.

As we know of course, most disturbed nights are caused by someone snoring – both partners actually having a disturbed night, but for different reasons. This is so easy to prevent and with little cost. A range of NHS approved remedies from SleepPro, such as their high quality but inexpensive mouthpieces will soon solve the problem. They have a record of working well, do it quickly and are a low cost solution that is readily and quickly available without prescription.

However make sure that you keep in touch with your GP or local Clinic because they’ll give you good advice on how to stop snoring and check out if it’s caused you any health problems.
By John Redfern


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Your Quality Of Sleep Decreases As You Get Older

A University in California has discovered links between age and sleep quality, symptoms of ageing also include brain atrophy and memory problems.

After studying the brain in both younger and older subjects, researchers discovered that as the brain deteriorates so does your quality of sleep.

Researchers in the University examined 18 adults around their late teens and early twenties, as well as a separate group of subjects over the age of 70.

The subjects were required to remember specific word pairings after they’d slept in order to examine memory, unsurprisingly the younger subjects were able to recollect more results than the older subjects, 55% more in fact.

Researches linked the deterioration of the frontal lobe (responsible for memory) to the decrease in sleep quality.

There are many factors that contribute to this decline in sleep quality, including snoring.

Studies have shown that we become more likely to snore as we get older. This is due to the softening of tissue around the throat and nasal passages, we also become more likely to become overweight as we age too, which is another contributing factor.

One thing we can all do to maintain sleep quality as we age is to prevent snoring, the obvious side-effects of snoring include regularly disturbing your partner but it also decreases the amount of rest the snorer will get as they sleep.

This is important information to bear in mind for those who are middle aged or elderly, cutting out the snoring could drastically improve overall sleep quality!

By Richard Owen


February Is The Worst Month For Sleep!

If you’re feeling that little bit more tired this morning, you’re definitely not alone. A British Sleep Survey found that it takes on average eight minutes longer to fall asleep in February.

It’s pretty simple really, darker days, longer nights and central heating in homes throughout the UK make sleeping that little bit more difficult.

The sun rises much later in the winter months than in July or August for example, so it’s normal to feel like your bed has a particularly strong hold on you this month. After all who would want to leave the comfort of their beds to face the snow, rain and wind we’ve faced recently.

Luckily we’ve put together some useful tips to help getting to sleep that little bit easier this gruelling month.

Good Sleeping Habits

These are some simple tips that’ll help you drift off.

  • A cool, dark place is crucial for your sleeping pattern, you should think of your bedroom as your relief from work, stress and noise.
  • Turn the temperature down; We don’t expect you to sleep in the garden but the central heating should definitely be switched off, waking up with a sweat is definitely not going to help your sleeping pattern, it’ll help you save money on your energy bills too.
  • Leave the iPad/iPhones in the living room; Technology can provide an unnecessary distraction, you don’t want to be checking Twitter in the early hours of the morning.
  • Wind down: An hour before bed, you should be in a relaxed frame of mind, Television, Video Games and late night work are definitely a no, reading and having a bath will certainly help!
  • Cut the Caffeine: The caffeine in a cup of coffee can stay in your system for as much as nine hours! So keep the espresso for the mornings.
  • Stop the Snoring: Snoring will not only keep your partner awake, it’ll disrupt your sleep cycle too, snoring decreases your overall quality of sleep, so look to prevent that horrible noise as soon as possible!

By Richard Owen


This Valentine's Day, Cut Out Snoring, Win a Onesie!

If you’re pondering over the best gift to give your better half this year, SleepPro can certainly help you out. Chocolates are dated, roses are definitely a cliché, why not give your partner the greatest gift of all, night after night of silent, restful sleep.

So whether you’re sorting out your own snoring problems or finally getting your partner to cut the noise, SleepPro should be your choice this Valentine’s Day.

And to celebrate our campaign to cut out snoring this month we’re offering you a chance to win a set of his-and-hers Onesies.

So listen up!

All you have to do is…

It’s pretty simple really, if you want to be entered in to our Prize Draw visit one of our pages.

Onesies are becoming increasingly popular, there’s no better way to dress in the comfort of your own home, at a festival, or if you’re brave enough wear one at work, it’ll definitely get you noticed around the office.

By Richard Owen


Is Snoring as Bad as Smoking for your Heart?

For many people snoring is considered nothing more than a pesky bedroom annoyance, it may cause you to sleep apart or spend the night wide awake shaking and elbowing your partner to stop the noise.

Snoring is generally considered as a “cosmetic” problem, often the source of humour. However a new study performed by a Hospital in Michigan, USA, reiterates the fact that snoring is actually indicative of greater health issues.

Snoring may actually be the initial sign of cardiovascular problems and that should be treated in the same regard as smoking as far as your cardiovascular health is concerned. Sleep Apnea is considered to pose the same difficulties to your heart, the closing of the airways and the periodic lack of oxygen to the brain has negative effects on the health of your heart.

Not all snorers have sleep apnea but both issues may cause trauma to your carotid arteries.

The aforementioned study analysed data from as much as 913 patients, from teenagers to fifty year olds. These patients were snorers between the years of 2006 and 2012 but weren’t Sleep Apnea sufferers, they undertook ultrasound tests that could measure the thickness of their carotid arteries. The thickness of these inner layers of the arteries were found to be thicker than those who didn’t snore.

These findings were actually similar to those found in sufferers of diabetes and worryingly, smokers too.

So just as we all encourage smokers to cut out their unhealthy habit, isn’t it time we start encouraging snorers to cut it out too?

By Richard Owen


Why you should avoid a nightcap before bed, it’ll increase your chances of snoring!

Why you should avoid a nightcap before bed, it’ll increase your chances of snoring!

It’s widely believed that an alcoholic drink before you sleep will help you relax, but it’s been known to disrupt sleep and increase your likelihood to snore. Scientists at the London Sleep Centre found that alcohol acts as a sedative, it may help you drift off but it’ll also disrupt your regular sleep cycle.

Those who go to sleep under the influence of alcohol will feel as though they’ve been in a deep slumber but they’ve actually deprived themselves of the type of sleep that leaves you feeling well rested; REM Sleep.

Many people have become reliant on alcoholic drinks to help them drift off to sleep, but in a way you’re cheating yourself out of effective, restful sleep.

What is REM sleep?

REM is the abbreviation for Rapid Eye Movement; this is the deepest stage of your sleep where you’re most likely to dream and more likely to get the real rest that helps your body recover for the next day.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea have been known to disrupt this sleep cycle and will therefore reduce the overall quality of your sleep. This makes snoring a real problem for many people around the world.

How does Alcohol affect Snoring?

Research has shown that even if you weren’t a habitual snorer, booze can turn non-snorers in to snorers and more worryingly it can even increase your likelihood to suffer Sleep Apnea. Consuming Alcohol increases the chances of vibration in your vocal chords as a result.

A lesson to be learned

So what does this teach us? Well if you’ve got a big day planned in the morning it’s a good idea to leave the nightcap alone, it may take you a while longer to sleep without a drink, but you’ll feel much more refreshed in the morning.

By Richard Owen


SNORERS ARE MORE AT RISK OF HEART ATTACK THAN SMOKERS OR THE OBESE

• STOP PRESS •

A major study has found that moderate snorers were at 4.8 times greater risk of death from heart attacks and far from just being an inconvenience, amusing, or a nuisance, snoring could be the important early warning of serious life-threatening health problems.

The research study from the USA, where they lead the world in research on sleep disorders, conclusively shows that snoring can cause a thickening of the arteries; a condition that leads on to brain haemorrhages, strokes and heart attacks. It very clearly showed that Snorers are more likely to have thickening or abnormalities in the carotid artery that supplies the brain with oxygenated blood.

Around a quarter of women and four in ten men are frequent snorers, although nearly half of us snore occasionally. Though it can interfere with our sleep – and that of our partners – it was not thought to cause any long-term health problems until recently.

American researchers claim the condition is as serious as having high blood pressure and urge snorers to seek medical advice.

After filling in detailed questionnaires about their snoring habits they were then given ultrasound scans to look at the thickness of their carotid artery and the evidence was conclusive. It was found that the inner layers of the artery walls were far thicker among the snorers than the other adults. It is thought that the thickening of the artery may be caused by the constant vibrations of the snoring which results in inflammation.

Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who led the research said: ‘Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected. Their recommendation is as follows:
‘Instead of kicking your snoring bed partner out of the room or spending sleepless nights elbowing them, seek out medical treatment for the snorer.

We are hoping to change the thinking so patients can get the early treatment they need, before more serious health issues arise. Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored.’

By John Redfern


Part Three: Do you Snore?

New ‘cures’ for those who suffer from sleep apnea or are heavy snorers.

The third and final part of this feature examines more recent developments in the treatment of heavy snoring and sleep apnea.

You can have your tongue stitched to the base of your mouth.
This new approach, on trial at Westside Ear Nose and Throat Clinic in New York, involves ‘tying’ the tongue to the base of the mouth so that it cannot fall back and is primarily for sleep apnea sufferers and heavy snorers.

stop snoring devices

 

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that would normally hold the airways open relax during sleep — as a result, the base of the tongue and other soft tissue collapse. It’s the vibration of this tissue as air passes over it that causes the characteristic sound of snoring.

In some cases the airways can close completely — the patient then stops breathing for several seconds before the brain steps in to get things working again. However, this can lead to a patient briefly waking up to 100 times a night. If left untreated, sleep apnea is linked to daytime sleepiness, hypertension, depression, coronary artery disease and stroke. Current treatments range from lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and losing excess weight, to surgery.

The most common treatment for moderate to severe cases is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This is a mask worn over the mouth and nose that gently blows air into the throat to keep the airways open while the patient sleeps and a number of patients find the mask hard to use.

Another option is surgery. Surgeons move a section of the lower jaw forward, which pulls the muscle attached to the tongue and prevents it from flopping back. Potential complications include jaw bone fracture or broken teeth.

In this experimental surgery, a tiny hole is drilled into the lower jaw bone at the base of the chin — a very thin needle is then threaded through into the back of the tongue. The needle contains a special type of surgical tape that has a number of tiny plastic cones threaded along it, like beads on a string. Not only do these cones anchor the thread in the tissue, but they trigger tissue to grow in and around them.  The cones slowly dissolve over a period of three months, but this new tissue helps provide permanent anchor points for the tongue, preventing it moving out of place. Once it’s been stitched in place, the thread is gently pulled to anchor the back of thetongue to the base of the mouth.

Because this is deep in the tissue, it won’t interfere with talking or chewing. However,the anchoring is still strong enough to prevent the tongue from flopping back at night and blocking the airway.

‘The purpose of surgery is to eliminate the need for a continuous positive airway pressure device,’ say the researchers. ‘People who undergo this procedure will have a significant drop in the rate of breathing pauses at night. By lowering the apnoea rate, most patients wake up much more refreshed and have more energy during the day. It will also lower your risk factors for heart disease in the future.’ Commenting on the new procedure, Andrew McCombe, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, said: ‘It should work, but as ever it is very important that patients are thoroughly and carefully assessed to make sure it is the right people who get the treatment because it won’t work for everyone’.

Verdict: ‘This is going to work best for those where a big tongue, or specifically tongue base, is the cause of the problem. A full and thorough upper airway assessment is required to identify the exact nature of the problem so as to make sure the right treatment is provided. People whose snoring or apnoea is caused, for example, by nasal obstruction, large tonsils or laryngeal tumours may not benefit from the surgery.’

Have they got your number on this cure? 

In another development, the vibration technology found in mobile phones is being used to combat sleep apnoea and chronic snoring.

Scientists have devised a small ring-shaped device, about the size of a 10p piece, which is attached to the back of the neck and vibrates whenever the wearer turns onto their back.

The device contains a pressure sensor that triggers the alarm ten seconds after a person lies on their back. It vibrates with gradually increasing strength until the wearer changes position.

In a clinical trial at St Lucas Andreas University Hospital, Amsterdam, 30 patients wore the device for a year. As yet there has been little further development or news of this method.

Verdict: Don’t ring us, we’ll ring you…..

By John Redfern


Do you Snore? Part Two…further exposés of new ‘cures’ for snoring.

The second part of this feature examines further new and supposedly effective treatments of heavy snoring and sleep apnoea.

Sound Sensor and Microphone
This consists of a plastic pressure sensor fixed to the top lip before sleep. This is stuck on with an adhesive strip, like a plaster, and secured in place with a piece of elastic that runs around the back of the head. The sensor measures air pressure as the patient exhales — a drop in pressure is a sign the patient is about to stop breathing. The sensor is connected to an iPod-sized control box, which constantly analyses the information it receives.

When it detects the patient is about to suffer an apnoea, it sends a short burst of sound to the earpiece. The device can emit hundreds of different sounds, and runs through them until it finds one that has the desired effect — a rise in air pressure that means the patient is exhaling and that the apnoea has been stopped. The signal is designed not to wake the patient, but instead to slightly ‘startle’ the brain, rousing it enough for it to tighten the muscles surrounding the windpipe.

Verdict: Currently on test on 125 US patients with UK trials due for 2013 but no confirmation of results as yet. The Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough, says: ‘It is an interesting idea but many more trials are needed to see how well it works. Likely Cost: £400+.

Radiotherapy of the Soft Palate
One of the most common causes of snoring of course is having a soft palate and often surgery is recommended under a general anaesthetic to trim this back in a procedure called UPPP. I’ll miss out the mile long full title which reads like the name of that famous Welsh Railway station that no-one can pronounce but starts with Llan…..and ends in ‘gogogoch’. This operation is a last resort usually, and involves keeping the patient in hospital for a period of three or four days after the operation followed by a period of intense pain for anything up to two weeks.

As an alternative to this a new procedure has been trialled in Darlington and involves the use of RPS – Radiofrequency Palatal Stiffening. This has a price tag of about £1.500, which is a good £2,000 less than the previously described procedure of UPPP. But will it last? As yet there is no evidence one way or the other – very few procedures have taken place and they are recent, with no longer term assessments currently being available. That sort of proof will obviously be some years in coming.

Verdict: Quite expensive, moderately untested, and again, time will tell.

The £3 Anti-Snoring Jab is here
At that price we start to say to ourselves “Surely it can’t possibly be any good because it’s so cheap.”

A pretty normal reaction to anything that has a price point that seems to undermine its value – after all, a bottle of Cough Linctus will cost you more. The claim is that it takes two minutes and costs just £3, but its effects could be priceless for the partners of loud snorers. It involves injecting a chemical ‘stiffener’ called Sodium Tetradecyl directly into the roof of the mouth. This hardening agent, once activated, stops the movement of the soft tissue at the back of the mouth and prevents it from vibrating.
So far, there have been just a couple of hundred patients who have undergone this procedure, and all in Liverpool, where its chief (and only) proponent, Dr Hadi Al-Jassim, operates as a private ENT specialist. He has now concluded a series of talks around the country promoting this route as an alternative to the previously described painful, and expensive surgery.
When reviewed recently in the Daily mail his comments were “’Surgical treatment is very painful and takes weeks of recovery time so many patients decide not to do it because they can’t get the time off work or their health’s not strong enough for surgery.
‘After this jab, patients can probably go home straight away and eat about an hour later. It will probably help around 70 per cent of people who have suffered from heavy snoring and it has made life easier for many patients and their partners.
Even with those people it hasn’t cured, they reported sleeping better and waking up feeling fresher. The jab can be given three times a year but some people find one injection lasts them a year.

Verdict: As yet again, there are no longer-term studies or reports tracking the possible side effects or problems – it’s far too early for that. But it’s cheap perhaps suspiciously so to many – and the long term benefit is an unknown quantity – again it’s time will tell.

Overall Verdict: It’s probably wisest where your health is concerned to stay with the tried and tested – and a product tested for a long time too.