How your sleeping position affects your health – and snoring.

There are no two ways about it. Sleep is crucial for your health. It bolsters your immune system so you can fight off illness and gives your body a chance to repair and reset. The subconscious mind relaxes, and it helps to keep weight in check. Adequate sleep is linked to many benefits, including better memory, curbing inflammation, and even a happy marriage.

Sleep positions

Since we sleep, or try to sleep, for a third of our lives, it’s going to have a significant impact on our day-to-day. In a recent survey in Britain on sleep positions, people responded to questions about their sleep habits.

Sleeping position #1: On your back

Sleeping on your back is the best position to get proper rest. It maintains the back, neck and spine in a neutral position, making it better for your body’s alignment, especially if you’re prone to back pain, stiffness or problems. The back position is also good for circulation and preventing acid reflux. When the head is elevated by the pillow your stomach sits below your oesophagus so acid or food can’t come back up.

The back-sleeper also has the advantage when it comes to wrinkle prevention, simply because nothing is pushing against your face during the night, creating those dents and creases.

The back position with both arms straight was the first choice for best sleep position for just 8% of those studied. However, the back is not best for those with a tendency to snore as the base of the tongue falls to the back wall of the throat, which causes a vibrating sound as you breathe.

Sleeping position #2: On your side

Side sleeping reduces snoring. Next to the back, sleeping in this position is good for your overall health and lets you spoon with your partner as you drift off gently. Even better, if you sleep on your left side, it helps to ease heartburn and acid reflux. Also, sleeping on your left side is the best position during pregnancy; it boosts circulation to the heart, so it’s also a boost for the baby. Pregnant women should not sleep on their back because of the extra pressure and weight this puts on the spine.

Sleeping beauties beware; side sleeping is not good for facial wrinkles, since half of your face is pushed into your pillow. It was the favourite for 26%.

Sleeping position #3: Curled into foetal position

Retreating into the foetal position, with your knees pulled up high and your chin tucked into your chest may seem like the ultimate security blanket, but it’s not so good for your health. It restricts your deep diaphragmatic breathing and puts pressure on your organs, not to mention your spine. People with an arthritic back or joints will feel more irritation, but straightening out a little can help make this position work better for you. In the foetal position, face wrinkles will be aggravated, although snoring could improve.

In the survey of sleep habits, “foetal” was the most popular among both men and women, with 41% choosing it as their favourite.

Sleeping position #4: On your stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is bad for your spine although 25% sleep this way. Twisting the neck and face sideways all night on the pillow causes aches and pains and other discomfort. It puts pressure on muscles and joints that can snowball by irritating nerves, resulting in numbness and tingling.

Facedown keeps your upper airways more open. So if you snore and aren’t suffering from neck or back pain, it’s fine to try sleeping in this position.

Sleeping solo for relationship harmony

It’s widely accepted that sleeping in separate beds can be great for a relationship because both partners experience a better night’s rest and won’t be disturbed by frequent movement, noise, or pulling of the bedding.

Sleep researchers say that 30 to 40% of couples sleep in separate beds, although they may not broadcast it to their friends. Studies show that people tend to be more short-tempered with their spouse, taking out their sleep-deprived frustration on their nearest and dearest. They’re more tired, more selfish, and less able to put in the work to make a relationship go well.

Sleep is important, and it leads to better health and marriage harmony.

John Redfern


Is a Chin Strap the right Stop Snoring solution for you?

A recent study that polled over 2,000 people found that most people sleep for about 6-7 hours, but this is still far below the recommended quota of eight hours per night. As a result, one in six people polled admitted to feeling tired for more than three hours a day making them less productive at work – and much of this was due to disturbed sleep due to snoring, for which there are recommended medical solutions, including the Chin Strap.
SleepPro-Chin-Strap

A snoring chin support strap works on a very simple proposition. The fabric device fits comfortably around the wearer’s face and head to cup the chin with straps running up to the top of the head. Doing so keeps the lower jaw positioned comfortably forward where it won’t constrict the airway.

The result is that the chin support strap should provide not only an end to snoring, but also it should increase the deep undisturbed rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep that the body needs most.

It’s a very simply constructed item that is simple to use, easy to keep clean with washing by hand or by machine, and because it’s very compact, it makes it possible to store it away and also to take it on your business or holiday travels. The price of a chin support strap makes it possible and sensible to own more than one, something that most people do.

Whether a chin strap for snoring the sleeper’s condition depends almost entirely on what causes the problem. Some devices have been proven effective in helping both nasal and mouth-snorers sleep more soundly by maintaining open airways that provide the body with ample oxygen. As is obvious by its design, a snoring chin strap is specifically built to aid mouth-snorers. If your lower jaw isn’t the culprit, a chin strap won’t be much help.

While you sleep, a stop snoring chin strap manages to control what you can’t. Among back-sleepers in particular, the lower jaw relaxes back and causes the relaxed soft palate tissue to allow the tongue to fall back into the throat. By keeping your mouth closed and the jaw in a natural forward position, the tongue stays put even as muscles relax.

Anti-snoring chin straps are incredibly easy to use and can be simple, effective remedies to night after night of disturbed sleep. However, there ais one particular instance in which a chin strap should not be used. Make sure that your snoring does not have the additional dangerous symptoms that come with obstructive sleep apnoea.

  • Chin straps for snoring can also be dangerous to snorers with severe nasal congestion by limiting oxygen intake through the mouth.
  • Many users complain of an especially tight fit resulting in headaches – so make sure that the one you buy is adjustable.
  • Devices sometimes don’t stay in place all night long, despite them stretching across the face and head. Restless sleepers may see disappointing results if it can’t be kept in position all night long.

If you snore heavily you need to consider the possibility that your snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnea. This condition causes repeated nightly breathing interruptions due to the lower jaw and/or tongue repeatedly blocking the airway causing breathing to briefly cease. This condition, unless treated properly, can lead to serious health conditions including stroke. heart attack, and diabetes amongst many other things. It’s not difficult to understand that if you cut off the oxygen supply to the brain then health problems of this type are sure to develop.

Bespoke mouthpieces such as SleepPro Custom are available for mild to moderate sufferers, and these control and prevent the problem, but chronic sufferers will need to use some specialist overnight breathing equipment called CPAP where they will use a facemask to force the airflow and to keep it open.

If you do decide to use a chin strap as your stop snoring option, and find that it works for you, make sure that you always choose a product with a broader sling-like support for the chin, as the wider straps tend to hold it reliably in position even in the midst of tossing and turning.  You should also ensure that it adjusts easily – not only for efficiency but also for your comfort.

After that it’s simple. Sleep Well.

John Redfern

 


Sleep apnoea proved to cause major heart problems in women

The night-time breathing disturbance which is known as sleep apnoea can significantly boost a woman’s risk for heart problems, and even result in their death, but there was no similarly boosted effect for men, a new study finds.

close up woman having chest pain breast pain

The study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect. However, it was found that women with moderate to severe sleep apnoea had more than a 30% higher risk of heart problems than women without sleep apnoea. The study found no significant link between sleep apnoea and any kind of heart problems in men although other studies have done.

The researchers also found that, compared to women without sleep apnoea, women with this dangerous disorder had higher blood levels of troponin, a chemical signal of early heart damage.

The findings suggest that older women may be at greater risk for sleep apnoea-related heart disease than men, and all the experts have agreed that the findings are a wake-up call to spot and treat sleep apnoea in women as early as possible.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a common sleep disorder characterized by heavy snoring, airway blockage during sleep and daytime sleepiness, but today it can be easily treated without prolonged medical check ups, by simply using medically approved oral appliances. These are available from specialist companies that will supply you direct with no prescription needed.

While sleep apnoea is often thought of as a disease most common in men, these results highlight the importance of recognizing sleep apnoea symptoms in women, particularly in those who are post-menopause, in whom the incidence of sleep apnoea increases,” he said.

Medical experts advise that women who report symptoms of sleep apnoea that include snoring, gasping at night, bed partner’s observation of ‘stopping breathing,’ morning headaches, non-refreshing sleep or daytime sleepiness should immediately take steps to control and prevent this. They can do this by making use of an oral appliance or mouthpiece to wear at night – and preferably one that is medically approved and custom fits so is specially designed for the task.

Being overweight will increase the likelihood of sleep apnoea occurring, so some accompanying weight loss, and an avoidance of alcohol in the evening will assist greatly.

If sleep apnoea is allowed to develop, extremely serious cases may require CPAP treatment, using an overnight supply of oxygen through a facemask.

The link between sleep disordered breathing and stroke only came to light in the 1990s. Sleep apnoea is commonly found in individuals after experiencing a stroke. Between 1996 and 2010 over 20 different studies showed a clear association between stroke and SDB.

More recent findings uncovered that obstructive sleep apnoea is found within 50% of stroke sufferers. Furthermore, having obstructive sleep apnoea will definitely increase the risk of stroke, dependent on other associated factors, including smoking, obesity and diabetes.

Dr. Sean Pinney is the Director of Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Program at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. He believes that these new findings should “help us more fully understand the mechanisms underlying heart failure.” The fact that women’s hearts seem more affected by sleep apnoea is “very compelling,” Pinney added.

The study was published this month in the journal Circulation. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute supported the research, along with a further grant from the American Heart Association.

John Redfern


Snoring and sleep apnoea proved to be a cause of diabetes

A newly published research study that has concluded that Seniors with night-time breathing issues like snoring or sleep apnoea often have high blood sugar, and they may be almost twice as likely as sound sleepers to develop type 2 diabetes.

Depositphotos_1608680_sleeppro

This extensive and highly accurate study produced findings from some 6,000 U.S. adults who were followed for up to 10 years. The highly conclusive results suggest that doctors may now want to monitor blood sugar in older patients with sleep-disordered breathing much more closely, according to the lead researchers involved at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston.

“Recent evidence suggests that diabetes patients have a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances than the general population,” lead author Linn Beate Strand stated. “However, less is known about whether symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later, especially in older adults,”

Sleep apnoea involves frequent episodes during sleep when the airway closes and people stop breathing entirely. Often breathing resumes abruptly with a loud snort or choking sound, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. These repeated breathing interruptions, which can occur up to 30 times per hour, have been linked to daytime sleepiness and increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, diabetes and incidences of sudden death.

Awareness of sleep apnoea all countries is at an all-time peak. Awareness is being raised regularly by both the public media and by social media. Potential sufferers, understandably, are becoming increasingly more concerned about the blockage of oxygen to the brain and other organs, and many more people are recognizing that they have the symptoms and are raising the subject with Sleep Centres or their doctors.

Many more have taken the highly sensible first step of equipping themselves with an oral appliance to treat the problem, as recommended by the NHS, who approve certain tested appliances and issue them to more severely affected patients. The mouthpiece is similar to a typical sports gum shield and is worn at night when sleeping. It usually has an immediate effect and snoring stops overnight in most cases and in the case of sleep apnoea, the more advanced bespoke versions will prevent the main danger involved, which is the regular deprivation of oxygen to the brain.

More and more people are suffering from the dangers caused by both snoring and sleep apnoea, and this is primarily because of lifestyle issues, but mostly due to excessive weight as this will narrow the throat as well as causing the muscles to weaken.

Most previous studies on sleep disorders and diabetes have focused on young or middle-aged adults, the researchers point out in the journal Diabetes Care, but, it is now apparent that sleep apnoea and snoring become more common with age, and needs earlier treatment.

The research found that people with sleep apnoea were nearly twice as likely as normal sleepers to develop diabetes, and that snorers were 27 per cent more likely. Those with daytime sleepiness were also about 50 per cent more likely than those without that symptom to develop diabetes. The more disturbed-breathing symptoms people had during their sleep, the greater was their risk of diabetes.

The findings suggest that improving sleep quality in adults may reduce their risk of developing diabetes or may even reduce the severity of diabetes in those who are already affected.

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

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

John Redfern

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Does your partner snore – and if so, why haven’t you told them?

How do you tell your better half that he or she has a problem with snoring without hurting their feelings? A snoring partner is a very delicate subject – but it’s vital that the conversation takes place. Snoring is not a joke.

A tired sleepless woman with the pillow over her head . Isolated over white.

It is a sensitive conversation, but you shouldn’t avoid bringing it up. After all, your partner’s snoring problem heavily affects your life too:

  • It disrupts your sleep pattern, which is devastating to your lifestyle.
  • It makes you tired, impairing your lifestyle or productivity at work.
  • You might experience irritability, loss of temper and frustration.
  • During the day your body might demand the rest that it was really supposed to get during the night so that, while you should be going about your daily responsibilities, you can only think of taking a nap.

Perhaps you doze off at work or, more dangerously, feel like falling asleep while driving? Leading world motoring organisations state that sleepy drivers cause a very high percentage of the most serious road accidents – a figure they put at almost a quarter. Many serious injuries and deaths result from this and they name snoring and sleep apnoea as the direct cause of it.

All of the above reasons are extremely important for you to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. However, keep in mind that next to your suffering, snoring can be dangerous for the snorer too, as the condition has recently been linked to diabetes, heart disease, dementia and even cancer.

For these reasons, if not for others, you should have the important “Snoring conversation” with your partner as soon as possible. While at it, consider the situation your snorer is in, why he or she is not seeking help and how they feel about their health and lifestyle.

Leading experts say that if your snorer has been ignoring the problem for a long time, confronting the issue might stir up an array of emotions that can progress in stages or may even be experienced at the same time:

Denial
Denial is the most common first reaction after hearing about the problem. Snoring comes with a certain kind of stigma and most snorers can’t believe that they snore, especially because they are not the ones to hear it at night. If your partner is in denial, the best thing to do is to record their snoring. You can do it in various ways but a cellphone is easiest, and numerous free online apps exist. Confronted with tangible evidence, most snorers accept that they have a problem and try to find a solution.

Embarrassment
As mentioned earlier, snoring comes with a social stigma and because of this it might be humiliating for people to think of themselves as snorers. Be patient and understanding to your partner, assure him or her that you realise they can’t help it. Confirm your strong feelings towards them. It will be good for them to know that their snoring does not affect the relationship that you share. Do your best to be supportive, sensitive and respect your partner’s feelings, and since snoring affects the lives of both of you, work closely together to find the solution.

Helplessness
Snoring is no longer a difficult condition to cure and people often do not realise that a visit to a doctor is not needed, as a simple mouthpiece, worn during sleep, can solve the problem completely – and immediately. All the major health authorities throughout the world now recommend the use of approved oral appliances to prevent snoring and even treat sleep apnoea.

It is estimated that snoring, or sleep disordered breathing affects as many as 40% of adults, and they and their partners suffer from regularly disturbed sleep and loss of valuable rest. The problem is not confined to men alone, although many more men than women snore. However, the role of the woman is important, as not only is she likely to take steps towards preventing her own snoring faster than a man, she is the one most likely to encourage her partner to take the appropriate action to help them protect their health.

A wide choice of oral appliances now exists; from simple, inexpensive starter appliances that come straight out of the box, that are ideal for lighter snorers, to medically approved custom-made mouthpieces that prevent the dangers of sleep apnoea, and may even replace the use of CPAP or other mask-assisted breathing systems for mild to moderate sufferers.

It’s important to take those first steps and have that all-important “Snoring’ Conversation” as it will safeguard your health, and of your partner, improve or even save your relationship, and it may even save their life. Remember that the obvious and easy choice of sleeping in separate rooms is an option – but it is certainly not a solution.

John Redfern


One in three people born in the UK in 2015 could get dementia

One in three people born in the UK this year will suffer from some form of dementia in their lifetime, the Alzheimer’s Research UK charity has warned.

Senior man in failing health and his worried middle-aged son. Focus on Senior man.

The figures, which have been released by the charity this week on World Alzheimer’s Day, suggest the condition will affect 27% of boys born in 2015 and a much higher figure for women with it affecting as many 37% of girls.

With no treatment to stop or slow dementia, the charity has warned of a “looming national health crisis” as the population ages, and is renewing its call for more urgent action to tackle the illness. The figures are based on current life expectancies and the risk of people developing dementia as they age.

More than 800,000 people in the country are already affected by the disease, which is caused by the destruction of brain cells – usually attributed to lack of oxygen in recent research – often due to heavy snoring and the even more dangerous sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnoea – OSA.

Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia and rising life expectancies could increase the number of people living with the condition. Heart disease, diabetes, smoking and a lack of exercise are also linked to the condition and again often linked by research to snoring – the alarm bell for the development for these dangerous and life-threatening conditions.

The charity commissioned the Office of Health Economics to make the projections.

It predicted that:

  • 32% of people born in the UK in 2015 will get dementia in their lifetime
  • 27% of men would get the condition
  • 37% of women would be affected

Dr Matthew Norton, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “These figures underline a stark reality – as people are living longer, more and more people will develop dementia in the future if action is not taken now to tackle the condition.

“It’s wonderful news that each generation is living longer than the last, but it’s important to ensure that people can enjoy these extra years in good health.

“Dementia is our greatest medical challenge and if we are to beat it, we must invest in research to find new treatments and preventions.”

Treating snoring has been proved recently to delay the onset of both Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia by between five and ten years, and is dependent on how early preventative steps are taken. This would reduce the total number of people suffering at any one time by approximately one-third and make a huge saving on NHS costs, as well as easing the difficult burden for family dependents that often do the home caring.

Thanks to research conducted at UCLA over the past 12 years, experts have known that the gasping during the night that characterizes obstructive sleep apnoea can damage the brain in ways that lead to high blood pressure, depression, memory loss and anxiety. It also can cause extreme daytime sleepiness, thanks to the constant night-time interruptions, and can lead to stroke, diabetes, and loss of testosterone and endocrine-related problems.

The damage to the brain stems in part from the reduction of oxygen to the body, as a result of the repeated breathing interruptions.

This can be stopped in most cases by the use of a simple oral appliance or mouthpiece – some of which are now approved and recommended by the NHS – and even given to patients. They are effective, work fast, are easy and comfortable to wear, and cost little – but save a lot.

John Redfern

 

 


Most people are now living much longer – but will you be one of them?

There are new worrying figures that expose England’s north-south health divide and they also show that it is getting worse. So who in England lives longest and where are they? More importantly perhaps – Why?

The life expectancy for people living in England has risen by 5.4 years since 1990, with the average person now expected to live until more than 80 years of age. But some areas do far better than others.

Map - Regions

A study carried out by Public Health England (PHE) found life expectancy rose from 75.9 years to 81.3 years between 1990 and 2013. The gains were greater for men than women, with men expected to live an extra 6.4 years compared to 25 years ago but women still generally live longer, with the figures showing an average life expectancy for women of 83.2 years compared to 79.5 years for men.

There are still vast inequalities between rich and poor areas. While the wealthiest 20 %of men in the East of England can expect to live to 83.1 years, and women 86.4, the most deprived 20 %of men in the North West have an average life expectancy of just 74.9, with women at 79.5 years.

The increase has been ascribed to a slowdown in the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over the last two decades, but while life expectancy has grown for the general population, large inequalities still remain for people living in more deprived areas.

The study found that despite having the same health and social care system as the rest of the country, regions such as the North East and North West are ranked among the worst performing regions for life expectancy.

The study, which was published in The Lancet, shows that obesity, poor diet and smoking are the biggest risks for premature death among people in England. If you snore – it could be a sign of things to come unless you change things and do something about it quickly.

Public Health England spokesman, Professor John Newton described the wide-ranging causes of inequality as “deep-rooted and persistent and lie largely outside the he healthcare system”. “Preventatives services which already exist do help,” he added.

The new figures, published in The Lancet, show that if the healthiest region of England, the south-east, were a country it would top a league of 22 industrialised nations for its health outcomes. But if the North West were a country, it would be in the bottom five.

Although the study only looked at England, older data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also places them among the worst performing countries. England has achieved significant gains in life expectancy, which has increased by 5.4 years between 1990 and 2013 – mostly driven by declines in deaths from heart disease and some cancers. The gains made by the country as a whole are greater than for most other wealthy countries.

But while we are living longer, there has been barely any decline in rates of illness and disability. The highest rates of the biggest killers – including heart disease and lung cancer – are found in the most deprived areas – driven by higher rates of common risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy drinking.

Across the board, the researchers estimate, 40 per cent of ill health in England is caused by preventable risk factors. Unhealthy diets and obesity are the biggest causes of illness – accounting for about a fifth. Smoking causes 10.8 per cent of disease, high blood pressure 7.8 per cent and alcohol and drug use 5.8 per cent.

If you snore you need to take the first step and prevent these illnesses from developing – or suffer the inevitable consequences.

John Redfern


Snoring, disturbed sleep, and the effect on your everyday health

If you’ve ever been woken by your partner’s deafening snoring tones or struggled to slink into slumber because of the noise coming from your bedside partner, then you’re not alone!

Flu. Closeup image of frustrated sick woman with red nose lying in bed in thick scarf holding tissue by her nose and touching her head

Snoring is one of the most common partner disturbances when it comes to sleep and what starts off as a niggle can soon become very annoying especially when you’re trying your best to get off to the land of nod.

I mentioned in last week’s article the latest newspaper report about the rise of the snoring room for the wealthy property buyer – basically a separate bedroom to banish your snoring partner to – but it’s not new. People have been sleeping apart due to someone snoring for a very long time.

However, disrupted sleep can leave many couples short tempered with each other leading to rows and squabbles, and even to divorce in extreme cases. So if snoring is a real issue then a snoring room, or what us ordinary folk call a separate bedroom, can be no bad thing!

Over recent years there’s been lots of research into how many couples now sleep apart and how beneficial – or not beneficial – it is for your sleep.  And there is a large number of us who do sleep in separate bedrooms – for many reasons whether that’s snoring, health or just personal space.

Women suffer more than men do. A large research study found that 31% of women, and 19% of men, are disturbed by snoring, with many saying that they think their sleep would improve quite significantly if their partner didn’t snore. Yet in the same research, 78% did report they shared a bed.

It’s well known that severe cases of snoring, and particularly sleep apnoea, have made a very detrimental contribution to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.

Snoring and disturbed sleep can affect you much more than just making you tired and irritable, and falling asleep or taking daytime naps. Professor Francesco Cappuccio and his team at The University of Warwick have explored what daily napping says about our health. The team studied the daytime napping habits of more than 16,000 men and women in the UK and found daily napping, of both under and more than one hour — to be a warning sign of underlying health risk — particularly respiratory problems.

The team believes that the risks associated with those prolonged or extra hours asleep may extend beyond heart conditions to represent warning signs of depression, infection, inflammatory conditions and, in some, the early stages of cancer.

“It doesn’t mean that longer sleep causes these diseases,” says Cappuccio. Instead, the fatigue from sleep disturbed by snoring that is keeping people in bed excessively is a symptom of something going wrong. “It’s a consequence of the disease, not the cause,” he says.

Cutting out snoring and sleeping better is the key to good health for all of us.

However it appears that snoring and disturbed sleep can affect you much more than just making you tired and irritable – it affects simple everyday health. We now have new medical findings that it affects our health in significant, but lesser ways – illnesses that are very common and that we accept as part of everyday life.

Scientists now say they have found proof that failing to get enough sleep can greatly increase your risk of catching a cold. The US researchers found that people who sleep 6 hours a night or less are at least 4 times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to the virus, compared to those who sleep for more than 7 hours.

Writing in the journal, Sleep, the team members say their findings prove just how vital it is to have undisturbed regular sleep to stay healthy.

It’s not rocket science so don’t ignore this sound advice – Stop Snoring now.

John Redfern