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


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


90% of us suffer from sleepless nights with snoring being a leading cause.

Over a third of adults say they often wake up than three times a night

Coventry is the capital of Britain’s biggest snorers while 96% of residents in Chelmsford claim they are plagued by lack of sleep

A staggering nine in 10 people suffer sleepless nights, a recent survey conducted by a leading UK Hotel Group has revealed. Worry is one of the major reasons, with a third of those polled claiming it had stopped them nodding off, but in some areas, snoring hit almost 40% of the total but with wide regional variations.

The poll of 2,000 adults by the hotel chain Premier Inn, found that on average a quarter of adults said that the loud snoring of their partner regularly woke them up.

Other causes that scored significantly were pets waking their owners (eight per cent), bad dreams (20 per cent) and being woken by their own snoring (nine per cent).

How did your area perform? There were some extremely wide regional variations and I’ll leave you to form your own conclusions as to why.

In the regional breakdown, the survey claimed that some towns and cities were worse when it comes to restless nights.

Coventry is said to be home to Britain’s biggest snorers with 40 per cent of adults being woken in the night by their partner whereas Liverpool is the noisy neighbour hotspot with 17 per cent complaining that rowdy residents wake them on a regular basis.

But the sleepless capital of Britain is Chelmsford, with a staggering 96 per cent of residents plagued by a constant lack of sleep. Almost a third of the town (31 per cent) said tiredness left them grumpy the next day.

So Premier Inn took over an ordinary street in Chelmsford for one night and transformed it into ‘Good Night Sleep Street’ so that residents could have a good night’s sleep. Amusingly, it provided various sleep aids including a flock of sheep for residents to count and a night warden to keep noise levels at bay and provide warming drinks.

It is of course hard to eliminate worry totally from our daily lives, but if we managed to eliminate snoring, and that is so easily done, so many areas could be improved with regard to our general health and our overall daily physical performance.

Many serious illnesses have been linked to snoring; coronary disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious health problems are known to be closely related. Equally well researched is the effect of the resultant poor sleep value on performance at work, and in some cases, putting life at risk for those in charge of vehicles or machinery. Although closely related to older men. It is no respecter of age or sex and it is even known to produce a range of severe behavioural problems in children and poor attention levels in class.

In the survey results, fatigue and tiredness were blamed by as many as 25 per cent of participants for affecting their productivity, concentration and ability to do their job efficiently or safely.

If you snore – get help. It’s easy to do so and very important. Talk your GP or Dentist and they will advise you of the choices available to help you eliminate the problem of snoring and make your future health s safer bet.

Many of these solutions are as simple and inexpensive as a mouthpiece, listed and approved by the NHS. It will contribute significantly to help eliminate the problem of your snoring – probably pleasing your partner a great deal – and help you to avoid the many long-term health dangers that snoring brings to adults including stroke, heart attacks and diabetes.

By John Redfern


Your New Year Resolution should be to stop snoring and extend your life

I took the opportunity to take a look at some of the published lists of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions for the last ten years, and there are a few perennial favourites that appear time and time again. There are probably no prizes for guessing them, but the main ones are:

  • Losing excess weight
  • Getting fitter and healthier
  • Focusing on job performance
  • Improving relationships

These are all “regulars” on the published Top Ten lists, year after year.

However, notably absent is the one key thing that can actually help people to achieve all of these goals: and that is getting better sleep.

Resolving to get better sleep may be the single most meaningful promise we can ever make to ourselves, because meeting our bodies’ need for sleep can empower us to accomplish so many other important goals.

So many studies have shown that optimizing sleep can help facilitate weight loss and that weight loss is no longer considered to result from “diet and exercise”, but rather from “diet, exercise and sleep”.

Similarly, athletic performance (and generalized fitness) is so closely linked to healthy sleep that most professional sports teams today have dedicated sleep professionals, who help manage players’ sleep schedules in an effort to gain a competitive edge.

On the job, outcomes ranging from problem solving and critical thinking skills to the likelihood of getting a promotion have been tied to optimizing sleep.

The impact of sleep deprivation on relationships has also been extensively studied, with the unanimous conclusion that well rested couples are quite significantly more likely to be happy than sleep deprived couples. Indeed, many therapists suggest that the old adage to “never go to bed angry” ought to be replaced with: “never argue when you are tired”. The theory being that it is better to get a good night’s rest, and deal with a problem in the morning, when you are both well rested, than to try to hash things out tired and irritable.

And key to that good night’s sleep for many is for you to eliminate snoring as the single main factor that not only damages your relationship, and your general health, but also can lead on to many more highly significant and life-threatening illnesses; strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, cancer and even damage to the brain according to recent investigations into sleep apnoea or really heavy snoring where you actually stop breathing.

It has been proved beyond doubt that those individuals who enjoy less than six hours good sleep per night, versus seven or eight, face a four times higher risk of stroke. The survey ran for almost 3 years with nearly 6,000 respondents and was sponsored by the US Government, where there is a much higher awareness of both the risks, and the real cost, of snoring.

For the smallest outlay imaginable, as little as £30, you can eliminate most of these current dangers, and at the same time protect yourself from future deadly illnesses by acquiring a mouthpiece such as the SleepPro Standard – not only NHS approved but available instantly by post from their website without prescription. By using such a mouthpiece at night you can reduce the snoring danger to virtually nothing; pleasing your partner, improving your working day and levels of efficiency, and improving your overall health significantly by being well rested and prepared for the coming day. It may even save your life.

For all these reasons and more, consider making this year the year that you resolve to get better sleep. I wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy, and Well Rested New Year!

By John Redfern


GO MAD in the NEW YEAR and CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Make it your New Year Resolution to Stop Snoring with a Mandibular Advancement Device.

Mandibular Advancement Devices are commonly referred to as stop snoring mouthpieces or mouth guards. They are used to help treat patients suffering from problems of heavy snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

In order to understand how these mouthpieces work, it’s important to first understand a little bit about the method, as well as the relationship between snoring and sleep apnoea disorders.

Sleep apnoea disorders are characterized by pauses in normal respiration while the sufferer is asleep. The patient simply isn’t aware that he or she has stopped breathing in their sleep. In the daytime the symptoms often manifest as depression, constant tiredness and just overall malaise. As the body struggles to breathe at night, you often wake up feeling exhausted. In a recent survey, the regional breakdown claimed that some towns and cities were worse when it comes to restless nights.

Snoring and intermittent pauses in breathing are the most common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. It’s important to note that in the case of Central Sleep Apnoea the sufferer often does not snore and Mandibular Advancement Devices are usually not prescribed.

As your body relaxes while you sleep, so do the smooth muscles in your airway through which your lungs receive oxygen as you breathe.

Unfortunately, in some individuals these muscles drastically loosen to the point where the airway is blocked. The airway is a tube shape, sort of like a garden hose. However, unlike a garden hose, which often holds its shape – in OSA sufferers this tube “flattens” due to lack of muscle tightness. With the airway collapsed it becomes difficult for air to pass through it into the lungs, and the muscles begin to vibrate against one another as the air passes through. This vibration is a sound that we commonly know as snoring.

For many patients, this begs the question…. What does a mouth guard have anything to do with the airway in my throat?

Any individual with a background in medicine can tell you that the mouth, nose, and throat are inseparable when it comes to treating disease and disorders. A medical problem originating in the throat can show it’s effects elsewhere and will do so.

Mandibular Advancement Devices work by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. It’s that simple – and SleepPro appliances are NHS Approved.

This artificial pushing on your jawbone causes the muscles in your throat to tighten lessening the obstruction in the airway. This allows more space for the air to pass through to your lungs and dramatically decreases the likelihood that you will snore in your sleep. As a matter of fact, many individuals who have not been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea choose to purchase these mouth guards over the counter or online, as their primary concern is to stop snoring.

There are many varieties of these devices available. Your physician may recommend you start with the standard version to see how you find it. If it shows signs of working there are two further options available: the SFA or Self Fit Adjustable version that has lots of micro-adjustments possible for additional comfort of fit and improved performance. These devices are inexpensive and the mouthpieces are often crafted of soft plastics. The ultimate version is Custom fitted to mould which you can make at home in seconds and send to SleepPro to make a fully tailored version for you.

Frankly, it’s a small expense that can even prove to be life saving in many instances as snoring is so closely related to serious illness if left untreated.

Many individuals are completely unaware that snoring is associated with any sort of sleep disorder. Fortunately, there is now a growing awareness of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and many people searching for methods on how to stop snoring often discover after visiting their physician that their snoring is only a symptom of a wider problem and not the disorder in and of itself.

By John Redfern


Can snoring really kill?

Dental Surgeons say it can – they’ve found out why snoring can take life.

Snoring can indicate very serious upper airway disorders, and these blocked airways will increase Blood Pressure significantly, damaging the arteries and often leading to a Stroke.

Although considered harmless, snoring can actually indicate a very serious medical condition called sleep apnoea. Marked by irregular breathing, sleep apnoea often causes sufferers to stop breathing completely for up to several seconds and has even been linked to stroke and heart disease in some patients.

“When persons with sleep apnoea fall asleep, their tongue falls back into their throat, blocking their airway,” Dr. Arthur Friedlander, an oral surgeon who worked on the study conducted at University of California’s School of Dentistry, said in a recent statement.

“As they struggle for breath, their blood pressure simply soars and this rise in blood pressure damages the inner walls of the carotid arteries lining the sides of the neck,” he added. “Cholesterol and calcium stick to these injury sites and amass into calcified plaques, which block blood flow to the brain. The result of all this is often a massive stroke.”

According to Dr. Friedlander, these deposits of calcium deposits are merely the tip of the iceberg. “The X-ray can’t show the true size of the plaque, which is also made up of fat, platelets, and other soft tissue.” When a person is suffering from sleep apnoea, air cannot flow in or out of the nose or mouth. Oxygen is not taken in so carbon dioxide builds to dangerous levels in the blood.

“It’s just like pressing a pillow over someone’s face.” Friedlander said.

At the other side of the world to this, further recent clinical research by leading anaesthesiologists in Japan clearly demonstrates that manoeuvres such as lifting the chin, and thrusting the jaw forward, markedly improve airway potency in both adults and children.

`This clinical trial information demonstrated how using a chinstrap alone improved obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) symptoms as well as, or better than the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which necessitates the supply of oxygen throughout the night by using a face mask – not without its side effects.

Further tests with dental mouthpieces, alone, and also combined with the use of the chinstrap in more serious cases, underlined even more the ease of treating sleep apnoea this way – and the clear advantages of doing so.

This important research clearly demonstrates the easier method of treatment but don’t attempt self-cure. It is important to refer the problem that you may have to your General Practitioner.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a significant and dangerous condition – that often kills if left untreated. OSA symptoms are often responsible for daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle crashes, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Age is not at all relevant to the equation either. Make sure that you check for the symptoms in your children and grandchildren where surprisingly it is found more often than you may think and is best resolved immediately. Children’s behavioural problems may be linked to their sleep habits, according to a number of new studies. Children who snore often are nearly twice as likely as other children to have attention deficit and hyperactivity problems.

So if you find any symptoms of OSA, or simply heavy snoring, act now. Consult your GP. The evidence clearly shows that a life may depend on it.

By John Redfern

Take a look at our YouTube video for more info.


Serious Sleep Problems revealed in Goodnight Britain

One of the most heavily watched programmes to be shown on BBC these last few weeks has been Goodnight Britain – a long overdue insight into unusual, but common, sleeping habits. It was a programme that was reviewed in depth by the Press with a widely ranging variety of responses.

According to the documentary, half a million Britons suffer from parasomnia, the technical term for sleep-walking, talking, and in the case of one woman featured on the programme, screaming and running about in the belief that you are being assaulted. I sympathise with the lady’s housemate, as both my stepdaughters are afflicted with this condition, but not to such an extreme I’m glad to say.

The programme also tackled sufferers with very common problem sleep behaviours such as snoring and insomnia. The first step involved fitting out their homes with night vision cameras, which were then closely monitored by two sleep experts – who weirdly never seemed to need any sleep – who were concealed nearby in their ‘sleep-mobile’.

Initial reactions were of course predictable and to begin with it was hard not to see the funny side of the unusual night-time activity. Snoring, for instance, has always been a subject of choice for our comedians.

However the show soon highlighted the serious side of sleeping and its various problems, as one participant was suspended from his job as a van driver due to his suffering from OSN – or obstructive sleep apnoea, a terrifying condition in which the muscles and soft tissue in the back of the throat collapse inwards during sleep, blocking the airway, and meaning that he stopped breathing in between snores.

As a result of his diagnosis, he was asked to notify the DVLA and to stop driving for a period of four weeks while he is treated “What am I going to do now,’ he asked, “I’ve done this job for 22 years and it’s all I know”.

But due to treatment there is a happy ending. At the end of this four-week period his GP notified the DVLA that he is now safe to drive and he is able to resume driving. He goes on to develop his career and achieve his HGV Class 2 licence.

It became very apparent that few knew they had a sleep condition or disorder. However, often their partner did. “Me, I don’t snore” is the usual answer. Even those who have accepted that they do are not aware how much it can affect their health, causing strokes, diabetes and other serious illnesses. In fact we are talking very high percentages of the population – a real problem – and often ignored in the United Kingdom – whereas in Australia, Canada and the United States it is taken very seriously and is a specialist treatment area with both Doctor and Dentist.

It is estimated that a quarter of the UK population suffer sleeping difficulties and over 10 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were issued in Britain last year alone. Commentator Sian Williams described Britain as “ a nation in the grip of a sleep crisis” – a crisis that costs the NHS £1.6 billion last year just for prescriptions and sleeping pills alone – let alone the more serious results that can happen. Yet anyone who’s ever suffered from insomnia, however fitfully, knows that it’s a very miserable experience.

Sleep disorders affect many people – whether it’s snoring, sleep walking, insomnia or sleep apnoea – so if you feel you have a serious problem seek medical advice.

For the vast majority of poor sleepers, however, just making some simple improvements to their bedtime routine and environment will boost sleep quality.

For others, there are many NHS approved solutions out there including MAD’s – dental mouthpieces for want of a better term, Chinstraps and not only are they inexpensive and readily available – there is overwhelming evidence that they work, saving thousands from both short term sleep problems but more importantly, serious long term health problems, or even sudden death.

The key thing si to know if you are a sufferer – and if so – seek expert medical advice on what to do next. Do not ignore it.

The British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association has launched a UK-wide survey into public awareness of the condition, sleep apnoea. The aim is to test public knowledge about signs, symptoms and health risks associated with the condition.

To make this the biggest survey yet it needs adult participants from all walks of life to take part. Whether you have this condition or think you have it, or somebody you know has it, or even if you don’t know anything at all, they would like to hear from you.

The survey will run until the end of January 2013 and the results will be published during next year’s regular National Stop Snoring Week from 22 – 27 April 2013.

To test your knowledge visit www.sleepapnoeasurvey.org.uk

By John Redfern


Sleep Apnoea and Snoring: What's the Difference?

Sleep apnoea is a disorder that is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing (apnoeas) or abnormally low breathing during sleep. These apnoeas can occur due to a lack of respiratory effort, due to a physical blockage to airflow, or a combination of both. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is the most common type of apnoea and occurs where there is a physical blockage of airflow.

Individuals with OSA are rarely aware of having difficulty breathing. In fact, the person’s sleeping partner or someone that sleeps in the same room often recognises the problem. Patients suffering from OSA often feel very tired during the day and report daytime sleepiness, which they often become used to. It is not unusual for a patient with sleep apnoea to take naps during the day, fall asleep watching television or sitting in a car, or fall asleep while talking to someone. Sleep apnoea can also affect your work performance, vigilance, motivation and other behavioural or cognitive effects.

Snoring, on the other hand, is caused by the vibration of respiratory structures due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. This is often caused by the uvula (the tissue that hangs down in the back of your throat), an elongated soft palate, a large tongue or obstructions in the nasal area.

Statistics on snoring suggest that as many as 50 per cent of adults snore, while as many as one in 20 of us are affected by sleep apnoea. While someone who snores may also suffer from sleep apnoea, not all patient with sleep apnoea snore. This means that even though you do not snore, it does not mean that you do not have sleep apnoea.

If you suffer from daytime sleepiness and fatigue, and don’t feel refreshed in the morning after a good night’s sleep, you should probably consider getting medical advice. You may be advised to go to a sleep centre, where you will sleep overnight while you are connected to a variety of devices that will monitor your body functions. These include brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm and oxygen saturation. An alternative to this is to take a home testing device, which will also monitor certain of your body functions, but in the comfort of your own home and bed.

Treatment options for persons suffering from snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea vary a great deal, from quite conservative treatment to invasive surgical treatment. Treatment for snoring includes positive airway pressure devices (CPAP), dental appliances (MAD) and surgeries that are customized to best address your quite individual needs.

There are many treatment options for patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. The first one is called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device (CPAP), which is a machine that keeps the patient’s airway open during sleep by delivering a continuous flow of pressurized air into the throat. Another option is to use Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), where a custom-made mouthpiece shifts the lower jaw forward, thereby opening the airway.

If you suspect that you suffer from snoring or sleep apnoea, the first step to take is to schedule an appointment with your GP or a sleep specialist who will perform a comprehensive examination and perhaps a sleep study. Once your doctor reviews your sleep study, your treatment plan can then be customized to address your condition and specific needs.

The outcome is often simple – a dental mouthpiece can minimise your snoring and safeguard your health – but make sure to take qualified advice. The latest developments of mouthpiece even offer self-fitting adjustable devices (SFA) to improve anti-snoring performance and give much more comfort. Choose wisely.

Take a look at our YouTube video for more info!

By John Redfern


New Report: Half of women may have Sleep Apnoea

Sleep is a big topic these days. Turn on the TV or radio and you’ll probably hear someone discussing sleep medicine. There have been broadcast several conversations about sleep recently on topics ranging from surgical options to sleep-inducing drinks. And books are being written everyday on sleep topics, as well as ongoing articles in national magazines – particularly on the subject of snoring

For many years this has been regarded as strictly a male preserve but the emphasis has started to shift recently. In fact half of all the women given overnight sleep tests for a new study were found to have mild-to-severe sleep apnoea – a staggering percentage.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a serious snoring disorder in which the sufferer stops breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds. It’s generally associated with men, but researchers in Sweden recently set out to determine the frequency of the problem in women. The results were surprising. Half of the women in the study experienced obstructive sleep apnoea, with 20 percent having moderate and 6 percent having severe symptoms.

The report has been published in the European Respiratory Journal and was based on women between the ages of 20 and 70 from a large population sample of 10,000.

The participants of the study were monitored during sleep for heart rate, eye and leg movements, blood oxygen levels, airflow and brain waves. Half experienced at least five episodes an hour when they stopped breathing for longer than 10 seconds. And for women with hypertension or who were obese, the numbers reached as high as 80 to 84 percent.

The results were very clear cut and seem to have started many alarm bells ringing – it was important enough to have been picked up and covered by the UK National Press including the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

Age played a big part and the disorder was found to be more prevalent in older women: Among women aged 20-44, one quarter had sleep apnea, compared to 56 percent of women aged 45-54 and 75 percent of women aged 55-70.

Occasional cessation in breathing during sleep may happen to everyone from time to time, but in obstructive sleep apnea there are at least five times when breathing stops, for at least 10 seconds each time, within an hour. Patients with really severe symptoms may stop breathing hundreds of times in one sleeping session.

Sleep apnoea is a serious health problem and is tied to a higher risk of depression, stroke, heart attack, cancer and early death. Importantly it can be minimized or even eliminated by simple anti-snoring devices such as Mouthpieces worn at night.

Many patients are not aware of their sleep disorder, and knowing these symptoms can often help:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep that is witnessed by another person
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnoea
  • Awakening with a very dry mouth or a sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Attention problems during the day

In some occupations, particularly when driving or being in charge of any machinery, sleep apnoea is extremely dangerous due to the possible lack of attention or even from falling asleep briefly.

Another recent study also found that women who have sleep apnoea are more likely to develop memory problems and dementia.

One piece of important advice – Do not Ignore it.

If you suspect problems take advice from your GP who may even ask you to attend a specialist NHS Sleep Centre for further tests and confirmation of the symptoms.

Act now – because it will not go away – it will simply get worse.

By John Redfern

Take a look at our YouTube videos for more info.