Lack of sleep makes you put on weight and that makes you snore

In fact it’s a vicious circle because if you snore you will suffer from disturbed sleep causing further weight gain that will make your snoring worse. Don’t forget the disturbed night that it causes for your partner with the same result. The two-pronged solution is to stop snoring and also control your weight.

Woman (age 30-40) suffers from her partner (age 35 - 45) snoring in bed. Couple lifestyle and people health care concept. Real people copy space

It seems simple but having the right amount of quality sleep is important – in fact it’s vital. A simple thing – but there can be complex problems as a result.

New findings published by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey add to the growing body of evidence that shows just how important a good night’s sleep is to health. Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to the new study.

The findings showed that people who were sleeping an average of only six hours a night had a waist measurement that was 3 cm greater than that of individuals who were getting nine hours of sleep a night. In addition, shorter sleepers were also heavier as well.

The study involved 1,615 adults who reported how long they slept and kept records of food intake. Participants had blood samples taken and their weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure recorded. The researchers looked at the associations between how long people were sleeping and these key biological parameters.

The results strengthen the evidence that insufficient sleep could contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes – just one of the major health challenges facing the NHS in Britain and also other countries.

The study was led by Dr Laura Hardie, Reader in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Leeds – not only looked at the links between sleep duration, diet and weight, but also other indicators of overall metabolic health such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and thyroid function.

The Leeds researcher said: “The number of people with obesity worldwide has more than doubled since 1980. Obesity contributes to the development of many diseases most notably type 2 diabetes. Understanding why people gain weight has crucial implications for public health.”

Snoring is a key factor in all these situations as far as health is concerned, and it has also been proved that it is closely related to a much higher risk of cardio-vascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks.

Shorter sleep was also linked to reduced levels of HDL cholesterol in the participants’ blood and this is another factor that can cause health problems. HDL cholesterol is ‘good’ cholesterol that helps remove ‘bad’ fat from the circulation. In doing so, high HDL cholesterol levels protect against conditions such as heart disease and snoring disrupts its development.

Interestingly, the study did not find any relationship between shortened sleep and a less healthy diet – a fact that surprised the researchers. Other previous studies have suggested that shortened sleep can lead to poor dietary choices and excessive snacking.

The research was a snapshot of the associations between sleep duration and measurements of metabolic health. It was not designed to assess the impact of chronic poor sleep over time, and whether that leads to disease but other reports have assessed this and proved the relationship.

Dr Laura Hardie, the study’s senior investigator, added: “Because we found that adults who reported sleeping less than their peers were more likely to be overweight or obese, our findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep. How much sleep we need differs between people, but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults.”

Stopping snoring is a key factor in maintaining good health and it’s both easy and important to prevent the problem. Simple inexpensive oral appliances, worn during sleep, prevent snoring in almost all cases. SleepPro oral appliances have been tested by the NHS in Britain and are strongly recommended by the NHS as first recommendation to all patients who suffer from snoring or the more dangerous problem of obstructive sleep apnoea.

John Redfern


How to Sleep Better – The Complete Guide

how to sleep better
      
The quality of your life and your physical health are both directly influenced by a good night’s sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep everything seems to be thrown off balance: your energy levels drop throughout the day, you feel less productive and, in the long term, you might end up gaining weight.
 
 
Sleep helps our brains work properly. Since it plays such an essential role to our overall health, it’s paramount to get the right amount of sleep every night. You might be tempted to sleep less during weekdays and take comfort in the idea that you’ll make up for it by sleeping in on weekends. But researchers point out that this might do more damage than good.

 

Sleep deficiency is a problem that most people have to deal with at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s because of stressful exams, impending work deadlines or personal problems, individuals of all ages are bound to be sleep deprived at some point in their lives.

 

As a consequence, the damage can manifest itself under two forms: either in an instant or over a longer period of time. Immediate sleep deprivation effects include developing an increased risk for certain chronic health issues. Long term effects include, but are not limited to, affecting the way you behave, work, socialise, learn and even think.

      

THE 5 STAGES OF SLEEP

People usually go through 4 non-REM stages of sleep before reaching the fifth, final stage, which is called rapid eye movement or REM.
 
The phases pass cyclically and each sleeper will go through stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM.
 
Then, the cycle begins again from stage 1. A full sleep cycle ranges from 90 to 110 minutes and each sleeping phase ranges from 5 to 15 minutes.
stage-1

STAGE 1

The first stage of the sleeping cycle is characterized by falling in and out of sleep. In this phase, people can easily be awakened.

Muscle activity starts to slow down and the eyes move more slowly. Many people report experiencing a sensation of falling in the first stage of sleep.

This is owed to sudden muscle contractions that give the impression of falling, followed by a sudden awakening.

stage-2

STAGE 2

In the second stage of sleep eye movements stop and the body is starting to get ready for the deep sleep phase.

As the brain waves are getting slower, there are only a few rare bursts of rapid brain waves.

At the same time, the overall body temperature starts to decrease and the heart rate slows down.

stage-3

STAGE 3

The third stage of every sleeping cycle is also known as deep sleep.

Very slow brain waves are intermixed with shorter, more rapid waves.

During this phase, sleepers can experience night terrors or sleepwalking.

The episodes are also known as parasomnias and appear when the body transitions between a non-REM stage and REM.

stage-4

STAGE 4

The fourth stage of the sleeping cycle comprises only slow brain waves that are also called delta waves.

Sleepers who are woken up from stage four of sleeping will most likely be disoriented for a few seconds before becoming fully awake and aware of their whereabouts.

stage-5

STAGE 5

In the Rapid Eye Movement phase, the brain waves will resemble the activity of the waking state.

Despite the fact that the eyes are shut close, they move from side to side very fast, as a result of brain activity and intense dreaming.

During this stage of sleeping, the brain is super active, however, all the muscles of the body are paralyzed with the exception of the lungs and the heart.

Muscle paralysis is directly connected to conditions like sleep suffocation or sleep apnea, experienced by some people. The REM stage of the sleeping cycle becomes longer after 5 or 6 hours of sleep.

Why Can't I Sleep?

Are you experiencing difficulty falling asleep regardless of how tired you are? Or are you waking up in the middle of the night, finding it hard to go back to sleep? The issue you are likely to be experiencing is insomnia. This is a very common condition that can all of a sudden take effect.

 

Unfortunately, insomniacs have to deal with even more annoying consequences than the condition itself. Insomnia causes mood swings and affects people’s ability to work and function during the day. Chronic insomnia can have severe effects on health, leaving the individual prone to fatigue, stomach problems, migraines, headaches and much more.

 

There are other reasons that might be keeping you up at night other than insomnia, including:

Anxiety

Overthinking might be the one keeping you up when you should be sleeping.

When you are going in and out of the first stage of sleep, you have no control over your thoughts.

As a result, it’s harder to rein in worries or negative thinking. This can easily keep you up for hours at a time or even the entire night.

prob1

Oversleeping

As tempting and beneficial as it might seem at a first glance, sleeping in actually messes up your internal clock.

Lying more in bed on a Saturday or a Sunday will make it harder for you to wake up on following weekdays, and, as a consequence, will make it harder to fall asleep.

prob2

A Snoring Partner

If your spouse snores and you’re a light sleeper, it can easily rouse you and make it impossible for you to fall back asleep. The loudest snoring sounds can reach 90 decibels, which is as loud as a subway!

Even if you fall back asleep, you will feel fatigued and tired when waking up in the morning. The best way to deal with this issue is for your partner to start using a custom made anti-snoring device that will allow both of you to get a good night’s rest.

prob3

Hormonal Changes

Women might experience difficulty falling asleep or sleeping due to hormonal changes prior or during their period.

The levels of progesterone and estrogen fluctuate, which sabotage sleep and cause sleepers to wake up during the night followed by difficulty falling back asleep.

prob4

Hunger

If you are crash dieting and skipping dinner altogether, you might want to reconsider going to bed on an empty stomach.

Heading to bed hungry can hamper with your sleep.

You might be awakened by hunger pangs, which disrupt your sleeping cycle and make you susceptible to having a hard time waking up the next morning.

prob5

A Cluttered Bedroom

This might seem trivial at first, but a messy nightstand does have the ability to interfere with your night’s rest.

The simple explanation behind this is that physical clutter and mess makes for a cluttered, stressed, anxious mind.

Researchers have found that stress is the main cause of sleep issues, including waking up in the middle of the night and experiencing insomnia.

prob6

Common Sleep Issues

Sleep is influenced by a wide array of factors and conditions. Things like stress, diet, environment, activity levels, temperature, noise and light all have an impact on how fast you fall asleep and the quality of your rest.

1. Insomnia

This sleep disorder causes difficulty to fall or to stay asleep. This condition results in non-restorative or unrefreshing sleep. Insomnia affects up to 35% of adults and can be very upsetting and frustrating.

The consequences range from mild to severe since insomnia can impact sleepers’ health, leaving them feeling drowsy, fatigued and sullen throughout the day. This sleeping condition can be distracting, impacting people’s concentration levels and mood. It can affect work or school and sometimes it puts mental health at risk.

Insomnia varies in its length and occurrence frequency.

 

  • Short-term or acute insomnia can last one night or a few weeks. Some causes of acute insomnia include illness, physical pain or discomfort, stress, medication or external factors such as light, noise and temperature.
  • Long-term or chronic insomnia occurs at least three or four times a week over the course of a month or more. Some causes of chronic insomnia include chronic stress, anxiety, depression and pain at night.

Types of Insomnia

Doctors have identified two different types of insomnia:

 

  • Primary insomnia. Patients experience primary insomnia when the condition is not directly associated with another health issue.

 

  • Secondary insomnia. Patients experience secondary insomnia when the condition appears as a “side-effect” of another health issue such as depression, heartburn, asthma or arthritis. Secondary insomnia can also occur as a side effect of medication or a substance consumed by the sleeper such as alcohol or caffeine.

2. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects a small part of the population. Individuals with this condition periodically stop breathing during sleep. The number of sleep apnea episodes a person experiences per night ranges vastly from a few times to dozens of times. When the sleeper stops breathing, the brain is disturbed from deep sleep stages and the person wakes up in order to restart breathing.

People who suffer from sleep apnea are prone to a poor night’s sleep. When episodes of sleep apnea happen dozens of times a night, the quality of sleep decreases drastically, making way for a wide array of medical issues.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea that vary in symptoms, intensity and causes.

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Caused either by a complete or partial airway blockage during sleep, obstructive sleep apnea happens when the sleeper’s throat muscles relax and allow the tongue or the throat’s fatty tissue to fall back and block the airflow. This prevents air from moving past the obstruction and, as a result, blood flow to the brain is reduced. The brain is partially awoken in order to trigger the body into waking up to breathe again.

 

The severity of obstructive sleep apnea varies. Mild obstructive sleep apnea occurs five to fourteen times in an hour. Moderate obstructive sleep apnea happens fifteen to thirty time in an hour. Severe obstructive sleep apnea occurs more than thirty times in an hour.

 

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

  • Snoring – regular, loud and disruptive snoring is a prominent symptom of OSA.
  • Headaches – morning headaches are a consequence of lack of oxygen during the night which stems from irregular breathing.
  • Irritability – loss of sleep can heavily impact an individual’s well-being. Patients with OSA often experience irritability and even depression.
  • Restless sleep – as the patient with OSA is constantly being awakened by their brain, sufferers are deprived of deep, quality sleep.

 

Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

Mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea can be kept under control with a custom-made mouthpiece that prevents sleepers from snoring and keeps apnea episodes at bay. This is an affordable option, recommended by doctors that is comfortable and safe to wear each night.

2. Central Sleep Apnea

This condition occurs when the brain doesn’t signal the muscles in charge with breathing. Much rarer than Obstructive Sleep Apnea, CSA often appears as a consequence of medical conditions that impact the brainstem.

 

Symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea:

  • Irregular breathing during sleep.
  • Shortness of breath that leads to waking up.
  • Severe drowsiness during the day.
  • Chronic fatigue as a result of restless sleep.
  • Mood changes often accompanied by irritability, as a consequence of a poor night’s rest.

3. Mixed Sleep Apnea

As the name suggests, mixed sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. 15% of individuals who believe to only have OSA might actually have CSA as well, a study from 2006 shows.

The condition was identified when patients who were undergoing CPAP treatment for OSA still had trouble breathing while asleep.

2

Other Sleeping Disorders

There are various sleeping disorders out there affecting 1 in 3 individuals. The symptoms range from mild to severe and each affects the individual’s quality of life in a different way. Here are three interesting sleeping disorders that are more common than you might think.

Parasomnia

This condition includes all the abnormal things that people undergo while they are falling asleep or sleeping, excluding sleep apnea. Some examples of parasomnias are sleep paralysis, nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep aggression and REM sleep behavior disorder.

 

Parasomnia can happen during sleep or when a person is abruptly awakened. The latter includes sleep terrors or confusional arousals. Parasomnia is genetic but can also be a cause of brain disorders. Various medications are also known to trigger episodes of parasomnia.

Cataplexy

Cataplexy is characterized by an uncontrollable and abrupt muscle paralysis or weakness. Caused by an autoimmune disorder, cataplexy is triggered by extreme emotions that include crying or terror. The condition affects up to 70% of patients who suffer from narcolepsy.

 

Cataplectic attacks are the result of muscular weakness that can vary from a mere slackening of facial muscles to full muscle paralysis. The episodes are brief and only last a few seconds or up to a couple of minutes.

Narcolepsy

This neurological disorder impacts the sufferer’s control over wakefulness and sleep. Individuals who suffer from narcolepsy have to deal with daytime sleepiness and impossible to control episodes of falling asleep during the day. Narcolepsy attacks can happen at any time of the day and during all types of activity.

Other Reasons for Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation has a slew of causes varying from medical problems such as depression or hormone imbalance to external and environmental factors like noise and excessive light. These are a few of the most common reasons you might be losing sleep or getting a poor night’s rest.

Grinding Teeth

Also known as bruxism, grinding teeth on a regular basis can stem from anxiety, stress, an abnormal bite or a sleeping disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs at night, during sleep and can lead to teeth damaging and other oral health issues.

 

Since teeth grinding happens when you sleep, you might not be aware you have this habit unless someone else hears you. However, there are a few clues that will let you know you grind your teeth at night.

 

A sore jaw or a dull headache right when you wake up could indicate you suffer from bruxism. If you’re uncertain whether you have this condition or not, a dentist will help you shed some light on the issue. They will examine your mouth and look for signs of excessive wear on your teeth or jaw tenderness.

Tips to Stop Grinding Your Teeth:

  • Refrain from consuming drinks or foods that have caffeine (chocolate, coffee, fizzy drinks).
  • Refrain from drinking alcoholic drinks, since they promote teeth grinding.
  • Do not chew gum as it gets your muscles used to clenching and increases the chances of teeth grinding during sleep.
  • Notice when you tend to grind or clench your teeth and replace it with another habit. Try putting the tip of your tongue between your teeth, allowing your jaw muscles to relax.
  • Start using a night guard that fits comfortably and eliminates headaches. This device will protect your teeth from damage and allow you to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleepwalking

With a self-explanatory name, sleepwalking is a condition that makes people get out of bed and walk in their sleep. Most of the time, sleepwalking occurs when the individual goes from a deep stage of sleep to a lighter stage of sleep.

 

During the sleepwalking episode, the person is not awake and can’t talk or respond to questions. The sleepwalker won’t remember the episode. In the instances when the sleepwalker talks, they are incoherent or don’t make sense. While sleepwalking occurs predominantly in children between 4 and 8 years old, some adults experience it too.

 

Sleepwalkers can either get up and walk quietly around their room or they can attempt to run and escape. When they are sleepwalking, people have their eyes open. If questioned, they usually don’t say anything or respond very slowly. If sleepwalkers get back to bed without waking, they will most likely not remember the episode the next day.

Causes of Sleepwalking:

  • Sleep deprivation – being sleep deprived can lead to sleepwalking, especially when the person is under a lot of stress or suffers from anxiety.
  • Hectic sleep schedule – irregular bed and waking up hours promote sleepwalking since they can completely throw off the body’s internal clock.
  • Alcohol – episodes of sleepwalking can occur when the person has been drinking and went to sleep while still drunk.
  • Medication – some drugs have been linked to causing sleepwalking episodes, such as stimulants used for boosting activity, neuroleptics used for psychosis or antihistamines used for allergy treatments.
  • Fever – high fever can trigger sleepwalking, especially in kids.
  • Psychiatric disorders – certain conditions such as panic attacks, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or multiple personality disorder can cause sleepwalking episodes, chiefly in adults.

Sleep Hygiene

A poor sleep hygiene can be the reason why it takes you hours to fall asleep or you’re not getting any sleep at all. Unlike medical conditions that cause sleep deprivation and can’t be managed, sleep hygiene is easy to handle and master.

 

These are the top sleep hygiene tips for promoting a good night’s sleep on a constant basis:

  • Adopt a regular sleep routine. It might sound trivial, but going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning is the golden rule of good sleep hygiene. The schedule should remain the same on all nights of the week, with small exceptions permitted of up to 20 minutes +/-. This makes sure your internal clock knows what to expect, regulating your metabolism and making easier to fall asleep and to wake up immediately.

  • Avoid naps. Even when you feel extremely tired during daytime, you should refrain from lying down on the bed and taking a nap. People need a specific amount of rest and sleep during 24 hours. Whenever we take a nap during the day, we practically take away some of the time we need to sleep the following night. This can lead to sleep fragmentation as well as difficulty falling asleep. A haphazard sleeping schedule consisting of long or frequent naps can lead to insomnia.

  • Don’t lay in bed if you’re awake for more than 10 minutes. When you’re experiencing difficulty falling asleep, you’re most likely tossing and turning in bed, listening to the clock ticking and dreading being awake. This is a counter intuitive way of falling asleep. A better way to make yourself sleepy is to go sit in a chair without turning the lights on. You’ll know it’s time to return to bed when you’ll feel sleepy again.

  • Refrain from reading or using gadgets in bed. Watching TV in bed will inevitably make you associate your bed with wakefulness. If your aim is to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you should educate and train your body to associate it exclusively with sleep. In order to achieve this, you should refrain from reading, watching TV, browsing the internet on the laptop or listening to music while you are in bed.

  • Exercise on a regular basis. A good night’s rest is only one of the many benefits of exercising on a regular basis. Vigorous exercise should always be completed by 2 pm. Reserve light stretching or basic yoga for evenings. Exercising promotes a healthy metabolism and helps you fall asleep much easier.

  • Create a quiet, serene sleeping environment. Ideally, your bedroom should only contain your bed and a couple of nightstands. If possible, don’t add a TV or other furniture in your bedroom, even if it might seem bare or insufficiently accessorized. A minimalist approach is ideal when it comes to your bedroom since it creates a peaceful atmosphere that, in its turn, encourages sleep and rest.

How to Get to Sleep

Falling asleep might come naturally to some, but it’s not so easy for others. People who have difficulty falling asleep or who have to deal with various sleeping disorders have to suffer long-term consequences that impact their overall quality of life. These are some of the most commonly asked questions related to sleeping and a good night’s rest.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Everyone is different and, as a result, there is no universal answer to this question. However, researchers agree that young adults and adults need anywhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.

Best Sleeping Position

While this is a personal preference issue, there are some sleeping positions that will help you avoid medical conditions. Although it’s not a popular position, sleeping on your back is regarded as being the best from a medical point of view.

 

The explanation behind this is that the neutral position enables your spine, neck and head to rest naturally. As a result, there is no pressure on any area and you’re not likely to experience any pain. While sleeping on your back is great if you have acid reflux, it might not be a good idea if you suffer from sleep apnea.

 

OSA patients’ best sleeping position is on their side. Similarly to sleeping on your back, this position makes sure the spine is elongated, keeping neck and back pain at bay. It’s also a good position for people who are prone to snoring, since the airways are always open, making it perfect for individuals who experience sleep apnea.

Best Earplugs for Sleeping

If you’re a light sleeper, you might find relief in earplugs. They cancel out the noise so you can rest without hearing snoring, dog barks, or traffic noise. When you’re shopping for the best pair of earplugs, you should factor in their effectiveness and the material they are made from. Earplugs made from wax and foam expand when they are inserted into the ear, cancelling out all noise.

 

You should also consider the comfort level. A good pair of earplugs should not put any pressure on your eardrum. They should fit snuggly in the ear canal and neither go too deep or stick out. Choose the right size of earplugs in order to avoid discomfort and pain.

General Sleeping Tips

  • Temperature. The temperature in your bedroom should be on the cooler side rather than warmer.

  • TV. If you do have a TV in your room, make sure to turn it off before going to sleep. You should not expose yourself to bright screens and TVs at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

  • Pets. Keep pets outside of the bedroom if they have the habit of waking you up in the middle of the night.

  • Create a relaxing pre-sleep routine that takes you from wake time to sleep time. For example, you can take a shower or a bath, take your makeup off or read a book. Avoid stimulating activities that make you more awake than sleepy.

  • Dine light. Refrain from eating junk food or too many carbs at least three hours before going to bed. Stay away from foods that might give you indigestion. Choose warm, light foods that are easy to digest and are not very spicy or overstimulating.

How to Stop Snoring

More than 45% of adults snore constantly or occasionally. Besides being a nuisance, snoring can also indicate a sleeping disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring appears when the flow of air passing through your nose and your mouth is obstructed. Air obstructions happen from an array of causes, ranging from allergies, poor muscle tone and bulky throat tissue.

Anti-Snoring Devices

Snoring does not only affect the person in cause but also the spouse who shares the bed. Fortunately, there are several devices available on the market that can reduce and eliminate snoring in a safe and gentle way.

custom-developed mouthpiece is the quickest and most affordable way to tackle both snoring and sleep apnea at the same time. Highly effective, this device is very easy to adjust and can safely be used every night. The twin polymer technology is BPA and latex free, ensuring the highest quality and safety. The success of the device is owed to the improved air intake which offers more tongue space and larger breathing holes.


FACT: Snorers are much more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia

People who snore are at far greater risk of developing dementia later in life, researchers have said, and, this being regarded as an important medical breakthrough. It is seen as so important that it has been widely reported in the main consumer press, even hitting the front page in some cases.

Depositphotos_11880967_sleeppro

Scientists at Harvard University have found that disorders such as snoring and sleep apnoea that disrupt sleep are linked to greater cognitive decline, Breathing disorders which disrupt sleep have been proved to result in memory loss and a reduced attention span.

Recent figures from the Alzheimer’s Association estimate that obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs in an estimated 3 in 10 men and 1 in 5 women.

Study author Dr Susan Redline from Harvard University, said: ‘Given the lack of known effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, our results support the potential for sleep-disordered breathing screening and treatment as part of a strategy to reduce dementia risk.’

The Harvard University researchers analysed 1,752 people with an average age of 68 and the study’s participants took part in a sleep study, completed a sleep questionnaire and had their mental function assessed.

So-called sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) was defined as having more than 15 stopped or shallow breaths per hour, as well as loud snoring and participants were diagnosed with sleep apnoea if they had more than five stopped or shallow breaths per hour, as well as self-reporting sleepiness.

People were also identified as being at-risk of Alzheimer’s if they carried a certain variation of a gene known as APOE, which carries cholesterol and supports brain injury repair in healthy people. Previous studies have already demonstrated one-fifth of the population who carry the APOE genetic variation are at an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Adequate quality sleep levels are worsening worldwide and this heightens the risk for both Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia in later years. For example The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than one third of American adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis.

“Clearly this is not good for brain health or overall health,” said Dean M. Hartley, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Director of Science Initiatives. “Sleep disordered breathing is treatable in many cases. Through early diagnosis and effective treatment of these sleep disorders, there is the potential to improve cognition and possibly reduce dementia risk.”

Early treatment to prevent snoring or any other more severe form of sleep-disordered breathing is advised by all the relevant medical and professional bodies involved in the research programmes mentioned. The evidence was that treatment reduces the risk significantly.

Most people are unaware if they snore or gasp for air due to the disturbed sleep caused by OSA, unless their partners have noted it, which in most cases is what happens. If you’re unsure then you should contact your Doctor or a Hospital Sleep Centre for testing and further advice.

Critical cases of OSA would likely need to use CPAP, but medically approved oral appliances have shown in tests to be highly successful in preventing both snoring, and mild to moderate cases of sleep apnoea.

These are simple to obtain and comfortable to wear, particularly if they are custom-fitted versions, and they are available at highly affordable prices without prescription. Millions of people worldwide already use them to prevent snoring and the case to use them is now even more important based on this new information.

John Redfern

Sources:
Alzheimer’s Association Press Release
American Thoracic Society Press Release


If you’re a parent with children at school you need to read this.

At some stage or other in life it is estimated that as many as 50% of us suffer from grinding our teeth, mostly at night, but this is not merely an affliction that occurs in adults. New research reported by the BBC has emphasized this in the last week and highlighted that grinding teeth often starts very young due to severe stress and anxiety.

high school girl being bullied by classmates

However a major reason for it starting is now known to be bullying at school. It can lead to children and teenagers having headaches, worn-down teeth and disrupted sleep, and it appears to be rising significantly.

A study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation found that 13 to 15-year-olds who experienced verbal bullying at school were nearly four times as likely to suffer from teeth-grinding at night, or sleep bruxism, than other teenagers. That equated to 65% among the bullied students, compared to 17% among the others.

An oral health charity said parents and schools should be aware of the problem, which can also affect adults who are stressed and anxious.

With the increasing role of social media in this area children are now prone to verbal bullying on a wider basis and for 24 hours a day.

The grinding of our teeth, often called Bruxism, mostly occurs during sleep but it also happens sometimes during the day. In addition to being detrimental to our oral and dental health, the noise from bruxism can often be disturbing for others. It can lead to headaches, jaw pain and daytime tiredness and if left untreated, dental damage will usually occur, leading to tooth loss and gum disease.

Dr Nigel Carter, from the Oral Health Foundation, said bruxism was also something to look out for everywhere and not just in the UK.

“Grinding teeth may not sound like a priority within the wider picture, but it could prove to give a vital insight into a child’s state of mind and could be an important sign for us to identify bullying at an earlier stage.”

He said sleep bruxism could be particularly damaging – but people were often unaware they were doing it and it often went unnoticed and untreated until it had developed into a major problem.

In most cases, grinders end up with flat areas on their teeth and frayed edges as the teeth start to become very thin, and a tell-tale sign is a constant headache or sore jaw when waking up.

There are no medications that will stop sleep bruxism and all dentists will suggest you use a mouth guard.

The good news is that there are several potential treatments. You can acquire a simple dental appliance called a splint, made of a special type of hard plastic, which fits to the shape of your teeth and stops them grinding together. When this basic inexpensive splint is placed briefly into hot water it allows it to be shaped as you bite into it. The aim is to try and make the teeth sit comfortably together. When using the appliance, chewing is smooth and the teeth are protected.

More advanced versions can be made that fit much more comfortably and do an improved job for you. These night guards are custom-made to fit your dental profile and are terrific value. They generally are made to fit the upper set of teeth only but can be requested for the lower set if this is preferred.

Teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea and heavy snoring so it may not be happening in isolation, and care should be taken to check in what form it exists. You may find that a special style of mouthpiece that helps to prevent OSA or heavy snoring may also help you to eliminate the problem of grinding your teeth.

These are called mandibular advancement devices, or MAD’s, and are most commonly used when a sleep disorder like sleep apnoea is the most likely cause. They’re also bespoke and made specifically to fit your jaw and are usually worn over both the top and the bottom teeth. The purpose of this is to bring your bottom jaw forward and this keeps the airway open, preventing snoring and episodes of sleep apnoea, as well as stopping you grinding your teeth.

The choice is yours, as is the choice of price point, but all of the above options are great value when you consider what they will prevent happening.

John Redfern


Type 2 Diabetes Patients Who Have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Could Face Blindness Within Four Years

Senior blind gentleman sitting on a bench with his labrador retriever dog, in a park

Sleep disordered breathing, such as that associated with obstructive sleep apnoea, has long been regarded by medical experts as creating a very high risk of diabetes Type 2. It affects people of all ages but almost doubles the risk for older patients.

People with both sleep apnoea and type 2 diabetes are now known to have more than double the risk of worsening retina disease compared to diabetics without the sleep breathing disorder, a UK study suggests.

Researchers followed adults with type 2 diabetes over about four years and found that for those with milder eye disease at the start, having sleep apnoea was linked to higher odds that it would become more advanced.

This new research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered that patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of developing a condition that leads to blindness within an average period of less than four years.

The worse the sleep apnoea, the faster the progression of diabetic retinopathy, researchers found.

Previous studies have shown a link between OSA and diabetes-related eye problems. However, prior to this research led by the University of Birmingham, published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, there had been no published studies assessing the impact of OSA on the progression of diabetic retinopathy in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The University of Birmingham’s Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, states: “Despite improvements in glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, diabetic retinopathy remains very common.

“Meanwhile, OSA has been shown to be very common in patients with Type 2 diabetes, which is not surprising considering that excess weight contributes to the development of both of these conditions. However, most patients who have OSA are not aware that they have the condition and the disease could go dangerously undiagnosed for years.

“However, more importantly, we have shown that patients with OSA and Type 2 diabetes, compared to those with diabetes only, are at increased risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy over a period of three years and seven months.”

The study was carried out at two diabetes clinics at hospitals in the Midlands and involved 230 patients with Type 2 diabetes. It excluded any patients who were already known to have OSA or any kind of respiratory condition.

The results showed that diabetic retinopathy prevalence was higher in patients with OSA (42.9%) compared to those without OSA (24.1%).

The study found that at a follow-up appointment, over 3 years later, the patients with OSA (18.4%) were much more likely to develop moderate to severe diabetic retinopathy compared to those without OSA (6.1%).

The study also showed that patients who received treatment for OSA had a lower risk of developing advanced diabetic retinopathy compared to patients who did not receive the treatment.

The findings of the study are very important because they can help to explore new treatments for the diabetic retinopathy. After the outcome of the research, clinicians now can take proper preventive measures while treating the patients with OSA and Type 2 diabetes. No doubt testing for OSA is essential because it is very common in Type 2 diabetes patients.

John Redfern

Source:

  • This study was funded by The National Institute for Health Research UK,

Sleepless in Seattle? It’s just the same in New York, LA, London or Sydney.

Woman with insomnia lying in bed with open eyes

If you’re suffering from lack of sleep you’re advised not to take any important decisions. Sleep is an important subject and it matters a great deal to us. We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep, and it is as vital to our well-being as the food we eat and the air we breathe. But our 24-hour culture means we are getting less sleep than ever.

Neurosurgeons have recently researched the subject in depth and have come to the conclusion that there is “remarkably little understanding” of the consequences on the brain of chronic sleep loss. In the research paper they describe the “precipitous decline in sleep duration throughout industrialised nations”, adding that more research was urgently needed.

We all know that it is dangerous to drive, or to work with machinery when tired, because our reaction times are impaired and we might fall asleep at the wheel, but the more subtle effects of sleep deprivation on day-to-day living are far less understood.

Prof Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientist based at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University in London, Ontario, is heading the research project and is launching the new sleep cognition study. The team of researchers involved want people from all over the world to sign up online to do cognitive tests with the Cambridge Brain Sciences website.

It’s full of specially devised computer games that have been designed to test skills such as reasoning, language comprehension and decision-making. The tests can be played on any computer, tablet or smart phone.

Prof Owen stated: “It may be that lack of sleep is having very profound effects on decision making and perhaps we should avoid making important decisions like buying a house or deciding whether to get married when we are sleep deprived.”

He added: “We all know what it feels like to not get enough sleep but we know very little about the effects on the brain so we want to see how it affects cognition, memory and your ability to concentrate.”

The team will collate the cognitive scores and see the variations depending on how much sleep people have had. Everyone’s sleep requirements are different, but if enough people join the study, it may allow scientists to determine the average number of hours needed for having truly optimum brain function.

Lack of sleep is a major worldwide problem and ­people the world over are chasing quality shut-eye, particularly as they have realised that the list of health conditions linked to sleepless nights is rising.

In Australia the Sleep Health Foundation has found that up to 45 per cent of Australian adults sleep poorly or not long enough on most nights. The Foundation’s Professor David Hillman says that the rise of technology is concerning as it is ­robbing people of time that should be spent asleep.

Hillman says data from the foundation’s research shows 12 per cent of respondents said they slept an average of 5½ hours, or less, a night. He says only about 3 per cent of the population is hard wired to sleep so few hours. “We are more challenged than ever. Two hundred years ago there were no electric lights and no electronic media so what did people do overnight? They went to bed and slept. Now we are so interconnected — when Sydney is asleep, New York is awake”.

The struggle for sleep to compete with digital devices is real and the large companies involved are ready to fight. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has named sleep as his main competitor, positioning it above tech rivals Amazon and YouTube.

Many people are looking for help with their sleep problem and are receiving it from bed and mattress companies, and manufacturers of wearable devices for sleep disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep ­apnoea.

Ron Grunstein, a Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Sydney, says the awareness of sleep, and the growing lack of it, is on the rise. “These are the sorts of things people are looking at so that they get better value out of the sleep they do get,” The sleep expert adds that it’s Catch 22 as there is an increasing recognition that sleep problems cause other health problems, as well as health problems causing sleep problems.

Monday July 3rd 2017 to Sunday July 9th 2017 is Sleep Awareness Week

John Redfern


30 Free Apps That Conquer Sleep Problems

free sleep apps

In this article, we've compiled the 30 best sleep apps to help you with those restless nights and to create a routine that will help conquer sleep problems.

 

This includes apps that:

  • Help to tackle sleep issues head on
  • Develop exercise and fitness plans for beginners
  • Offer tons of dietary and smart eating tips
  • Open your mind to the importance of well-being

 

It's no secret that sleep is a huge problem for many, a survey of 15,203 people conducted by Dreams is evidence for this:

 

 
 
It's clear to see that as a nation, we aren't getting enough quality sleep, with only 8% waking up feeling refreshed.
 
A whopping 63.1% aren't happy with the amount of sleep they're getting.
 
I'ts likely that you share the same frustration.
 
Therefore, let's take a look at 30 free apps that could seriously help your health, well-being and most importantly, sleep!

Free Sleep Apps

1. Pzizz

Pzizz is one of the most technologically advanced sleep apps on the market.

A mixture of neurolinguistic programming, enchanting sound effects and binaural beats have been created to create a relaxing state of mind.

100 billion unique soundtracks can be created, so that your subconscious mind doesn't fall into a routine of hearing the exact same sounds.

Pzizz is great for those who are:

  • Lacking Energy
  • Experiencing High Stress Levels
  • Not Achieving Uninterrupted Sleep

 

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

2. Sleep Well Hypnosis

sleep-well-1

sleep-well-2

 

Sleep Well Hypnosis is a highly-rated app which helps restless sleepers and those with insomnia in many ways. The app aims to:

 
  • Help you learn to deal with anxiety.
  • Change your mindset subconsciously.
  • Sleep calmly, deeply and without any fuss.

 

Many users begin to feel and see a difference after just 1-3 weeks, when used on a daily basis.

 

With over 5 million+ downloads, many are seeing the benefits of this app.

 

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

3. Sleep Cycle

sleep-cycle-1

sleep-cycle-2

 

Waking up feeling refreshed is so important for a productive day ahead, and Sleep Cycle makes waking up easy.
 
How?
 
It's intelligent alarm clock will analyse your sleep via sounds and vibrations.
 
It also helps to detect, measure and track your snoring - a helpful tool considering 80% of us don't realise we snore.
 
It then wakes you up within your lightest sleep phase, naturally meaning you feel fully rested and relaxed.
 
Available on iTunes and Google Play.

4. Digipill

digipill-1

digipill-2

 

Described as "the worlds number one self-help app", Digipill contains a number of "hypnotic audio pills" which help to:
 
  • Prevent Insomnia
  • Ease Anxiety
  • Increase Confidence
  • Gain Motivation
  • Reduce Stress


It has a number of free pills which help you to get to sleep in 15 minutes, gain will power to help stay fit and train your brain to relax under pressure.

 

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

5. Relax & Sleep Well

relax-sleep-1

relax-sleep-2

 

Easier said than done, right? Glenn Harrold's app might just be able to make this possible.


Relax and Sleep Well offers quality hypnosis and hypnotherapy, also described as one of the best free meditation apps on the market.

 
This app helps to conquer:
 
  • Insomnia
  • Weight-Loss
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Self-Esteem


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

6. Sleepo


Sleepo offers 32 carefully crafted ambient sounds to help improve sleep and general relaxation.

Split into four groups, choose from nature sounds, city sounds, meditation sounds and rain sounds that help you sleep.


For those using it for healing and meditation purposes, choose from three different types of noise (white, pink and brown).

Available on Google Play.

7. Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep

 

Lacking concentration is another trait that can affect our sleep, and with over half of the US population disengaged at work, simple apps like this can make a huge difference.
 
By taking 10 minutes out of your day you can increase concentration levels drastically over time, thanks to Nature Sound Relax and Sleep.
 
Choose from 6 unique relaxing nature sounds and start your personal audio therapy, sooner rather than later!
 

Available on Google Play.

8. Sleep as Android

Did you know, mental distress is a cause and effect of oversleeping and according to the National Sleep Foundation, around 95% of us have no strict sleeping pattern.


Therefore, establishing a sleep pattern is important to not oversleeping, Sleep Android offers a helping hand with this issue.


It's built in smart alarm clock has sleep cycle tracking which will wake you gently and and the right time every time to ensure a productive day filled with positive energy.


Available on Google Play.

9. SleepTime+

sleep-time-1

sleep-time-2

Sleep Time+ contains an advanced sleep tracking alarm that tracks your sleep quality.

It then offers you advice on how you can sleep better and undisturbed.

No expensive fitness trackers are needed, this award-winning app is so advanced that it doesn't require any.

 

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

10. Sleep Genius

sleep-genius-1

sleep-genius-2

Sleep Genius is another highly-technically advanced app, and has gained recognition by Huffington Post and CBS.


It uses a neurosensory algorithm to help your brain get ready for sleep and guide your brain through each stage of the sleep cycle.


It has been carefully developed by sleep and neuroscience experts, the aim of the app is to help you enjoy the benefits of a physical, emotional and mentally stable nights sleep.


Available on iTunes and Google Play.

11. MotionX 24/7

motionx-1

motionx-2

MotionX 24/7 boasts a unique sleep tracking technology designed to help you sleep better whilst allowing you to wake up refreshed and energised.

It tracks and analyses our sleep patterns throughout the night allowing us to establish:

Available on iTunes.

12. SleepBot

sleepbot-1

sleepbot-2

SleepBot is another highly rated sleep tracker created to help a soothing sleep.

The app contains a ton of features including:

  • 10 custom designed alarm soundtracks
  • Graphs and statistics to see how your sleep improves
  • Quick action tips to help you sleep better
  • Ambient noise to help you fall asleep


As an app that has been recognised by the US National Institute of Health, it's well worth exploring.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

13. Dream Talk Recorder

dream-talk-1

dream-talk-2


Dream Talk Recorder records your dream talks (clue is in the name) and keeps a complete history of your recordings.

You can share your recordings via social media and help to establish how your dreaming might be affecting your sleep.

Plus, most of the recordings will just be hilarious to play back!

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Free Exercise Apps

 

Although our list of free sleep apps all have a bunch of benefits and have worked for so many people (evident from the several million downloads and positive ratings), it's important that an overall healthy lifestyle is kept.
 
 
Guess what? there's an app for that!
 
Take a look at our list of 8 free exercise apps which are great for beginners, intermediate and expert health enthusiasts.

14. Cyclemeter

cyclemeter-1

cyclemeter-2

Cyclemeter is by far one of the most advanced cycling apps on the market.

It doesn't matter if you're not an experienced cyclist, maybe it's something you're looking to start perusing?

It essentially makes your smartphone a fitness computer, tracking your progress with precision.

App features include:

  • Maps, graphs and zones to discover new and recommended routes
  • Records a number of workouts and stores them to track progress
  • Set up appropriate training plans dependent on your ability
  • Share your progress with freinds via social media

And much more!

Available on iTunes.

15. Strava Running & Cycling

Strava is one of the best rated apps on the market that will:

  • Record your physical activities
  • Compare performance over time
  • Allow you to connect with an active community

Track your running, cycling, or any physical activity for that matter, whilst gaining key stats on endurance, performance, elevation and much more.

Watch the video above to find out how to use the app, featuring Dave Erickson.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

16. Fitocracy

fitocracy-1

fitocracy-2

Fitocracy is one of the best community fitness and personal coaching apps available.

Work alongside experts to reach your fitness goals and be part of a community who are all looking to create a healthier lifestyle.

Some of the features include:

  • Free workout routines from the best fitness coaches
  • Personalised nutrition programmes
  • Daily inspiration and conversation

     

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

17. Couch to 5K

couch-1

couch-2


If you consider yourself a bit of a couch slouch, start your running career with the Couch to 5K app.

It's realistic programme has helped thousands of new runners ready for a 5K in just 9 weeks!

Virtual coaches will keep you motivated before, during and after a run.

Plus, tons of stats and progress reports are included to see how your developing.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

18. Nike Training Club

Access 130+ free body workouts to suit your level of exercise with Nike+ Training Club.

Whether you're looking to improve your endurance, strength or want to give yoga a try, this app has it all.

The best bit is you don't have to spend hours a day working out as they provide short workouts that give real results.

Get fully motivated with inspired workouts from a range of athletes including:

• Serena Williams
• Kevin Hart
• Kyrie Irving
• Skylar Diggins
• Rory McIlroy

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

19. The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout

johnson-1

johnson-2

No time? No problem.

The Johnson & Johnson 7 minute workout offers a fast, simple and science-based way to workout.

The app includes:

  • 72 different exercises (in HD video)
  • 22 unique workouts
  • The ability to control music during a workout
  • Personalised workouts based on your fitness levels
  • The option to increase/decrease the intensity of a workout at any time

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

20. My ASICS Run Training

Whether you're just starting out or wanting to train for a 10K marathon, My ASICS has a personalised training plan which will guide you in the right direction.

The app has a ton of features which allow for a personalised running experience, including:

  • Real-time position and running route (via GPS)
  • The ability to track your total run time, distance and average speed.
  • An online logbook where you can save your routes, sync your runs and share achievements.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

21. Charity Miles: Walking & Running Distance Tracker

charity-miles-1

charity-miles-2

Charity Miles offers a unique running experience by allowing you to get fit whilst raising money for charity.

Whether you're earning money by walking, running or cycling, you can track your fitness progress whilst seeing how much money you've earned.

Members have already raised over $2 million for a number of charities including Stand Up To Cancer, Alzheimer's Association, Charity:Water and many more.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Free Healthy Food Apps

 

The relationship between food and sleep is one of the most important to living a healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
 
It's often hard to find the time and money to lead a healthy life style all of the time, but these 5 free healthy eating apps are here to assist.

22. DietBet

dietbet-1

dietbet-2


For those who need that extra spark of motivation to lose weight, DietBet allows you to get paid whilst losing weight

How does it work?

It's simple. You join a group and bet on yourself to lose weight.

If you meet your weight loss goal by the end of the game, you split the pot of money with the other successful players.

The app allows you to choose from two games:

  • Kickstarter - Lose 4% of your weight within 4 weeks
  • Transformer - Lose 10% of your weight in 6 months

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

23. SideChef

Perhaps your out of practice when it comes to cooking from scratch, or you have no experience whatsoever.

SideChef offers simple, healthy step-by-step recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner along with snack and dessert ideas.

The app was built in order to inform, inspire and allow us to have fun whilst preparing food which is good for us.

Discover 3,500+ step-by-step recipes along with integrated timers and voice instructions.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

24. EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry

eatinwell-1

eatinwell-2


You've most likely ended up on the EatingWell website when looking for healthy recipe ideas.

Didn't you know they have an app?

Healthy in a Hurry by EatingWell offers around 200 of there healthiest and fastest recipes ready to browse on your phone.

App features include:

  • Fast recipes with preparation time no longer than 45 minutes
  • Preloaded recipes for instant offline access
  • Nutritional information for each recipe
  • The ability to filter recipes by main ingredient

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

25. Pepperplate

pepperplate-1

pepperplate-2

 

If you consider yourself a bit of a Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, then Pepperplate is the app for you.

Manage your recipes, create your own menus and shop for ingredients with ease - making cooking simple and time efficient.

Other app features include:

  • Multiple cooking timers for meal perfection
  • Create your own recipes or edit existing ones
  • Important recipes from your favourite websites for easy access
  • Create meal schedules dependant on your requirements.
  • Organise your shopping list in to categories for ease

 

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

26. Change4Life Sugar Smart

Known as one the most addictive substances known to man, sugar has even been considered the world's most popular popular drug.

Sugar is also one of the most overlooked ingredients in our food, and if eaten in excess can be a leading source of weight gain and can even affect the way you sleep.

With the Sugar Smart app, developed by Change4Life, you can see the total amounts of sugar in our everyday food and drinks.

The app was created to raise awareness over the issue and to encourage us to make healthier choices in terms of our sugar intake.

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Free Well-Being Apps

 
Having a positive mind set whilst eating healthy foods and exercising will directly affect the quality of sleep we have.
 
So although we've you may only be interested in our first list of free sleep apps, take a look at some of the best free meditation apps and those with our general well-being in mind.

27. Headspace

headspace-1

headspace-2

 

Headspace has quickly become one of the most respected free meditation apps on the market.
 
Originally developed by an ex-monk, Headspace teaches you the essential ways to living a healthier and happier life.
 
It's simple meditation techniques only take 10 minutes out of your day, so there really are no excuses to give this highly-rated meditation app a try. 
 
Available on iTunes and Google Play.

28. MindShift

mindshift-1

mindshift-2

 

Developed by the Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia, MindShift is another hugely respected app created to stop your anxieties taking over your day-to-day life.

 
If you're struggling with anxiety, believe it or not, there are techniques that can drastically reduce your anxiety and stop your fears from taking over.
 
MindShift includes a whole host of strategies to help deal with a number of specific issues, including:
 
  • Sleep problems
  • Social Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Intense Worry
  • Perfectionism

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

29. Live Happy

 

In case you didn't already know, Live Happy Magazine also has an app.
 
Browse and read up articles based on wellness, mindfulness, gratitude and well-being from a group of leading happiness gurus.
 
The app also allows the
ability to stream the latest episodes of Live Happy Now, as well as browsing the archive and watching previous episodes, perfect!

Available on iTunes and Google Play.
 
 

30. My Mood Tracker

 

As human beings, we display a whole host of different emotions, and on occasions it can be quite a lot to deal with.

 
Understanding what causes your emotions to change can also be frustrating but also intriguing, and MyMoodTracker allows you to do just that.
 
The app includes loads of interesting features:

  • Track your mood and emotional state throughout the day
  • Track specific aspects to see how they affect your mood i.e. sleep, exercise, stress.
  • Helpful reminder system (for those who are forgetful).
  • A history of you're notes entered in a detailed chart format.


Keeping track of how you feel is important to improving your mental health and overall well-being, an app well worth exploring to see if it's right for you.

Available on iTunes.

To summarise, we decided to put together the best and most exciting list of free sleep apps on the market to help make us all realise just how crucial a consistent sleeping pattern is to our overall health and well-being.

By exploring these great free mobile apps, not only can you discover the best apps for monitoring and improving sleep, but also apps that are rich in knowledge to creating a healthy life style, a crucial ingredient to sleeping better each night.

We hope our recommended apps are useful and have a positive effect on how you approach sleep, eating well, exercising and the importance of our well being.

Enjoy and be well!


Some snoring is harmful and some isn’t – and this is how to tell the difference

Not all snoring is harmful so it helps to be able to recognise when it’s actually dangerous as it can sometimes cause a very serious lack of oxygen and life threatening sleep disorders. Over one third of the people who snore are believed to have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

OSA Diagram

Overall it is estimated that 60% of men and 40% of women snore by the time they have reached their sixties and if they have OSA, then the primary sleep apnoea symptoms are pauses in breathing during sleep. They’re related to snoring and the resulting lack of oxygen to the brain during sleep.

Not all snoring however is connected to sleep apnoea. Loud breathing noises or ‘snoring’ can be described as a normal event. However sleeping with your mouth open and pauses in breathing may indicate a sleep disorder. If you sleep on your back, your tongue falls into your airway, and pauses in breathing can reach a duration of 10 seconds, and happen as many as 100 times in an hour.

The reason for your snoring stems from the relaxation of the throat muscles when you sleep. Less airway volume can mean that the relaxed throat vibrates when you breathe and this is the universal cause of snoring whether it’s harmful as described above or just ‘normal’ snoring.

In addition to snoring, other symptoms of OSA include:

  • Gasping for air whilst sleeping
  • Waking up with Morning headaches
  • Feeling extra tired during the day
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritability or mood swings

For optimal breathing, we should be breathing through our nose. Sleep apnoea is your body experiencing breathing dysfunction during sleep. Nasal breathing prevents oxygen deprivation and it acts to increase blood flow and deliver oxygen to the lungs.

The tongue is one of the main factors in snoring and sleeping with the mouth open. It can also reveal sleep apnoea symptoms. Your tongue contains and connects to one of the largest groups of muscles in the body and the muscles of the tongue support the airways with connections to the jaws, neck, and base of the skull. It also connects to the hyoid bone, which is a floating bone that supports your airway.

When you go to sleep, the primary muscles inside your tongue and your throat relax and for you to keep your airway open, support muscles for the throat must hold firm. The normal posture of the tongue is to sit against the top of your mouth. This position turns on the muscles that support the throat and the airways.

Sleeping with an open mouth is a sign your tongue is not supporting your airway. The tongue can then fall back into the airway, blocking normal breathing. Mouth breathing can also cause lack of oxygen and OSA.

Sleep disorders have become a bigger problem than ever and this was underlined this week by the NHS figures which reveal that the number of tests carried out by the NHS to diagnose people with sleep disorders across England has doubled in the past decade.

NHS data shows that 147,610 sleep diagnostic tests were carried out last year – compared with 69,919 in 2007-08. This is more than double.

Those with OSA usually manage it by either CPAP treatment, which involves wearing an oxygen mask at night, or by using custom-fitted oral devices that keep the airways open. It also helps to lose weight and in some more extreme cases people can have surgery to remove excess throat tissue.

Doctors attribute the rise in the number of sleep tests to a greater sense of overall public awareness about the wider health implications of not getting enough sleep. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people in the UK suffer from the condition, although doctors warn many people will have never been formally diagnosed.

“Sleep apnoea is a serious condition leading to other problems such as high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to strokes and heart attacks,” said Dr Stephen Bianchi from Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. “We think about 2% of females, and 4% of males in the UK have significant sleep apnoea. We also suspect that 80% of those with the condition are unaware they have it.”

John Redfern


Sleep apnoea is a real danger to everyone and makes no exceptions

This was clearly shown on Friday evening when an announcement from the Los Angeles medical examiner’s office on Carrie Fisher’s cause of death raised the possibility of a lethal interplay of sleep apnoea, drug use and heart disease.

Star Wars - Carrie Fisher

Photograph of Carrie Fisher in Star Wars supplied for incorporation by Rex Features

Carrie Fisher was a well-known Hollywood actress and author who rose to fame in Star Wars playing one of the leading roles as Princess Leia. She collapsed on December 23rd on an 11-hour flight from London to Los Angeles and she died a few days later on December 27th.

In January, the medical examiner initially listed the cause of death as cardiac arrest, which is often confused with a heart attack. While a heart attack is a common cause of cardiac arrest, they are not the same thing. A heart attack occurs when a blockage stops blood flow to the heart, while a cardiac arrest, the sudden stoppage of the heart, is caused by a serious malfunction of the heart’s electrical system.

On Friday The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said the cause of death was clearly caused by “sleep apnoea and other undetermined factors.”

Other findings in the autopsy included atherosclerotic heart disease and the use of multiple drugs, although the significance of the latter isn’t fully known, according to the announcement, which noted that the manner of Fisher’s death has been ruled “undetermined.”

The Greek word “apnea” means “without breath.” People with sleep apnoea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep, sometimes as often as 30 times an hour or more, for a few seconds to more than a minute each time. Most people who have it don’t know it, since the two main signs snoring, and snorting when breathing resumes, both occur during sleep although not everyone who snores has sleep apnoea.

A family member or bed partner is often the first to notice the signs, according to the National Hear, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the USA. Other signs include headaches or a dry mouth upon awakening; daytime sleepiness; an inability to concentrate; feeling irritable or depressed or having mood swings and waking up frequently to urinate, the NHLBI says.

The medical examiner did not specify what type of sleep apnoea Fisher had. Obstructive sleep apnoea, in which the upper airway collapses or becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, is the more common, affecting an estimated 9% of women and 17% of men 50 and older, but fewer people younger than 50, according to the Heart Association. In central sleep apnoea, which is often related to certain medical conditions or medications, the airway isn’t blocked, but the brain fails to properly signal the breathing muscles. Snoring isn’t typically associated with central sleep apnoea but some people have both obstructive and central sleep apnoea.

If not diagnosed and treated, sleep apnoea can lead to serious, potentially fatal health problems. Population-based studies show that people with obstructive sleep apnoea have a significantly greater risk of heart arrhythmias, which can trigger sudden cardiac arrest, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions according to the Heart Association.

Medication isn’t usually used to treat sleep apnoea, but the NHLBI lists several methods that can help open your airway while you sleep:

  • Being overweight or obese is the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnoea, so sometimes losing weight stops apnoea episodes.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Sleep on your side instead of your back.
  • If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, a custom-fitted mouthpiece made by a medically approved specialist can adjust your lower jaw and tongue to keep your airway open.
  • For moderate to severe sleep apnoea, a “continuous positive airway pressure,” or “CPAP” machine is often used. The CPAP machine blows air into your throat while you sleep, helping to keep your airway open.

NHLBI Statements are used courtesy of Forbes Media, New York.

John Redfern


Beauty sleep is a very real thing

According to new research reported by the BBC this week, beauty sleep is a real thing according to Swedish researchers at the Karolinka Institute, and a lack of it is a serious problem to both your looks and your health.

Young woman sleeping at night in bed

This new work has clearly shown that people who miss out on sleep appear far less attractive to others. Their sleep experiments suggest that a couple of bad nights can be enough to make a person look “significantly” more ugly to people who don’t know them.

The results published in the Royal Society Open Science Journal showed that people who had tired faces, were rated by strangers as less healthy and less approachable, and having dark circles under the eyes, and puffy lids, can even put others off socialising with you.

The research was based on student volunteers who were sent home with a small monitor to wear that would measure their movements whilst asleep to check that they had not cheated and slept when they should not have.

They were asked to get a good night’s sleep for two consecutive nights and then a week later, they were asked to restrict themselves to only four hours sleep per night for two nights in a row. The researchers took make-up free photos of the volunteers after both the good and the bad sleep sessions.

A further panel of women and men living in Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm looked at the photos and rated them on attractiveness, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness, as well as asking them: “How much would you like to socialise with this person in the picture?”

Those who looked tired in the photographs were easily identified and their scores for attractiveness suffered. In addition those looking at the photographs said that they would be less willing to socialise with the tired students, who were also perceived to be much less healthy.

We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep but how much sleep an individual takes and actually needs can vary greatly. Leonardo Da Vinci, Edison, Napoleon and Margaret Thatcher all survived on less than four hours a night but many of us aren’t getting enough shut-eye to function properly.

A good night’s sleep is also very important to one’s overall health but people think little about it until they cannot do it.

Along with the physical changes that happen to all of us as we get older, changes to our sleep patterns may also occur. As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age, but our sleep needs remain constant throughout life.

Snoring, a condition that gets worse with age is the primary cause of sleep disruption for many adults and is most commonly associated with persons who are overweight. In addition, older people spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep.

Loud snoring is particularly serious as it can be a symptom of sleep apnoea. In sleep apnoea, breathing stops and the amount of oxygen in the blood drops. This alerts the brain, causing you to wake-up and resume breathing. These stoppages of breathing can occur repeatedly, causing multiple sleep disruptions throughout the night and result in excessive daytime sleepiness and impaired daytime function.

Untreated, sleep apnoea puts a person at risk for cardiovascular disease, headaches, memory loss and depression. If you experience snoring on a regular basis and it can be heard from another room or you have been told you stop breathing during your sleep, these are signs that you might have sleep apnoea and it should be discussed with your medical advisor.

Sleep studies are prone to concluding that we’re all sleep-deprived. In fact, scientists aren’t really sure of the exact amount of sleep required, and studies find that the requirement varies significantly from one person to another, for reasons not fully understood.

One thing is sure however – you’ll certainly know if you’ve had enough quality sleep and whether you feel bright and refreshed the next day. It’s easy to do things to improve it such as preventing snoring. That’s something both you and your partner will both benefit from and you’ll feel the difference quickly.

Make sure you play the part of Beauty and not that of the Beast.

John Redfern