Advice on how to sleep more healthily as you get older

Sleep becomes harder as we get older, with research showing that we are more likely to wake up during the night and earlier in the morning. A report by the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) says the over-50s should be aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to stay mentally sharp in later life.

Senior man sleeping on sofa

The report, ‘The Brain–Sleep Connection’, was drawn up by council members who met to review the latest scientific evidence on sleep and issue practical tips to help older people get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.

James Goodwin, chief scientist at Age UK, which jointly founded the council, says in a statement: “Sleeping is something we all tend to take for granted, but we really have to wise up to the fact that getting the right amount of good sleep is crucial as we age, helping to protect us from all kinds of problems that can affect our brains as well as our bodies.

As we age, our cognitive functioning declines; we might have problems remembering names, forget where we left our keys, or have trouble learning new information. For some older individuals, the decline in cognitive functioning can be more severe, potentially leading to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

According to James Goodwin: “The message is that in order to stay mentally sharp in later life – something we all care passionately about – you have to take care of your sleep.”

A number of things are listed but among the most important are to avoid looking at an electronic screen of any kind after you get into bed, including tablets, phones and laptops.

They advise cutting out alcohol in the last couple of hours of the day, losing some weight if necessary, and keeping your feet as warm when in bed.

One huge problem as we age of course is snoring, but nowadays it can be prevented by the use of a simple stop snoring mouthpiece, or a chin support strap. These don’t need a prescription, are inexpensive, and highly efficient. Those from companies such as SleepPro are medically approved by the NHS and are easily available online. They are even approved for the prevention of mild to moderate sleep apnoea.

After the council was set up in 2015, one of its founding partners, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), carried out a survey which discovered that sleep was the number one topic of interest for the over-50s and that 84% of them wanted to know more about sleep and brain health.

Sarah Lock, AARP’s senior vice president for policy, says in a statement: “It’s normal for sleep to change as we age, but poor quality sleep is not normal.”

A further new study by John Hopkins University in Baltimore brings some good news for older adults who enjoy an afternoon nap, after finding that a 1-hour siesta may improve memory and thinking skills.

Previous research has suggested that napping can improve cognitive performance for older adults, while other research has indicated that daytime napping can improve memory by fivefold.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, an afternoon nap of around 20-30 minutes is best for boosting alertness and mental performance, without interfering with your night-time’s sleep.  The new study, however, suggests that an afternoon nap of around 1 hour is ideal for improving cognitive functioning among older adults.

The study reports that nearly 60% of participants reported engaging in post-lunch napping, with the average nap lasting for around 1 hour. When compared with those who had no nap, the researchers found that participants who had a moderate afternoon nap performed far better in a wide range of cognitive tests.

The answer is to relax, have a suitable nap in the afternoon, and get a good night’s sleep by cutting out alcohol, late nights viewing tablets, phones and computers, and snoring.

John Redfern.

Snoring could be a sign that you need help – but how do you find out?

Snoring can be infuriating if you are on the receiving end. But next time you feel forced to kick your partner out of bed for keeping you up all night, or take refuge in the spare room, bear in mind that anything more than an occasional snore could be a sign they need professional help.

Annoyed wife blocking her ears from noise of husband snoring in bedroom at home

Far from something to be brushed off, these nocturnal noises are rarely benign, as any relevant authoritative health website will tell you. Typically, caused by a combination of physiological and environmental factors, snoring may rather surprisingly harm the body in a number of ways.

There are a number of ways in which it can harm you.

The constant vibration of habitual heavy snoring causes damage and inflammation to the throat, and may be linked to thickening of the carotid arteries, which run up the sides of the neck supplying the head with blood.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, say that this increases the risk of artherosclerosis – the furring of the insides of the blood vessels – and increased chances of stroke. Compared to non-snorers, snorers were found to have significantly thicker arterial walls, an early sign of cardiovascular disease. Surprisingly, those with high cholesterol, diabetes and those who smoked did not have thickened carotid arteries, leading the researchers to state that snoring was the biggest health concern for this group.

Those with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) had bigger problems. It is a disorder that occurs due to the collapse of the airway during sleep and causes loud snoring and periodic interruptions in breathing. It has long been linked to heart disease and a range of other serious health problems.

The condition is thought to affect about five per cent of the world’s adult population to some degree, with 250,000 Britons suffering what is deemed a severe form of it, and higher percentages still in some countries – particularly the USA and some Asian nations. However, in the UK alone, some 25 million people are thought to be habitual snorers, without OSA. Most sufferers are however remain undiagnosed and as a result in danger.

If you’re a heavy snorer it’s important to find out if you suffer from OSA and find appropriate help and advice before it’s too late. There are physical signs that will help to identify this but those who want to be exactly sure would benefit from a Home Sleep Test – a simple, quick, and very inexpensive way to find out the severity of the problem, and discover if you have OSA – or not. Not all snorers have OSA but all OSA sufferers snore.

Those who snore and don’t have OSA will benefit from using an approved stop snoring appliance – dependent on whether you snore through an open mouth or through the nose – and there are preventive devices for both forms that work incredibly well and very fast for most people.

Whether you require a stop snoring mouthpiece, or a chin support strap, you and other members of your family will benefit in many ways from you stopping snoring. Harmony will prevail as the nightly thunder ends, and everyone will benefit from having a better night’s sleep. You’ll wake feeling refreshed and suffer less from daytime tiredness and irritability. Sharing bedrooms is fine once more and your marriage will be on a better footing.

If you’re pregnant it will also help you considerably even if for a short period of time. An earlier study from the same team showed that women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at high risk of increased blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, particularly during the second and third trimesters.

The NHS recommends a sleep study, where your brain waves, breathing, blood oxygen levels, heart rate and movements while asleep are recorded, via the use of a simple oximeter attached to the end of your finger. This is a small item that produces large amounts of data to help you.

Patients diagnosed with OSA from sleep tests are offered a range of options.

If the OSA is severe, this should be followed by CPAP treatment under the supervision of your Doctor. Less severe forms of OSA can to be treated by the use of a ‘mandibular advancement’ device, which holds the jaw forward to keep airways open. This is simpler – but is highly effective and recommended by the NHS for approved selected appliances.

John Redfern

Caring for your mouthpiece is an important part of your dental care

Just like teeth or dentures it’s important to keep your stop snoring mouthpiece clean and germ-free. The season doesn’t matter.

collage of photographs on the theme of dental care and healthy teeth

Hot, humid summer weather brings uncomfortable nights and also needs you take more care with oral hygiene, as germs breed more rapidly. The winter is no different, as central heating can cause bacteria to proliferate.

Regular cleaning and care will not just keep your mouthpiece fresh and pleasant tasting, it will also keep it free from stains if you adopt the right cleaning solution programme.

Equally important is the fact that good appliance care will extend the life of your vital mouthpiece and make the need for replacement less frequent.

Lets not forget that the prevention of germs in this way is vital part of helping you to keep a healthy mouth. It helps you to keep your teeth, and means you need to have less dental treatment. The two main causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease and the better you prevent or deal with these two problems, the more chance you will have of keeping your teeth for life.

Keeping your oral appliance germ free is an important part of your own personal daily routine to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and as part of a constant strategy to provide improved products to support customers, SleepPro have focused very closely on this important aspect of oral hygiene.

Recently a new liquid cleaner has been added to the range that is specifically formulated with the same antibacterial components as their successful specialist cleaning tablets, Fresh & Clean.

SleepPro Daily Cleaning Liquid is designed for daily use, by applying a small amount of liquid directly onto your mouthpiece and brushing it gently, paying attention to the small nooks and crevices that could harbour debris and bugs. Afterwards rinse it under cold running water to leave it fresh and hygienically clean. Alternatively you can clean your existing mouthpiece regularly with Fresh & Clean tablets. Each pack contains 20 tablets and is ideal for at least weekly use to keep your SleepPro fresh and clean.

Used sparingly, one bottle of Liquid Cleaner will last up to 6 months and can be purchased singly, or with our cleaning tablets, which provides a deep clean soak option for a perfect weekly or bi-weekly cleaning regime.

Recognising the importance of oral hygiene, SleepPro they have also added a special anti-microbial protection polymer in the making two of the most popular and effective appliances.

This protection has now been built into the two latest versions of SleepPro Custom and SleepPro Easifit, named Custom AM and Easifit AM to set them apart from the basic version, and for only a tiny price premium they’ll provide you with complete protection from germs with that mouthpiece. The most important benefit of an antimicrobial additive, aside from offering protection, is that it does not change the product into which it is integrated.

It will not affect the aesthetics of products, it will have no negative impact on performance, and it will not wear off or wash away.

The new AM technology not only makes your SleepPro mouthpiece more hygienic, but keeps it fresher for longer, as well as protecting both the surface of the appliance and helping to preserve a good comfortable fit. It provides long-lasting protection by creating a surface barrier upon which microbes cannot survive and extends the lifetime of the oral appliance.

They’re fully approved by the NHS who regularly issue them direct to snoring and sleep apnoea sufferers in many hospitals – and as well as stopping you from snoring, they’ll now protect you from most germs and infection.

Take good care of your mouthpiece and it will take good care of you.


John Redfern

Living near a busy road doesn’t just make you snore – it causes dementia

Everyone who considers buying a property near a main road considers the noise problem, but there are worse things to take into count and it has now been strongly linked in a report in The Lancet to higher rates of dementia. Scientists have already found that heavy snoring at night and intense sleepiness during the day are strongly linked to traffic pollution.

Sleeppro stop snoring mouthpiece

Air pollution has also been shown to increase the risk of snoring, lung cancer, heart disease and asthma and causes 40,000 deaths in Britain annually.

Dementia is a major world problem and growing in severity. At the moment there are 50 million diagnosed cases but the causes that rob people of their memories and brainpower are not yet clearly understood.

People living near major roads have higher rates of dementia, the research published in the Lancet suggests. The researchers who followed nearly 2m people in Canada over 11 years, say air pollution or noisy traffic could be contributing to the brain’s decline. About 10% of cases in people living within 50m of a major road could be down to traffic, the study suggests.

Dementia experts in the UK said the findings needed further investigation but were “certainly plausible”.

The study in the Lancet followed nearly two million people in the Canadian province of Ontario, between 2001 and 2012. There were 243,611 cases of dementia diagnosed during that time, but the risk was greatest in those living closest to major roads.

More than ten million Britons are at a higher risk of dementia because they live near a busy road, scientists have concluded. Those living in big cities were up to 12 per cent more likely to develop dementia as a result of traffic fumes, according to a study of more than six million people. The risk increased with proximity to heavy traffic.

The scientists said that their findings were “of real public health significance” and the results would increase pressure for tougher curbs on pollution. More than 200,000 people a year develop dementia in Britain. One in ten cases in people living near busy city streets could be explained by pollution, according to researchers, who call for homes to be built further from traffic.

“This is an important paper,” says Prof Martin Rossor, the UK’s National Institute for Health Research director for dementia research. He added: “The effects are small, but with a disorder with a high population prevalence, such effects can have important public health implications.”

Prof Tom Dening, the director of the Centre for Dementia at the University of Nottingham, said: “It is certainly plausible that air pollution from motor exhaust fumes may contribute to brain pathology that over time may increase the risk of dementia, and this evidence will add to the unease of people who live in areas of high traffic concentration.

Compared with those living 300m away from a major road the risk was 7% higher within 50m, 74% higher between 50-100m but only 2% higher between 101-200m. The analysis suggests 7-11% of dementia cases within 50m of a major road could be caused by traffic.

One of the report authors from Public Health Ontario, said: “Increasing population growth and urbanisation have placed many people close to heavy traffic, and with widespread exposure to traffic and growing rates of dementia, even a modest effect from near-road exposure could pose a large public health burden.

Our previous research was published in September last year, and demonstrates that snoring is linked to earlier onset of cognitive impairment such as dementia and Alzheimer’s and this new research underlines it.

It’s an expensive long-term task to lower areas of strong air pollution – but not to stop snoring. It’s fast, and can even be achieved overnight in many cases, can be easily done, and costs next to nothing.

SleepPro Stop Snoring products are medically approved, and not just recommended by the National Health Service, but many Hospitals and Sleep Centres supply them directly to patients in most need. Other patients are put in touch online and given the SleepPro Stop Snoring literature that covers the range of products with prices that are affordable everyone. These range from under £30 to just over £150 according to the type of appliance needed and the degree of the problem’s severity.

John Redfern


It’s time for a big decision – one that could even save your life  

Figures published this week demonstrate clearly that well over 80% of middle-aged adults are putting themselves at serious risk though their unhealthy lifestyle, and millions of people are now living with some form of long-term health condition.


Many Health Authorities, including Public Health England, say they want people to turn over a new leaf in 2017 and make a pledge to get fit. Over 80% of people aged 40 to 60 in England are overweight, snore heavily, drink too much or get too little exercise, the government body warns.

We are living longer, but are in poorer health as we age, and Prof Muir Gray, the campaign’s clinical adviser said it was about trying to make people have a different attitude. Modern life is dramatically different to even 30 years ago,” Prof Gray stated. “People now drive to work and sit at work.”

“By taking action in mid-life, you can reduce your risk not only of type 2 diabetes, which is a preventable condition, but you can also reduce your risk of dementia and disability and being a burden to your family.”

In line with this, experts at the London School of Economics have called for the suggested daily calorie intake of 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men to be reduced. They claim that technology allows people to work, socialise and shop without leaving the sofa, and has driven the obesity crisis.

Being overweight is the key problem and many people no longer recognise what a healthy body weight looks like, say the officials. Obesity, which greatly increases the risk of diabetes, is increasingly considered normal. Overweight or obese adults are more than five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are at a healthy weight.

As explained last week, it’s a vicious circle. Putting weight on causes you to snore which influences snacking and increases appetite. The added weight which results causes further snoring and we then eat more again as a result. This is a problem that is easily resolved of course and a simple medically approved mouthpiece can be purchased online which will stop your snoring immediately. It’s inexpensive, and no prescription is needed.

It is obviously important to eat less, or differently, to exercise more than you normally do, and also to reduce alcohol consumption if possible. Preventing snoring will assist greatly. You’ll sleep better and feel well rested and it will result in a reduction in your desire for late night snacking and overeating as we described previously.

The figures for the United Kingdom are not unique and are typical of most other developed countries. An analysis of national data by Public Health England reveals that 87 per cent of men and 79 per cent of women in middle age are either overweight or obese, exceed the weekly alcohol guidelines or are physically inactive. The rate of diabetes in this age group has more than doubled in the past 20 years and snoring is the alarm bell.

More than 25% of Britons are living with a long-term health condition, and busy lives and desk jobs make it difficult to live healthily. But just making a few small changes will have significant benefits to people’s health now and in later life.”

Guidance issued by the chief medical officer warns that while no amount of alcohol can be considered safe, adults should not consume more than 14 units a week — the equivalent of about seven 175ml glasses of wine. In the 40 to 60 age group a quarter of men and women regularly consume too much alcohol, according to PHE, increasing their risk of liver disease and at least five types of cancer.

The health watchdog announced this month that people who had two or three alcoholic drinks a night would be sent for liver scans by their GPs to deter “heavy drinking”.

Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK, said: “We know that people often bury their heads in the sand when it comes to their general health but the consequences of doing nothing can be catastrophic.

“There are an estimated 11.9 million people at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the UK alone because of their lifestyle and more than one million who already have the condition but have not yet been diagnosed. They need to take action in this matter now”.

John Redfern

We all love to eat well at Christmas – but is it good for us?

Of course it is.  It’s one of life’s great pleasures and all that lovely festive food and drink is only for a couple of days after all. However overeating on a regular basis can lead to serious health problems, as it will cause you to have poorer quality, disturbed sleep which can be dangerous.


The latest research has now proved that sleep loss leads to extra calorie consumption – and the extra weight that is gained in the throat will make you snore, which will of course ruin your sleep and so on…and on…and on.

It’s a vicious circle – and you’re not the only the loser as it can disturb your partner or other family members too.

A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who don’t get enough sleep consumed an extra 385 calories the following day. The findings are based on research by King’s College London, who also reviewed 11 older studies and compared people who didn’t get enough sleep and those who did and also looked at what they ate afterwards.

Some previous research studies had shown that if you woke in the night, it was quite likely that you’d get out of bed and make yourself a a drink, or more likely have a snack of some sort.

Unlike the ‘midnight munchies’, the research team didn’t find that sleep deprived people necessarily ate more. Instead they found that their choice of food the next day was sometimes different to those who had a healthy amount of sleep. This meant they tended to opt for food that was higher in fat and lower in protein. They didn’t see any change in the amount of carbohydrates they ate.

The result of this change led to an increase in calorie intake, with the risk of unwanted weight gain, because people in the studies didn’t use up any more energy, regardless of their sleep habits.

There may be some truth in the saying ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise’.

Lead author Gerda Pot from the Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division at Kings College says in a statement: “The main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure and this study adds to accumulating evidence that sleep deprivation could contribute to this imbalance.

Sleep deprivation followed by increased calorie intake could lead to sustained weight gain over the long term. “Reduced sleep is one of the most common and potentially modifiable health risks in today’s society in which chronic sleep loss is becoming more common,” says Gerda Pot.

One of the main results is heavy snoring due to the excess weight gained on the neckline, and often combined with ageing muscular structure, which allows the throat to close on itself more readily.

Catherine Collins, a registered dietitian who reviews articles for BootsWebMD, says the extra calories will almost certainly come from snack foods. “It will be biscuits, it will be cakes, it will be crisps and savoury snacks that tend to be lower in protein but have more fat – and probably more calories in proportion as well,” she tells us.

She says this is the first review that quantifies the calorific effect from poor sleep. “That is quite a substantial part of your 2,000 calories a day, which is why people are overeating. Three-hundred-and-eighty-five calories – put it in perspective, that’s like 2 packets of crisps, or it’s a decent sized bar of chocolate. It doesn’t seem a lot but here’s more than one snack there.”

The heavy snoring, or even obstructive sleep apnoea, results in oxygen deprivation, and if it is not controlled it has been proved that there is a huge list of potential problems. This includes stroke. Cardiovascular problems, hypertension, diabetes, short attention span, irritability, daytime tiredness and an increase in earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Regardless of this most snorers and sleep apnoea sufferers ignore the problem and don’t prevent or control it by the use of the easily obtained simple oral appliances that are medically approved but need no prescription – they are easily available online at easily payable prices. They are great value when it is considered what they prevent.

Merry Christmas. Enjoy a ‘Silent Night’ – and do it often by acting now to stop snoring and prevent its dangers happening to you.

John Redfern.





Sleep apnoea treatment may lower hard-to-control blood pressure

People who suffer from high blood pressure can have different challenges, but up to 40% suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, often termed as OSA. There’s now a very clear message emerging from all the recent medical research into the problems of high blood pressure, and it is this:

A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine indicates that having therapy for sleep apnoea could potentially have a positive impact on sleep among patients who suffer from hypertension.

President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler stated, “High blood pressure that is resistant to treatment with medications is a strong warning sign for the presence of OSA, a chronic disease that increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. Over one-third of patients with hypertension and nearly eight out of 10 patients with treatment-resistant hypertension have obstructive sleep apnoea.

So if you snore heavily, or have severely disturbed sleep where you gasp for air, then don’t ignore it because it will get worse and not go away. Lots of cases go undiagnosed because many people simply aren’t aware they have OSA but their partners will be as they will have observed them stop breathing, and even gasp for air without realising or remembering that they’ve done it. They will suffer from tiredness all the next day as a result.

Sleep apnoea, a potentially severe sleep disease that makes patients stop breathing repeatedly for short periods of time while sleeping, is among the most common diseases that cause pulmonary hypertension. These findings just might explain why sleep apnoea, which causes a person to have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while sleeping, impairs the quality of life of so many who have high blood pressure.

During the study, researchers discovered a real improvement in daytime sleepiness, depressive symptoms, and fatigue after initiating treatment and even more so in those patients who suffered from resistant hypertension.

A person is classified as having resistant hypertension if they are taking a diuretic and at least two other blood pressure medications, but their blood pressure still isn’t improving. It is generally agreed that if a person is taking multiple medications in a desperate effort to get high blood pressure down, they could be putting themselves at a higher risk for a cardiovascular event.

About 900 patients with sleep apnoea and hypertension were involved in the study and 15% were confirmed to have OSA in some degree of severity.

Although the authors of the study have indicated that they don’t know of any other previous studies examining changes in sleep function outcomes with PAP therapy in patients with hypertension, there has been research suggesting that OSA and high blood pressure have a definite association.

Experts at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have suggested that high blood pressure that is resistant to treatment with standard medications is a strong warning sign that sleep apnoea could be present and that it could increase an individual’s risk for heart disease and stroke. They encourage anyone with high blood pressure to analyse their risk for sleep apnoea and treat it accordingly.

Mild to moderate versions of sleep apnoea are now well catered for by the use of a medically approved specialist custom made oral appliance, such as SleepPro Custom. It is similar to a sports guard and is worn when sleeping. It moves the jaw forward slightly which keeps the airway open and lessens the oxygen deprivation, resulting in deeper more rewarding sleep.

Severe OSA needs to be treated with a special breathing mask that supplies oxygen, but may patients reject these due to discomfort and other reasons. They are asked to use an oral appliance if this is the case as treatment of this type is far better than nothing at all. If you’re unsure of what to do then you should discuss it with your Doctor or local Sleep Centre who may wish for you to take an overnight Sleep Test. These are often done at the Centre – but many simpler tests are now available that can be done at home.

Remember that the presence of OSA and high blood pressure makes you more susceptible to heart failure, stroke or sudden death. When diagnosed early, treatment can reduce the symptoms and the risk of early death.

John Redfern

Ever find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth? Stop it.

Clenching teeth in a stressful situation is common, scientists say, but there’s a related medical condition that’s much more severe. Called bruxism, which means “to gnash the teeth”, it can cause sore jaw muscles and headaches. In severe cases, people can clench hard enough to crack a tooth.

Over the long term, bruxism sufferers gnash their teeth so much that it can cause them to wear down. In severe cases, people can clench hard enough to crack a tooth.

SleepPro Night Guard

We’ve all heard the old phrase ‘Grit your teeth and get on with things’ but in this case you should be determined that it’s something that you need to stop doing. Your teeth are not meant to be clenched and in contact all the time. They should only briefly touch each other when you swallow or chew. If they are in contact too often or too forcefully, it can wear down the tooth enamel, which is the outer protective layer that covers each tooth. Without this to protect the inner parts of your teeth, you may have dental problems.

Clenching or grinding your teeth regularly can also lead to severe and unpleasant pain in the jaw or in the muscles of the face. Bruxism in the majority of cases happens during sleep, but there are some people who also suffer from this when they are awake.

Who has bruxism?
It is thought that about 50% of us grind our teeth from time to time but it is be only serious in about 1 in 20 cases. About 30% of children grind or clench their teeth, but grow out of this with no lasting effects to their adult teeth.

What causes it?
There are many reasons for bruxism such as emotional stress (e.g. anger and anxiety), some drugs (e.g. stimulants), having to concentrate hard, illness, dehydration, the wrong diet, sleep problems, teething (in babies), bad tooth alignment and problems with dental work. Some people can also get bruxism as a side effect of anti-depressants and if you let your doctor know of this side effect, you may be changed to a different drug

How do I know if I have it?
You may not know that you grind your teeth while you are asleep. A bed partner may be the first person to notice grinding sounds and noises. Other clues may be morning symptoms of a dull headache, jaw muscles that hurt or are tight, trouble opening the mouth wide, long lasting pain in the face, damage to the teeth and broken dental fillings.

To be sure that you suffer from sleep bruxism, a simple home sleep study may be needed. A sleep study looking for bruxism by itself is not common, but it may uncover other sleep problems such as chronic snoring or even signs of some degree of the dangerous obstructive sleep apnoea.

Can it get worse?
Many cases of bruxism are mild and cause little harm. If so, the person usually does not know that they are grinding their teeth. But more serious cases may damage the teeth and result in facial pain and poor sleep. Nightly sounds can also wake other people sleeping nearby such as roommates and sleeping partners. If you know that you have this problem, then you should take action to prevent any serious consequences.

How is bruxism treated?
There are no medications that will stop sleep bruxism but most dentists will suggest that a mouth guard can be made to alleviate or even totally prevent the resulting problems and pain. It is like a sports mouth guard, but It will help protect the teeth, muscles and jaw joint from the intense pressure of clenching and grinding. It will not stop bruxism, but it will lessen the damage to your teeth, and eliminate the aches and discomfort of doing so.

The protective guard is worn when sleeping and they are not just recommended by dentists, but by practically every other medical authority or association, including the Sleep health Foundation, the many national Health Services, and reputable, trusted online services such as WebMD.

How do I get a Night Guard?
Night Guards, or occlusal splints to give them their correct dental name, can cost anywhere from around £150 up to £500 (US$150 – US$650) if supplied and fitted by your dentist, and they can obviously not just save pain but a lot of on-going dental expense. Effective, recommended versions are however easy to purchase online and are much less costly. They are simple to obtain from experienced medically approved companies such as Meditas who operate worldwide, who will supply a SleepPro Night Guard to fit your dental profile from as little as £37.99 (US$ 50), and will also include a second ‘back up’ copy for half price which makes a lot of sense.

John Redfern

If you’re sleep-deprived you’re costing your country billions

Sleep-deprived workers are costing the world economy billions every year and those involved also face a much higher risk of an earlier death as a result.  The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether says a new study of 62,000 workers.

Mature woman cannot sleep at night time

The study evaluated the economic cost of insufficient sleep in the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan, and said the loss equated to an average of 1.86% of economic growth across the total number of countries evaluated.

The main impact was on health, with those sleeping less than six hours a night 13% more likely to die earlier than those getting seven to nine hours sleep each night.

Even though the impact of tired workers in the UK may sound bad, it still ranked better than both the US and Japan which lost the most working days due to lack of sleep. According to the study, the ‘healthy sleep range’ is anywhere between seven and nine hours per night.

In rank order, starting with the worst measured, the figures are as follows:

1.    The USA loses 1.2 million working days a year, costing the country $411bn (£328bn) or 2.28% of GDP

2.    Japan loses 600,000 working days a year, costing them $138bn or 2.92% of GDP

3.    The UK loses 200,000 working days a year, costing the country about £40bn, or 1.86% of GDP

4.    Germany loses 200,000 working days a year, costing $60bn, or 1.56% of GDP

5.    Canada loses 80,000 working days a year, costing them $21.4bn or 1.35% of GDP

It is anticipated that similar figures, or perhaps worse for some, exist in all the other more advanced nations such as Australia, New Zealand, other European countries, and those in Asia.

Separate figures published for Australia state that sleeping conditions such as sleep apnoea cost the Australian community more than $5 billion a year in health and indirect costs, with the impact to quality of life estimated to be worth more than AUD $31 billion a year. It is growing worse as a problem year by year according to the Australasian Sleep Association.

The new report called on employers to recognise and promote the importance of sleep, even urging them to build nap rooms for staff to use. It said they should also discourage staff from “extended use” of electronic devices after working hours, and individuals were advised to wake up at the same time each day and exercise during the day to improve their sleep.

“The effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and well-being but it has a significant impact on a nation’s economy,” said Marco Hafner, a research leader at Rand Europe and the report’s main author.

Mr Hafner said that even small changes could make a big difference, adding that if those people in the UK who were currently sleeping under six hours a night increased this to between six and seven hours, it would add £24bn to the UK’s economy immediately.

In the US alone, the average worker loses 11.3 working days or $2,280 (£1,700) of productivity per year due to sleep deprivation, according to a report done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It has become so important now in the US that some companies pay their staff to sleep.

The staff at insurance group Aetna, are paid an extra $300 each year to get a good night’s sleep. Such is the US firm’s concern about the impact of sleep deprivation on employee performance, that it encourages its workers to sign up to a scheme that rewards them for getting at least seven hours of shut-eye per night. Aetna staff that participate earn $25 for every 20 nights in which they sleep over seven hours or, up to a limit of $300 in 12 months.

Introduced in 2014, 17,300 of the firm’s 49,500 employees participated last year, an increase from 12,300 in 2014. Staff are trusted to manually record how long they have slept every night. The firm’s staff are also given extra funds if they do exercise.

Insomnia, snoring, and sleep apnoea are the biggest causes, made worse by other things such as stress, alcohol, eating late and ‘blue light’ activity. All of these can be controlled and inexpensive, medically approved stop snoring appliances are available easily online.

John Redfern