|Home | Newsletter | Articles
Read Past Articles Wake Up! You’re Snoring…
News, Information and Tips on How to Stop Snoring.
Read past articles here…
> Dimming Smartphone Brightness Can Help Sleep Better
> Work in an Office? Daylight Improves Sleep, Activity and Quality of Life
> Those with Untreated Sleep Apnea at Higher Risk for Car Accidents
> New Study: Link Between Sleep Loss and Cardiovascular Disease, Sleep Apnea
> Children with Sleep Apnea More Likely to Have Behavioral and Learning Problems
> CPAP Treatment Found to Reduce Inflammation in Sleep Apnea Patients
> Children’s Subconscious Learning More Effective than Adults
> Pillar Procedure Confirmed Effective in Treatment of Snoring and Sleep Apnea
> New Study Shows Snoring a Top Predictor of Heart Attacks and Stroke
> New Review Updates Effects of Alcohol on Sleep
> Women with Sleep Apnea Suffer More Brain Damage
> Sleep Disorders Costing Businesses Billions Worldwide
> Get more sleep to feel less pain, says new study
> This holiday, give yourself the gift of sleep!
> Sleep, Hunger and Weight Gain: New Study Uncovers the Link
> What Bees Can Teach Us about Poor Sleep and Memory
> Poor Sleep in Adolescents Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Disease
> Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Apnea Crucial to Stroke Prevention
> Studies Mount Linking Sleep Apnea to Cancer Risk
> Does an Irregular Sleep and Meal Schedule Cause Weight Gain?
> New Study: Less than 6 Hours Sleep/Night a Stroke Risk
> National Sleep Foundation Launches New Sleep Education Website
> Lack of Sleep is Stressing Us Out, New Study Says
> Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea
> Ready to Treat Your Sleep Apnea? You Have Options
> How to Stay Cool and Sleep Well on Hot Summer Nights
> Is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness the Cause of Learning and Behavior Problems in Children?
> Is Alcohol Helping You Sleep? Not According to Research
> New Study: Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Weight Gain
> Sleep Breathing Problems Associated with Symptoms of Depression
> Transportation Workers Are Sleepy On the Job, Says New Study
> How Do You Know if You Have a Sleep Disorder?
> Women and Sleep Apnea: At Greater Risk Than We Thought
> New Study: Mediterranean Diet and Exercise Eases Sleep Apnea Symptoms
> New Study: Those Who Exercise Sleep Better and Feel More Rested
> FAA Passes Rule to Avoid Pilot Sleepiness
> The Relationship between Seasonal Affective Disorder and Sleep Problems
> New Research Finds Protein Stimulates Energy, Glucose Inhibits
> New Study Identifies Brain Cells That Regulate Sleep Response
> Dr. Volpi’s Advice on Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
> Say It Isn’t So! Lack of Sleep Leads to Lack of Sex
> Is Your Biological Clock Ticking Out of Time?
> This Fall, Get Ready to Sneeze
> Announcing: REM Sleep, Eos Sleep’s Affiliated Sleep Center
> Women with Sleep Apnea at Risk for Dementia
> The Provent Device® — An Innovative Little Alternative to CPAP
> The Benefits of Embracing the Siesta
> Will Your Company Spare you for a Few ZZZ’s?
> Does the School Bully Snore?
> Is Sleep Apnea Ruining Your Sex Life?
> Allergies or Sinusitis? Alarming New Study Shows Americans Misdiagnosing Themselves
> How Much Sleep is Good Sleep?
> Tips to Prepare for Bed
> As if Menopause Isn’t Bad Enough…
> Cold vs. Allergy? How Can You Tell?
> Snoring from a Stuffy Nose?
> Obesity and Snoring: The Vicious Circle of Sleep Deprivation
> Can the Brain Compensate for a Lack of Oxygen from Sleep Apnea?
> Loud Snoring Predicts Metabolic Syndrome
> Thanks for the Memories, CPAP
> Snoring and Drowsy Driving
> Tips for Staying Awake at the Wheel
> Brain Damage from Snoring?
> Sleep Apnea Cause for Post-Op Complications
> More Veterans Suffering from Sleep Apnea
> Obstructive Sleep Apnea — A Risk Factor for Coronary Artery Disease
> Why Home Sleep Testing is Revolutionizing Sleep Apnea Treatment
> Dissecting the Pillar Procedure
> For Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sufferers, Throat Exercises Provide Relief
> Snoring: It’s in the Air that You Breathe
> Obese Children — Double the Risk of Sleep Apnea
> Sleep Apnea and a Mysterious Eye Disorder
> Treat Your Sleep Apnea, Improve Your Golf Game…
> Sleep Apnea: Serious as a Heart Attack
A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that regular physical exercise may encourage better sleep and less daytime fatigue. The OSU researchers looked at statistics from a U.S. health survey conducted from 2005 to 2006. For the survey, more than 2,600 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85 had their activity levels measured, and answered questions about sleep.
The exercise participants all wore accelerometers to measure their physical activity for one week. The Oregon researchers then determined how many participants met or exceeded national exercise guidelines by getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise, or a combination of both moderate and vigorous exercise.
The Oregon researchers looked only at the amount of exercise, and did not consider other lifestyle factors, such as age, weight, health condition or smoking history.
Results Are In: Active Participants Felt Less Tired
The results of the study were published in the December 2011 issue of the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal. The Oregon researchers discovered that, among participants who met the national exercise guidelines, 65 percent were less likely to report feeling sleepy during the day, 68 percent were less likely to report sometimes having leg cramps, and 45 percent were less likely to report trouble concentrating when tired.
Theories among Sleep and Exercise Researchers
While the results of the study do not confirm 100 percent that exercise directly leads to better sleep, the findings are consistent with previous studies, and have inspired discussion and theories among sleep and exercise researchers.
Some researchers think that exercise helps improve sleep by helping to reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Others believe that when you burn calories through exercise, your body needs rest to recover, so you sleep better. Others have suggested that exercise helps moderate body weight, which helps people to sleep better. Whatever the reason, people are not getting enough sleep, and need help getting more.
Consider these statistics from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America® poll:
- 43 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night's sleep on weeknights.
- 60 percent experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night, such as snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early or not feeling rested when they get up in the morning.
- 63 percent of Americans say they are not meeting their sleep needs during the week. Most said they need about seven and a half hours of sleep, but are actually getting just under seven hours of sleep on average weeknights.
- About 15 percent of adults between the ages of 19 and 64, and 7 percent of people ages 13 to 18 say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights.
A consistent lack of quality sleep can lead to many physical problems, including the inability to concentrate, headaches and memory loss. Poor sleep can also compromise the nervous and immune systems, and has been linked to higher blood sugar levels, clinical depression, fibromyalgia in women and other disorders.
If you are consistently having trouble sleeping, it is important to speak to a doctor. Contact Eos Sleep, formerly the Manhattan Snoring and Sleep Center for an appointment today!
>> back to top
In December, the Federal Aviation Administration passed a ruling that will require commercial passenger airlines to limit the amount of time that pilots are allowed to fly. For decades, safety advocacy groups have been urging the FAA to update its rules on pilot work schedules. Past efforts have failed, largely because airlines and pilot unions could not agree on changes to pilot work schedules. But the new FAA ruling passed, giving pilots more time to rest between flights.
The FAA called the new ruling a "major safety achievement," and it passed in large part due to the passionate and consistent lobbying of the families of the people who died when Continental Airlines Flight 3407 crashed into a house just five minutes short of Buffalo-Niagara International Airport in February 2009. Following a National Transportation Safety Board investigation, the board found that the accident was due in part to pilot fatigue.
Components of the new FAA ruling include:
- The length of time a pilot is allowed to fly depends on when the pilot’s day begins, and the number of flight segments he or she is expected to fly, and ranges from nine to 14 hours for single crew operations.
- Flight time when the plane is moving under its own power before, during or after flight is limited to eight or nine hours, depending on the start time of the pilot’s entire flight duty period.
- Pilots must have a 10-hour minimum rest period prior to the flight duty period — a two-hour increase over the old rules. The new rule requires that pilots have an opportunity for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep within the 10-hour rest period.
- The rule also places 28-day and annual limits on a pilots flight time. It also requires that pilots have at least 30 consecutive hours free from duty on a weekly basis, a 25 percent increase over the old rules.
The FAA expects pilots and airlines to work together to determine if a pilot is fit for duty, or not. Before any flight, a pilot is required to affirmatively state that he or she is fit for duty. If a pilot reports he or she is fatigued and unfit for duty, the airline must remove that pilot from duty immediately.
Reaction to the New FAA Ruling
Aviation safety advocates are feeling relieved about the new FAA safety rulings, and feel it was a long time coming. Some airlines, however, aren’t as positive. Some cargo airlines feel the new rules will be too costly to follow. The aviation industry has estimated that the new ruling could cost them $297 million, but the benefits are estimated to be between $247 and $470 million. Some cargo airlines have been proactive in improving rest facilities for their pilots to use while cargo is loaded and unloaded at night. The FAA has asked the cargo carriers to voluntarily follow the new time limits.
The final FAA rule has been sent to the Federal Register for display and publication, and will take effect in two years to allow commercial passenger airline operators time to adapt and transition.
>> back to top
One of the most common causes of sleep disorders during the winter months is seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a very real form of depression that may affect six out of every 100 people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Some Symptoms of SAD
Symptoms of SAD generally manifest in late fall, when the days become shorter and colder, and people enjoy less natural sunlight. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, feelings of sadness, hopelessness and helplessness, lack of energy, loss of sexual interest and usual pleasurable activities, irritability and restlessness, cravings for carbohydrates and overeating (which can lead to weight gain and compound negative and depressive feelings), trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping and/or insomnia and at the extreme end — thoughts of death or suicide. Symptoms of SAD are usually most intense during the darkest months of the year, so it stands to reason that the farther a person lives from the equator, the higher the incidence of SAD occurs.
Sleep Problems Related to SAD
A person with SAD who suffers from sleep problems may go to sleep early and stay in bed for nine or ten hours, but not experience refreshing sleep. Because of a lack of restful sleep, people with SAD are often drowsy and have trouble concentrating and working during the day.
The relationship between sleep and depression is a bit of a "chicken or the egg" relationship. Which came first? SAD-related depression, or the sleeping problems? It depends. For some, symptoms of SAD occur first — for others, sleep problems appear first. Depression may cause the sleep problems, and sleep problems may cause or worsen the other SAD symptoms.
The Link between Depression and Insomnia
There is a common link between people with depression and insomnia. Studies have shown that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with people who sleep well. Further, developing depression is highest among those with both sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia.
People with depression may also experience insomnia symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, experiencing a lack of restful sleep and have daytime sleepiness. People who suffer from depression are also five times more likely to have a breathing-related sleep disorder than non-depressed people, according to a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The 2003 study by Stanford researcher Maurice Ohayon, M.D., Ph.D., found that people with depression were found to be five times more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common form of sleep disordered breathing. This was one of the first studies to make the connection between depression and sleep disorders. More current research has confirmed the connection.
SAD? Seek Help
If you believe you are experiencing SAD-related depression and/or sleep disorders, please see a psychiatrist or sleep specialist about it. There are treatments such as morning light therapy that can offer some relief, so you don't have to suffer unnecessarily through the winter blues.
>> back to top
A new study out of Cambridge in the UK suggests that protein may play a larger role than we thought in burning calories and keeping us us alert, whereas sugar has the opposite effect. The study, led by Dr. Denis Burdakov, from the Department of Pharmacology and Institute of Metabolic Science at Cambridge in the UK, and colleagues, appears in the November 17 issue of Neuron.
In previous studies, Dr. Burdakov had found that orexin cells in the brain’s hypothalamus release a stimulant called orexin/hypocretin, which stimulates wakefulness, burns calories and regulates energy balance. With the new study, Burdakov and his Cambridge colleagues sought to find out if specific nutrients alter those impulses, either by stimulating or inhibiting orexin cell activity. In other words, do certain foods increase or decrease wakefulness and energy?
The Effect of Protein and Glucose on "Awake" Cells
To find out, Burdakov and the team compared the effect of different nutrients, specifically amino acid mixtures similar to egg whites, and also glucose, on orexin cells.
The scientists highlighted the orexin cells — which are scarce and difficult to find — with genetically targeted fluorescence in mouse brains. They then introduced the different nutrients and monitored the orexin cell impulses.
They discovered that amino acids — nutrients found in proteins such as egg whites — stimulated orexin cells much more than any other nutrients. In addition, the amino acids actually prevented glucose from blocking orexin cell activity.
This confirmed the results of previous studies that showed that glucose blocked orexin cell activity, which is why researchers believe people get sleepy after meals heavy in sugars and/or carbohydrates.
Implications of the Study on Energy, Sleep and Weight Loss
Scientists already knew that orexin cells regulate energy levels and feelings of wakefulness. They also understood that a deficiency in orexin cells can result in sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, in addition to weight gain. But, as a result of the new Cambridge study, scientists now know that certain nutrients, namely protein and glucose, influence the behavior of orexin cells.
This has treatment implications for people who suffer from sleep disorders, weight gain and lack of energy. Diet, energy, wakefulness, sleep patterns, body weight and overall health and mood are all intertwined. Through monitoring a person's protein and glucose intake, doctors can help influence orexin cells to be more or less active, and thus influence a person's level of energy. From a sleep disorder and weight loss perspective, scientists are encouraged to continue studying how protein-rich foods can help promote energy and the burning of calories.
>> back to top
A new study out of UCLA found that the cells that control a person’s response to light and dark is located in the hypothalamus. The study was conducted by Jerome Siegel, a Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and his colleagues.
In the current online edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, Professor Siegel explains how the area at the base of the brain called the hypothalamus controls the autonomic nervous system, and functions such as body temperature, hunger and thirst, energy and fatigue, and we now know, wakefulness or sleepiness.
In the study, Siegel and his colleagues found that a specific group of neurons in the hypothalamus called hypocretin — scientifically known as hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin (orx/hcrt) neurons — control whether light arouses us or not, and thus whether we feel sleepy or not. Too little hypocretin inhibits a person's ability to respond to light stimuli, and thus may inhibit their ability to fall asleep in the dark.
The results of the new study reinforce the findings of an earlier study by the same research group, which determined that the loss of hypocretin was responsible for narcolepsy and the sleepiness associated with Parkinson's disease. But the neurotransmitter's role in normal behavior was, until now, unclear.
How the Study Was Conducted
The researchers examined the behavior of mice that had their hypocretin genetically "knocked-out" (called KO mice), and compared them to the behavior of normal, wild-type mice (called WT mice) that still had their hypocretin neurons.
The two groups were studied while they performed a variety of tasks in both light and dark phases. The result of the mice hypocretin test was that the KO mice without hypocretin were deficient at working for positive rewards during the light phase. During the dark phase, however, the mice without hypocretin learned at the same rate as their WT littermates with hypocretin.
Implications of the Findings
As a result of the findings, Professor Siegel suggests that by administering hypocretin and boosting the function of hypocretin cells, a person's light-induced arousal response will increase. Conversely, blocking a person's light response function by administering hypocretin receptor blockers will reduce their light response, and thus induce sleep. Siegel also noted that the administration of hypocretin may also have antidepressant properties, and blocking hypocretin may increase a person's tendencies toward depression.
Source: R. McGregor, M.-F. Wu, G. Barber, L. Ramanathan, J. M. Siegel. Highly Specific Role of Hypocretin (Orexin) Neurons: Differential Activation as a Function of Diurnal Phase, Operant Reinforcement versus Operant Avoidance and Light Level. Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (43): 15455 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4017-11.2011
>> back to top
Back in April, Eos Sleep’s Dr. David Volpi appeared on WNY Fox 5 News TV in New York. During the interview, he shared some tips on what you can do to wind down and de-stress at the end of the day, and increase your chances of getting a good night's sleep. Here’s a recap of Dr. Volpi’s advice.
Use the bedroom for sleep. With so many electronic distractions in our lives, it’s important to re-claim your bedroom for its intended purpose: rest and sleep. Move the TV and computer out of the bedroom, or at the very least, do not watch TV, work on the computer or check your blackberry close to bedtime. It’s been scientifically proven that the light from TV and computer screens affects melatonin production and melanopsin stimulation, and throws off our circadian rhythms.
- Stick to a bedtime routine. Try to go to sleep before 10:00 pm at night, and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends. Try to keep to within 20 minutes of the same time each morning and night.
- Do activities that will get you ready for bed. Before bed, do activities that will promote sleepiness, such as a taking a warm bath, or reading a book or magazine.
- Maintain a cool temperature in your bedroom. A cool but comfortable temperature is ideal for sleep. Too warm and you will be fitful, too cold however can be uncomfortable and disturb your sleep.
- Exercise regularly but not after the late afternoon. Even though exercise helps regulate sleep, rigorous exercise causes endorphins in the body to circulate which can have a stimulant effect, and keep you awake longer at night.
- Stay away from caffeine at night. The effects of caffeine are different from person to person, and may last hours after your last cup of coffee, so make your last cup of coffee, regular tea or soda earlier in the day.
- Avoid alcohol and medicines that make you drowsy. Even if you think it is helping you fall asleep initially, alcohol and medicines that makes you drowsy may affect your sleep throughout the night.
- Suffering from a Sleep Disorder? Get Checked!
Remember, people need an average of 7-8 hours of restful sleep to fully take advantage of its restorative power and avoid daytime symptoms of fatigue. If a regular, peaceful routine incorporating the tips above doesn’t help you start sleeping peacefully throughout the night, contact your doctor. You may have a more serious cause of sleeplessness such as snoring, sleep apnea or chronic insomnia. Getting treated could prevent heart disease, hypertension and stroke. Schedule an appointment today for a sleep test at REM Sleep, the diagnostic branch of Eos Sleep.
To watch the video, click here.
>> back to top
On October 13, Dr. David Volpi was interviewed on ABC’s Eyewitness News. According to a new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine last month, it was found that couples that are sleep deprived also have a much lower than average frequency of sexual intimacy. Understanding why and getting the correct treatment can restore a healthy libido.
The study explains that when the body is deprived of deep, recuperative sleep, some important hormones do not have a chance to replenish, including testosterone. When testosterone levels are low, women lose their sex drive — they just aren’t interested. When men lose it, they can’t perform.
As Dr. Volpi pointed out in the interview, low sex drive is another after effect of sleep deprivation caused by apnea. "Patients with sleep apnea often think they sleep for 12 hours but they are actually waking up 50 to 60 times an hour," he said. He is concerned that sleep apnea often goes untreated because many who suffer from it don’t realize they have it. They contribute their daytime fatigue to other causes such as stress or their busy schedules.
Left untreated, sleep apnea also leads to other health issues such as heart disease, lung dysfunction, high blood pressure, and stroke. Luckily, there are many non- or minimally-invasive treatments now available to treat apnea including Provent, a new technology that fits comfortably under your nose.
To see the full Eyewitness News report, click here.
>> back to top
What time do you naturally like to go to bed or wake up? Do you feel that you're at your best when you go to bed late and sleep until noon? Or do you love waking up to watch the sunrise? What many don't realize is that every individual has a biological clock, which is called the Circadian Rhythm, and whenever possible, it's important to embrace it.
Disruptions in your clock can cause sleep deprivation and problems with your health. This was the topic of M. Okawa of the Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu Japan in his address at this month’s Educational Symposia on Sleep and Biological Rhythms, and is published in the 2011, Japanese Society of Sleep Research Report, Sleep and Biological Rhythms.
By looking at biological rhythms in children with brain damage, much useful information of the development of the circadian system has been gleaned. Blind children as well were studied and it was found they tend to show a higher rate of rhythm disorders than sighted children. The study also examined elderly patients and determined they have a reduced tendency to sleep at night and difficulty staying awake during the day, especially those with dementia. They discovered several reasons, from sensory deprivation and low light levels, to lack of social stimulation and physical and mental exercise.
Traditionally, night owls — those whose minds are alert through the wee hours of the night and sleep in through the morning — have had more difficulty conforming to the typical American 9am to 5pm schedule, whereas "Morning Larks" had no problem. But besides the struggle of waking up to an early alarm clock, the health consequences from sleep deprivation due to a biological clock disruption can be severe. It can lead to obesity, hypertension, depression, diabetes, and even an increase in risk for dementia.
According to another study from Sydney University/RPA Hospital in Australia, 16% of Austrialians who work shifts are affected by biological clock disorders, and 30% of frequent flyers experience jet lag. The concern is that today, circadian rhythm sleep disorders are becoming more and more common and they believe it’s due to our 24/7 society, citing the statistic that at least a third of developing country's work force are now needed for 24 hour a day, 7 days a week work shifts.
If you feel that you may be suffering from a disruption in your biological sleep clock, it is important that you get it diagnosed. Schedule an appointment today for a sleep test at REM Sleep, the diagnostic branch of Eos Sleep.
>> back to top
Eos Sleep, formerly the Manhattan Snoring and Sleep Center, and our affiliated ENT practice, Otolaryngology Associates are already seeing a surge in patients coming in with Fall allergies, and a long season is expected. In August, the Northeast experienced record ragweed pollen counts, the most common cause of Fall allergies, but there is also an increase in patients suffering from mold and dust-mite allergies. Residents along the East Coast experienced a record-breaking summer of high heat and rainfalls. When combined, they form the perfect storm to growth of these allergens.
Hurricane Irene, which caused severe and record-breaking rainfall all along the East Coast, caused flooding of "epic proportions" according to NASA. This has made ideal circumstances for ragweed, which thrives in lots of water and sun. It blooms around August and can continue producing pollen through the late fall until a killing frost. Weather experts expect that it will be a long blooming season as well, since for the last decade killing frosts have been occurring later and later. These factors will combine to produce record levels of air-born allergens late into the Fall.
High levels of rain are also ideal for another common allergen, mold. Mold multiplies quickly in wet conditions. Although it is not a seasonal allergen, the Northeast, which typically has much dryer weather conditions in late summer is expected to have unusually high levels of mold this Fall.
Dust-mites are also a widespread allergen expected to reach unusual levels due to the high heat experienced this summer and the dampness.
Allergic reactions to air-born allergens can range from mild to severe. Usual symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Other symptoms can include coughing, fatigue, and sore throat. These symptoms can sometimes lead to more serious conditions such as sinus and ear infections. Due to blockage in the nose, snoring is also a very common result.
Treatment of your allergies vary according to severity. Prescription nasal steroid sprays decrease the allergic reaction and inflammation in the nose. Non-sedating antihistamines treat the body's natural reaction when it comes in contact with an allergen by blocking histamine which causes swelling and congestion. Allergy injections or immunotherapy, are for patients with long-standing allergies, and may be identified through skin or blood tests. They gradually reduce symptoms and the need for medication. If you're not sure what it is that is causing your allergic reaction, an allergist can identify your allergy. It is important to treat your symptoms because they can lead to more serious conditions, and if they are interfering with your breathing or sleeping, seek treatment with an ear, nose and throat specialist.
>> back to top
Eos Sleep, formerly the Manhattan Snoring and Sleep Center announces its affiliation with New York City's premier sleep study center, an accredited full-service sleep center specializing in evaluating and diagnosing the wide variety of sleep disorders. REM Sleep combines a state-of-the-art technical sleep testing facility with a modern yet relaxed spa-like setting. Each private room provides the comforts of home. REM Sleep, located on East 62nd Street in New York City, was co-founded by MSSC’s founder and co-director, David O. Volpi, M.D., P.C., F.A.C.S.
From wireless internet service and iPod docks to cable television and the finest linens, patients of REM Sleep receive a relaxed stay so they can conveniently return to work or their regular schedule in the morning. While relaxing in their private room, patients are diagnosed by expert sleep specialists in their field.
Whether a patient of MSSC, or a patient of a referring doctor, a patient’s experience at the sleep center is comfortable, inviting and an important step to better sleep, health and overall wellness. In addition, REM Sleep offers the Home Sleep Test for patients who qualify for this portable, home diagnosing system for sleep apnea.
During an in-lab sleep study, REM Sleep analyzes symptoms such as snoring and sleep apnea, difficulty falling asleep, waking throughout the night, restless legs, twitching and/or jerking of the limbs. REM Sleep employs the latest technology and scientific breakthroughs to diagnose the wide variety of sleep disorders that can affect patients, including disorders such as:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): a sleep related breathing disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep
- Snoring: a vibration in the throat caused by airflow being obstructed
- Insomnia, a chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time
- Narcolepsy: the term used to describe people who suffer from extreme sleepiness
- Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, a neurological condition that is characterized by the irresistible urge to move the legs
- Periodic Leg Movement Disorder: jerks that occur every 20 to 30 seconds on and off throughout the night.
- Inadequate Sleep Hygiene or "bad sleep habits"
- Jet Lag
- Shift Work Disorder
- Delayed Sleep Phase (DSP)
- Sleep Walking
- Sleep Related Seizures
- Sleep Terrors
- and more…
For more information, visit the newly relaunched REM Sleep website or call (212) 752-4345.
>> back to top
Older women who have sleep apnea have an 85% greater risk of developing dementia than those without it, according to a study announced in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this month.
Previous studies had linked sleep disordered breathing to cognitive dysfunction, but until the research findings of this study, it was unclear whether or not there was a direct link between sleep apnea and dementia. The research not only showed a link, but indicated that 85% of the older women diagnosed with sleep apnea who did not have dementia when the study began, developed dementia or milder cognitive dysfunction over the course of the 5 year study. An estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea including one in four women over 65.
The researchers studied 298 women of a mean age of 82.3 years when they began the study. The women were diagnosed with sleep apnea using overnight sleep polysomnography studies. During an apnea event, the airway becomes obstructed during sleep, blocking air flow and resulting in waking with a start gasping for air. If they had more than 15 apnea episodes per hour, they were diagnosed as having sleep apnea. People who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing dozens of times during sleep and may not breathe for as much as three fourths of the time that they're sleep. Apnea is particularly severe and life threatening when there are more than twenty or thirty events per hour. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to additional health problems such as high blood pressure, arrhythmia, various heart diseases, lung dysfunction and stroke.
It now seems this study proves we should add dementia to the list of sleep apnea dangers. Dementia causes nerve cells to stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons and die. It impairs intellectual functioning, and severely interferes with their ability to live their normal lives. Patients with dementia often lose their ability to solve problems and reason, suffer memory loss, and have changes in their behavior. They may become irrational, aggravated, or have delusions or hallucinations.
Researchers believe that the link between sleep apnea and dementia is due to the oxygen deprivation caused by apnea and its harmful effects on brain cells, although the study was not meant to discover the specific trigger. This groundbreaking study may have significant meaning to the health community as it could lead to further research to discover how dementia and cognitive impairment in the elderly may one day be preventable or reversed.
The research was conducted by Kristine Yaffe, MD; Alison M. Laffan, PhD; Stephanie Litwack Harrison, MPH; Susan Redline, MD, MPH; Adam P. Spira, PhD; Kristine E. Ensrud, MD; Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD; and Katie L. Stone, PhD. To read more about the study, visit JAMA’s August 10th issue here.
>> back to top
Eos Sleep, formerly the Manhattan Snoring and Sleep Center announces a new, FDA-approved treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea that eliminates the need for the CPAP mask and some surgical procedures. Marking a significant advance in the treatment of sleep apnea, is an innovative new device that allows patients to use the power of their own breathing to restore natural airflow to treat their obstructive sleep apnea.
The Provent Device® from Ventus Medical Inc. is small and powered by one's own breathing, so it requires no mask or machine. The device is clinically proven to treat obstructive sleep apnea and is effective for mild, moderate, and severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It features "MicroValve" technology that creates Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP) to keep the airway open during sleep.
It is simple to use and disposable, and available by prescription. Provent Therapy uses the body’s own breathing to create positive airway pressure. It is placed just inside the nostrils and is held in place by a discreet hypoallergenic adhesive. Upon inhalation, the valve opens and allows airflow that is unobstructed. Upon exhalation, the valve closes and air passing through the nose is directed through two small air channels, creating air pressure, which helps maintain an open airway during sleep.
The Provent Device has won two prestigious awards for innovation in design, including the International Design Excellence Award in 2010, The Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award, and the Medical Design Excellence Award, 2009.
This device is perfect for patients who have been unable to successfully be treated for their sleep apnea through the CPAP, and may also be an alternative to certain surgical options. It is so small it is perfect for travel, as well. Learn more about Provent Device at the Ventis Medical Website. It is by prescription only, therefore it is important to see your doctor to find out if this treatment is right for you. Contact the Eos Sleep today to schedule your appointment.
>> back to top
If you’re a snorer, or if you sleep with one, the amount of time you get healthful, restorative sleep is interrupted often many times throughout the night. Snoring causes daytime fatigue and can also lead to numerous serious health concerns. However research conducted over the past few years has discovered that afternoon naps — even those as short as 10 minutes — can have significant benefits on health and brain function. If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, perhaps it’s time to embrace the siesta.
"I count it as a certainty that in paradise, everyone naps." —Tom Hodgkinson
Daytime fatigue caused by a lack of sleep affects ones cognitive functions including impairing memory and concentration. It affects ones mood, causing irritability and even anger. It also impairs motor functions such as driving or operating machinery which can lead to accidents. Even more, stress on the body from sleep deprivation can lead to heart issues, high blood pressure, obesity and stroke.
Often people who suffer from daytime fatigue try to wade through the day, thinking that a nap might interfere with their next night's sleep. But numerous research studies published over the last few years have shown that naps are a healthy way to repair the mood, body, and mind of the sleep deprived. In cultures where siestas are common practice, scientists have discovered that the population in general has higher longevity than those cultures that don’t nap.
For example, the Department of Psychology at the University of California performed a study1 that showed that college students, using a face recognition task, reacted at a higher negative rate of anger and fear emotions throughout the day when they were sleep deprived at night. However, when they took a nap that included REM (rapid eye movement), their negative emotions were reversed, and they had even higher rates of happy expressions.
In another study from the University of Haifa2, researchers found that napping for ninety minutes speeds up the napper’s long term memory consolidation, which is the ability to remember "how-to" do or learn a task. Surprisingly, the hour and a half nap seems to improve this function as much as a regular 6-8 hours of regular nighttime sleep.
Napping’s benefit to the heart is also clear. In a study3 of adults who regularly take midday naps, common in Mediterranean and Latin American cultures, it was found that of the 23,681 Greek adults studied over a period of many years, 37% had lower rates of death related to the heart. This was especially true for working men, although the reason it was not definitive for women is because fewer died during the study. Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, the senior researcher and author of the study, believes that people should even take an occasional nap to help their hearts.
- A Role for REM Sleep in Recalibrating the Sensitivity of the Human Brain to Specific Emotions, Ninad Gujar, Steven Andrew McDonald, Masaki Nishida and Matthew P. Walker, Department of Psychology, University of California, Tolman Hall 3331, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, USA., Oxford Journals, Life Sciences & Medicine, Cerebral Cortex, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 115-123.
- Daytime Sleep Condenses the Time Course of Motor Memory Consolidation, Profs. Avi Karni, Dr. Maria Korman, Julien Doyon, Julia Doljansky, Julie Carrier & Yaron Dagan, of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research at the University of Haifa, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv. Published in the scientific journal, Nature Neuroscience.
- Siesta in Healthy Adults and Coronary Mortality in the General Population, Drs Naska, Trichopoulou, Psaltopoulou, and Trichopoulos and Ms Oikonomou, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece); Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens (Dr Trichopoulou); and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass (Dr Trichopoulos).
>> back to top
With all of the research that shows that taking a daytime nap can improve cognitive function, mood and heart health, some employers are just now realizing that allowing snooze-time in the workplace can benefit employees’ performance and productivity. Some companies that have become nap-friendly include Google, Zappos, Nike, and the Connecticut-based Yarde Metals. Across the country, "nap boutiques" are popping up — here in New York City for example, Yelo a day spa on 57th Street, offers clients "YeloCabs" to retreat into for 40 minutes for $24, and MetroNaps has EnergyPods on the 22nd floor of the Empire State Building for daytime siestas.
If your company is not averse to allowing you some daytime rest, here are a few tips for napping at work. First, it’s important to understand the different phases of sleep:
- Some research has shown that even napping for 10-minutes can be the most beneficial to reduce your sleepiness and improve your cognitive abilities.
- Within 20 minutes asleep, Stage 2 is reached, which increases motor skills and alertness.
- Within 40 minutes, Slow Wave Sleep occurs, which increases memory.
- Napping for up to 90 minutes gives you deep REM Sleep, which increases creativity, and won’t interfere with your nighttime sleep.
Set your alarm depending on your body’s needs, but realize if you do nap for more than 30 minutes you may feel groggy when you wake. Many people feel their energy is at the lowest between 1 and 3 pm, which is biological, so if you can nap then your body will realize the best affects. If you’re planning a nap, make sure you have an alarm clock, and find a quiet place where you can lay down such as a couch, reclining chair, yoga mat or even under your desk.
If your company does not have a nap-friendly atmosphere, understand that your management may just not understand the benefits. Try speaking with HR or your management team and explain that improvements in memory, alertness, productivity, motor function and creativity can benefit the company — not that you want to sleep on the job. Also mention the health benefits that have been realized in countries where siestas are common, especially the heart benefits. Perhaps they’ll realize that it’s an investment in the welfare of the company.
If you can’t nap at work, try to fit in some time for rest by not over-programming your schedule over the weekend. It’s important not to nap within a few hours of bedtime because that may make it difficult to with fall asleep for the night. A hammock outside during the summer is an ideal place to catch a few zzzz’s, or close the blinds in your bedroom, turn your air conditioner up and enjoy a peaceful nap in the middle of the afternoon. Your mind and your body will thank you for it.
If you’re not getting enough sleep due to your snoring or your bed partner’s, contact the snoring specialists at Eos Sleep today.
>> back to top
It’s well documented that snoring wreaks havoc on the body over time. What is also known is that the sleep deprivation associated with snoring can have significant impact on the mind in that it can impair brain function and emotions. What there is little known about, however, is the effect of snoring and its associated daytime fatigue on children. A start to this understanding was reported this month in the New York Times when they highlighted a new study from the University of Michigan that showed that classroom bullies and disruptive students are two times as likely to have symptoms of snoring, or sleep-disordered breathing.
The study involved collecting data from 341 elementary school children. Each child’s parent reported their child’s sleeping habits. Teachers and parents were also asked to evaluate any behavioral issues that the children might have. It was discovered that one-third of the children were reported to have bullying tendencies or disruptive behavior. Of the bullies and classroom disrupters, half were reported to also have snoring or sleep-disordered breathing issues.
The findings suggest that a new way to solve school bullying should be explored. Whereas now it focuses on raising awareness and attempting to protect the victims, this new report suggests that the problem may be better solved, at least partially, by paying attention to health issues associated with aggressive behavior, such as sleep deprivation.
Considering that common daytime symptoms of snoring include irritability and an impairment of cognitive function, it is understandable how children who suffer from sleep deprivation find it difficult to make quick decisions or judge situations clearly. There are many more quality of life issues that snoring affects in children and adults alike. In addition to irritability and impaired cognition, daytime sleepiness symptoms also include:
- Lethargy, which make even the simplest tasks seem difficult
- Impaired coordination
- Blurred vision
- A compromised immune system
- A resistance of insulin, leading to diabetes
- If snoring is caused by sleep apnea, higher risks of heart and lung disease, obesity and stroke.
Perhaps reading the results of this study will encourage parents to make sure their children have better sleeping habits, and if their child snores, will seek treatment. It’s important for parents to understand that as a 2010 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that even five consecutive nights of four hours or less of sleep per night has the same negative effects on the brain and body than total sleep deprivation in adults. Considering a child's brain is still developing, sleep deprivation might have even more dire consequences for them.
Lead author and the assistant professor of sleep medicine at the University of Michigan, Louise O’Brien, pointed out that this study can’t definitively prove a link between bullying and sleep deprivation. However "we’re living in a 24-hour society, sleep is the first thing that gets lost," she said.
It’s clear that good sleep habits are important to the healthy development of children. This study underscores our belief that sleep deprivation has a great impact on behavior and hopefully parents will heed the warning. Visit Science Direct’s website to read more from the University of Michigan study.
>> back to top
If men have been reluctant to seek treatment for their sleep apnea, perhaps this will provide some motivation: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has been linked to erectile dysfunction (ED) in a number of studies, as well as the 2011 Sleep In America study released in March by the National Sleep Foundation. In the April 28th, 2001 Issue of Men’s Health, MSSC’s co-director, Dr. Eric Cohen was interviewed to get his insights into why ED is such a prevalent problem among sleep apnea sufferers.
The Men’s Health Issue cites a number of studies performed in recent years that show that patients with OSA have a high rate of erectile dysfunction. The reports conclude that since airflow through upper airway is interrupted numerous times during sleep because of OSA, the events cause intermittent hypoxia which leads to ED. Even snoring that is not associated with sleep apnea can wreak havoc on a couple’s sex life.
Here is a portion of the interview with Dr. Cohen, "Sleep Your Way to Better Sex," written by Leigh Remizowski and published by Men's Health Today’s News, April 28, 2011:
Your snoring may be a running joke between you and your partner, but experts say that all too often, sleep problems can take a big toll on intimacy.
In fact, 61 percent of adults report that sleepiness affects their sex lives, according to the National Sleep Foundation's 2011 Sleep In America study. "There are a lot of sexual issues that arise because people aren’t as well-rested as they should be," said Eric Cohen, M.D., of Eos Sleep — and they’re not limited to those times you’re just too tired to do it.
Here are two issues that don’t only squelch your sex life, but also can have serious health repercussions.
A 2009 study by German researchers found that 69 percent of patients with sleep apnea had problems getting an erection, having an orgasm, and experiencing overall sexual satisfaction.
Because people with sleep apnea stop breathing during their sleep, they don’t get as much oxygen to their bodies. These episodes of oxygen deficiency — also known as chronic intermittent hypoxia—can lead to erectile dysfunction by reducing the body's production of nitric oxide, a chemical that is integral to having an erection, researchers from the University of Louisville found.
Read A Fit Man’s Last Gasp to learn the signs of this disorder that’s strangling men in their sleep.
Heavy snorers are more than two times more likely to be dissatisfied with their sex lives, according to research from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Snoring alone can separate people and add distance—physical, sexual and literal distance," Cohen said. Example: Shuffling off to separate beds because of snoring, a major reason clients come to see Cohen. (Related from MensHealth.com: Should You Sleep in Separate Beds?)
Read the Full Article from Men’s Health.
>> back to top
Findings from a new survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA.org) released last week indicate that a large percentage of people are confusing allergy symptoms with sinus infection symptoms, and therefore, not receiving the proper medical care they need.
During the Spring months, Americans are faced with a wide variety of assaults from tree and flower pollen, mold, grass, etc. Those who suffer from nasal allergies from outdoor causes (also called "seasonal allergic rhinitis") experience symptoms such as stuffy nose, itchy eyes and even coughing when allergens are inhaled into the nose and the lungs causing allergic reactions.
Sinusitis (sinus infection) is an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. Its symptoms include a headache or pressure in the eyes, nose, cheek area, or one side of the head. You may also have a cough, a fever, bad breath, nasal congestion, nasal secretions, and you may snore at night. The confusion occurs because the symptoms are quite similar, especially when they are severe.
According to the AAFA, "As this month marks the peak of spring allergy season, it's important that those suffering from persistent allergies get a proper diagnosis since almost half (47%) of the respondents to the AAFA survey admit to self-diagnosing when they have symptoms. But close to two in five (39%) respondents think it's difficult to differentiate between symptoms, and, as a result, over half (51%) have misdiagnosed themselves with allergies when it actually turned out to be sinusitis."
Here are some findings of the AAFA Study:
- 47% of respondents with sinusitis admit to self-diagnosing when they have symptoms.
- 37% are doing more self-diagnosing now than they were five years ago.
- 41% of those who say it is not easy to distinguish signs of allergies from signs of sinusitis still go ahead and diagnose themselves when they have symptoms.
- 51% admit they have misdiagnosed themselves as suffering from allergies when the cause turned out to be sinusitis.
- 39% say they think it's hard to tell the difference between the symptoms of a cold, flu, allergies, and sinusitis.
- 55% of people who have heard of chronic sinusitis underestimate the minimum number of weeks this condition may last; 39% admit they don't have a clue about duration.
- Only 26% of respondents who had heard of chronic sinusitis were aware that a minimally invasive treatment option exists for the condition.
- 49% of respondents have never seen an ear, nose, and throat doctor about their sinusitis.
- According to a survey of 621 people, conducted online from a database of asthma and allergy patients, about 70% of sinusitis sufferers most trust a primary care doctor to correctly diagnose symptoms, yet only 36% go to one for help
The AAFA explained that when people confuse sinusitis symptoms with signs of allergies, they often suffer longer than they would if they visited a doctor, who could make a proper diagnosis. According to WebMD, "About 7 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis, resulting in some 32 million cases reported by doctors and other health care providers every year." If you are suffering from symptoms that could be either sinusitis or seasonal allergies, it’s important that you seek proper medical care to ensure it is diagnosed and treated appropriately. Depending on your doctor’s findings, he or she may refer you to an allergist or ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for further treatment if it is felt to be chronic.
>> back to top
As individuals, we all have our own specific needs for nightly restorative sleep. The variables are many and include your sex, age, genetics and other physical conditions. Snoring or sleep apnea may also be factors. A new white paper produced by the National Sleep Foundation attempts to answer that age-old question: "How do I know how much sleep my body needs?"
As the Sleep Foundation explains in its comprehensive new white paper, every individual has their own unique requirement for the amount of sleep they need to feel its restorative effects, and to feel alert and productive throughout the day. As they stated "a simple definition of sufficient sleep is a sleep duration that is followed by a spontaneous awakening and leaves one feeling refreshed and alert for the day."
Over the past few decades, it has been documented that Americans are getting less and less sleep. In 1959 for example, middle aged adults got an average amount of sleep of between 8-9 hours a night. Whereas in 1992 the average amount of sleep by the same age group was 7-8 hours. They cite a recent study, the National Health Interview Survey, reports adults across several different occupations reported that they're sleeping only 6 hours or less per night, an increase of this group to 30% from 24% over the last 20 years.
But is this lack of sleep a danger their health? According to the Sleep Foundation, "these findings probably demonstrate the development of widespread partial sleep deprivation or sleep ’restriction’ which is most likely related to external environmental or social factor(s) such as the need to work more than one job or longer work shifts rather than a biologic change in need for sleep." Certainly it can be when considering that shortening the amount of time in restful sleep can produce negative consequences in quality of life, job performance, mood, and as recent reports conclude, health issues such as increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
When assessing how much sleep you need, it's important to be in tune to your own body and understand what you need to personally function properly. The National Sleep Foundation describes a common type of research that "examines changes in performance of specific tasks following normal sleep duration and compares it to performance after a period of sleep restriction." For example, they mention studies that reduce participants’ sleep from 8 to 6 hours, which left them significantly more sleepy the next day. When sleep was restricted to 5 or 6 hours per night, participants showed increased sleepiness and delayed response time such as taking a longer amount of time to apply their car brakes. Additionally, participants’ short-term memories were decreased, they had poor performance on newly learned or complex tasks, and difficulty paying attention.
Depriving people of more than 5 hours of sleep per night has shown significant affects in raising participants’ heart rate and blood pressure, increased inflammation of a protein marker which has been proposed as a risk factor for coronary artery disease, and impaired glucose tolerance which can lead to diabetes. Recently there was a study that also showed that a lack of sleep causes the body to produce a hormone that increases appetite which can lead to obesity. The Sleep Foundation also cites a study that showed that people who did not get enough sleep over a prolonged period of their life are at risk for earlier mortality, most likely because of the many health reasons mentioned.
To know your body’s ideal sleep time is to know how much sleep you need to keep away from developing the symptoms of daytime fatigue and long term health issues. Few people can maintain 6 hours of sleep or less without developing these issues. However, if for example, you typically receive 7 hours of sleep but you still are sleepy during the day, try adding an hour to your bedtime to see if that does the trick. If you are receiving on average 8 hours of sleep a night and you still have daytime fatigue, the issue may be an underlying physical symptom such as snoring or sleep apnea which rob you of restorative sleep, so you should see a snoring specialist in your area to seek treatment.
The full white-paper from the American Sleep Foundation is available on their website here.
>> back to top
There are many causes for the sleep deprivation that we as a culture are experiencing. Snoring and sleep apnea are leading causes, but so too are insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and our own, busy lifestyles that are causing us to drag during the day. Regular lack of enough sleep is causing daytime drowsiness and the symptoms associated with it—memory loss, fatigue, lack of concentration, poor job performance, drowsy driving, and depression. Recent studies have also confirmed that too little sleep can cause weight gain or obesity because of a hormone that is secreted when we are fatigued.
During the Fox News interview, Dr. Volpi provided tips on what you can do when preparing for bed. Here is an expanded list of tips that will help you wind down properly and provide the appropriate setting in your bedroom so you can quickly fall asleep and have a restful, uninterrupted night. We suggest that if falling asleep is an issue, you print this out and have it handy at bedtime.
Do the same, quiet thing every night for a few minutes before bed. Some suggestions include laying out your clothes for the next day, reading a few pages from a book or magazine (but not in the bed), having a cup of decaf tea, taking a warm bath, and maintain your same nightly hygiene routine. It will trigger in your mind that it’s time to wind down.
Keep the bedroom for the sleep. Do not watch TV, listen to loud music, work on the computer or check your blackberry in the bedroom. These devices can get your mind racing, making it harder to become calm and fall asleep, and may even wake you in the night.
Exercise regularly but not after the late afternoon. Even though exercise helps regulate your sleep, rigorous exercise causes endorphins in the body to circulate which can cause the effect of a stimulant.
Maintain a cool temperature in your bedroom. A cool but comfortable temperature is ideal for sleep. Too warm and you will be fitful, too cold however can be uncomfortable and disturb your sleep.
Stay away from caffeine at night. The effects of caffeine are different from person to person, and may last hours after your last cup of coffee. So make your last cup of coffee, regular tea or soda earlier in the day. In addition, avoid nicotine, which is also a stimulant, and other medications that may keep you awake.
Avoid drinks and medicines that make you drowsy. Alcohol and medicines that makes you drowsy may affect your sleep throughout the night, even if you think it may help you fall asleep initially. The effects will wear off in the middle of the night and you can wake with your mind racing.
Go to bed at the same time every night. And wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Try to keep to within 20 minutes of the same time each morning and night.
Do not nap during the day. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, a nap will do more harm than good. If you are truly fatigued during the day, try to only take a 20 minute nap as longer than that will keep you from falling asleep at the appropriate bedtime.
Remember, people need an average of 7-8 hours of restful sleep to fully take advantage of its restorative power and avoid daytime symptoms of fatigue. If a regular, peaceful routine incorporating the tips above doesn’t help you start sleeping peacefully throughout the night, contact your doctor. You may have a more serious cause of sleeplessness such as snoring, sleep apnea or chronic insomnia.
>> back to top
Mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats are just some of the symptoms that women face in those years of life between peri- and post-menopause. But what many don’t realize is another condition, sleep apnea, becomes more common in women as they go through menopause, with the majority of those experiencing more apnea episodes in their later post-menopause years. In addition, in the menopause years, the episodes are also more severe.
While hot flashes are commonly the target of blame for women who report sleep deprived nights, the underlying cause of their sleepless nights and corresponding daytime fatigue may actually be sleep apnea for many. Clinical researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital believe that post-menopausal sleep apnea is likely due to decreased levels of female hormones.
Research conducted at St. Michael’s Hospital Sleep Laboratory compared 290 pre- and 400 post-menopausal women, and ruled out obvious other causes of apnea such as obesity and neck size. They found that 47 percent of post-menopausal women suffered from sleep apnea, compared to 21 percent of pre-menopausal women, and that the condition was more severe in the post-menopausal group. Dr. David Dancey, of the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital where is a Fellow of Clinical Research in its sleep lab stated, "We think the difference may be due to the lower levels of estrogen and progesterone caused by menopause." The study excluded women who experienced menopause at an early age or who underwent hormone therapy.
Although this in-depth study was conducted over a decade ago, there has been little attention paid to the risk of sleep apnea in menopausal women, or to those who suspect they may have it, but are reluctant to get treatment. This is unfortunate because in addition to the daytime symptoms brought on by fatigue such as poor concentration and job performance, memory loss and more; sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to lung and heart problems, and even stroke.
With the latest advances in technology, diagnosis and treatment have never been more convenient. For example, with the new home sleep study, many patients are no longer required to stay overnight at a sleep lab to get their testing done, and may do so in the comfort of their own home. Also for many, a cumbersome CPAP machine is no longer the "gold standard" in apnea treatment. The Pillar® Procedure and Balloonplasty™ are just some treatments that can be accomplished with an office visit to a snoring specialist.
For more information about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, contact the snoring specialists at Eos Sleep today.
>> back to top
Stuffy nose? Headache? Cough? Fatigued? You must have caught a cold, or is it because the trees are starting to bud? If you’re not sure whether you have a cold or allergy, you're not alone. In fact, often the symptoms are so similar, the symptoms subside without ever getting the correct answer.
Cold and allergy symptoms are very similar, and especially in early spring both are very common. The air still has a snap of cold and when outside you’re often caught without a coat that’s warm enough. Yet common allergens begin to appear in the form of buds on trees, fragrant early flowers and mold on leaves recently uncovered by the snow thaw. Even spring cleaning can stir up dust allergies.
With the symptoms being so similar, how can you know whether you have a cold or allergic reaction so you can treat it properly? There are a few subtle differences, as this Symptom Checker from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2008) describes:
Is it a cold or allergy?
|General aches and pains
How to Treat a Cold:
- Decongestants will reduce the swelling in your mucus membranes and allow air to pass easier through your nasal passages
- The pain relief medication ibuprofen is available over the counter. It is an anti-inflammatory and will relieve the aches and pains of your cold as well.
- Drink plenty of fluids, which help flush toxins and restore the body's fluids lost from the dehydrating affects of decongestants.
- Get plenty of rest while your body combats the cold
- Make sure you take your vitamins to help boost your body's immune system
How to Treat Your Allergy:
- Prescription Nasal Steroid Sprays decrease allergic and non allergic inflammation in the nose and can be safely used for a long period of time.
- Non-sedating antihistamines can reduce allergic nasal congestion when used alone or with nasal spray. They treat the body’s natural reaction when it comes in contact with an allergen by blocking histamine which causes swelling and congestion.
- Allergy Injections are for patients with long-standing allergies (that may be identified through skin or blood tests). Allergy injections, also called immunotherapy, gradually reduce symptoms and the need for medication.
Whether it's a cold or allergies, it is important to treat your symptoms because they can lead to more serious conditions such as sinus and ear infections. If your symptoms persist, see your doctor. Your physician will determine whether or not you need an antibiotic prescription or another medical treatment. Plus, if you're not sure if it’s an allergy, he or she can recommend you to an allergist who will work with you to pinpoint what it is you are allergic to and start you on the appropriate therapy.
>> back to top
When you have a cold or an allergic reaction that causes your sinus passages to become inflamed and clogged, breathing through your nose becomes difficult and uncomfortable, especially at night. Here are 5 tips you can do to help ease your snoring in order to get a better, more restful sleep.
- Sleep on your side. Snoring occurs when your tongue drops to the back of your throat when the muscles relax, which causes a vibration that makes noise. Sleeping on your side as opposed to your back will help prevent that.
- Elevate your head. By using an extra pillow, your sinuses can drain, and congestion will not pool in your nasal passages as much as it would if you sleep flat on one pillow.
- Run a humidifier while you sleep to keep the air moist.
- Avoid antihistamines that contain a sedative, as well as alcohol and sleeping pills which relax the upper airways, causing an increased airway resistance and snoring.
- Before bed use menthol rub on your chest and apply directly under your nose, which will help keep your nasal passages clear.
In order to get enough oxygen when you’re asleep, your body's natural reaction is to breathe through your mouth, which commonly causes snoring. Unfortunately, snoring can prevent you from getting a full restful night of sleep, so important, especially when your body’s immune system is fighting a cold. In addition, snoring can acerbate soreness in your throat, and cause it to be dryer and feel scratchier. Make sure you get enough sleep so you can get healthy faster, by getting to bed earlier than usual and resting when you need to.
>> back to top
For many years the medical community has known that obesity is a major cause of snoring which causes sleep deprivation. Now there is proof that a lack of sleep can actually lead to obesity. It is a circle that can start in childhood and gets more vicious as we age if it goes untreated.
A professor in the Department of Psychiatry and director of Sleep Disorders Center at Sacré-Coeur Hospital, Jacques Montplaisir, conducted an analysis of 1,138 children and found that 26 percent who didn’t sleep enough were overweight, 18.5 percent carried extra weight, and 7.4 percent were obese.
The weight gain is due to hormones that are secreted when there is not enough sleep. As Montplaisir explained, "When we sleep less, our stomach secretes more of the hormone that stimulates appetite, and we also produce less of the hormone whose function is to reduce the intake of food." According to Montplaisir, naps don’t make up for the lack of a good nights sleep.
For snorers, this problem is compounded because snoring leads to a lack of sleep, and it is often caused because the snorer is overweight or obese. In these cases, often a lifestyle change such as diet and exercise can help. However when snoring is also due to a physical cause such as obstruction or chronic infection, it is important for the snorer to seek medical treatment from a snoring specialist.
>> back to top
According to a new article in the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists in Toronto believe that they have been able to isolate a hormone that is produced when there is frequent interruption in breathing during sleep, such as what happens during a sleep apnea event.
Scientists from the University of Toronto simulated repeated obstruction of the airways in short 15 second intervals in rats by restricting air into their lungs repeatedly. What they found was that these repeated restrictions of breathing, or "apneas" caused the rats’ brains to gradually trigger more forceful contractions of their lungs, therefore causing progressively deeper breath intakes.
According to Dr. John Peever, lead author of the study and Associate Professor of Neuroscience, the study showed "that repeated disruption of normal lung activity — what happens during sleep apnea — triggers a form of learning that helps you breathe better." He believes that this could be harnessed "to help overcome the breathing insufficiency that typifies sleep apnea."
This study also found that the brain chemical noradrenaline allows this change in breathing to occur. It is what is required to cause brain plasticity and helps the brain to adjust to breathing more effectively when there are interruptions in breathing that occur over and over again such as when someone has sleep apnea.
The findings of this study are important because they suggest that drugs that affect noradrenaline levels in the brain may help improve breathing in patients suffering from sleep apnea, perhaps even the creation of a "sleep apnea pill" in the future.
>> back to top
Add “metabolic syndrome” to the growing list of health risks and symptoms caused by or linked to snoring. In a study just released in the December issue of the journal SLEEP, it was found that adults were two times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome if they snored loudly during sleep.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of combined risk factors that indicate a person may have an increased chance of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The syndrome is becoming common in the United States and is related to obesity. Two of the most common risk factors associated with the syndrome are extra weight around the middle of the body (central obesity), and insulin resistance, in which the body cannot use insulin effectively.
Led by researcher, Wendy Troxel of the University of Philadelphia, the study followed 812 adults (ages 47-74; 36% African American; 67% female) in an "ongoing, community-based prospective." This was the first prospective study to link metabolic syndrome with snoring, as well as with the sleep disorders difficulty falling asleep (DFA), unrefreshing sleep and insomnia. Those studied were free of metabolic syndrome at the start, had completed a baseline sleep questionnaire, and participated in a metabolic syndrome evaluation three years after the baseline. A subset of 290 participants were measured for their apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) using a portable monitor.
The study examined the risk of developing factors of metabolic syndrome according to participant’s individual snoring and sleep symptoms and insomnia. Sleep complaints have been highly prevalent with cardiovascular disease (CVD), and interestingly, 14 percent of the participants developed metabolic syndrome while they were participating in the study.
The results of the study indicated that those who snored loudly were twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome, and also predicted specific metabolic abnormalities such as hyperglycemia and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Even when adjusted for AHI or the number of metabolic abnormalities at baseline, loud snoring remained a significant predictor of metabolic syndrome, whereas difficulty falling asleep, unrefreshing sleep and insomnia had less significance. It is believed that evaluating sleep symptoms will help physicians identify patients at risk for developing metabolic syndrome.
To read more about the research results, visit SLEEP.
>> back to top
Results of recent study indicate that Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) patients who use CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) for their treatment of the disorder show a noticeable improvement in memory. Research presented at the SLEEP 2010 annual meeting of Associated Professional Sleep Societies in San Antonio showed results that indicated that OSA patients who were being treated with CPAP therapy outperformed patients who were not receiving treatment by correctly identifying more photographs after one night of sleep.
The study divided 135 adults between the ages of 33 and 65 years into three groups. Seventy-eight people who were diagnosed with OSA and had been using CPAP therapy for three or more weeks comprised the experimental group. The baseline group included 50 people who were diagnosed with OSA but had not been using CPAP. The final group of 30 people who tested negative for OSA comprised the control group.
All participants were monitored overnight by in-lab polysomnography and were shown 20 photographs the night before their sleep. The next morning they were shown 20 pairs of photographs which contained a photo that had been presented the night before, and one that was similar but not shown to them. Participants picked which photo in each pair was the one that they had seen before.
The lead author of the research abstract was Ammar Tahir of the Memory Laboratory in the department of psychology at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. He was surprised by the findings. "The most surprising result of our study, thus far, is the noticeable improvement in memory that CPAP patients experience,” he said. "These results suggest the success of CPAP therapy in regenerating obstructive sleep apnea patients’ memory deficits."
OSA is a sleep-related breathing disorder that occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and obstruct the upper airway, leading to pauses in breathing that can reduce blood flow to the brain. Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, and suffer from many symptoms of daytime fatigue including memory loss. OSA can be dangerous in that it affects the heart and lungs and is linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
Although some patients complain about the discomfort of wearing a mask while they sleep, CPAP therapy is the most favored treatment of OSA by physicians because of the results it provides. This study indicates that improved memory is yet another benefit to the therapy which provides a steady stream of air through a mask that is worn during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open to prevent pauses in breathing and restores normal oxygen levels.
Another interesting discovery from the study indicated that the OSA group using CPAP out-performed the control group without OSA the on the memory tasks. Researchers believe that this is an important finding that could provide direction for future research to study the effect of CPAP therapy on brain function and memory processes.
Learn more about obstructive sleep apnea and the CPAP treatment.
>> back to top
A troubling study was released last week by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety which found that of 2,000 American drivers polled, one-third admitted to falling asleep or nodding off while they were driving in the past year. The results of the study were much more severe than expected, which was released in conjunction with the organization’s “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week” November 8th-14th, 2010.
While this particular study did not attempt to specify the reasons behind America’s growing drowsiness issue, we know from past research that there is a common link between the snoring disorder, sleep apnea and a higher rate of car and truck crashes. Two years ago, a study published in the medical journal Thorax and conducted by Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and University of British Columbia revealed that sleep apnea patients are at double the risk of being in a car crash, and are three to five times more likely to be in a serious car crash involving personal injury.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents each year. Fifty-seven percent of drowsy driving crashes involved the driver drifting into other lanes or even off the road.
Additional findings from the AAA study include these worrisome statistics:
- More than half (55%) of those drivers who reported having fallen asleep while driving in the past year said that it occurred on a high-speed divided highway.
- More than half (59%) had only been driving for less than an hour before they nodded off. Only 20% had been driving for three hours or more.
- 26% reported that it happened between 12 noon and 5pm.
These findings point to the importance of getting snorers the treatment they need to keep themselves and the rest of the public safe. The sleep loss associated with snoring impairs a person’s ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning, reasoning, mathematical processes and severely impacts reaction time in drivers. In addition, since heavy snoring can carry great health risks—especially sleep apnea which causes a person to be startled awake numerous times throughout the night because they stop breathing—it is a responsible choice to seek treatment by a snoring specialist.
To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, visit Eos Sleep’s FAQ section. If you or someone you know suffers from the daytime symptoms of snoring, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. If you are in the New York tri-state area, schedule your evaluation and contact us today.
To read more of AAA’s study and the impact of drowsy driving, visit http://drowsydriving.org.
>> back to top
As part of the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety’s November “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week,” they encourage drivers to use these techniques to help prevent them from falling asleep at the wheel. Since drowsy driving accounts for 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries a year, we thought we pass on this helpful information, and encourage you to share with your friends and family as well:
- Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. You’ll want to be alert for the drive, so be sure to get adequate sleep (seven to nine hours) the night before you go.
- Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination. Many drivers try to maximize the holiday weekend by driving at night or without stopping for breaks. It’s better to allow the time to drive alert and arrive alive.
- Use the buddy system. Just as you should not swim alone, avoid driving alone for long distances. A buddy who remains awake for the journey can take a turn behind the wheel and help identify the warning signs of fatigue.
- Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours. Do something to refresh yourself like getting a snack, switching drivers, or going for a run.
- Take a nap—find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap, if you think you might fall asleep. Be cautious about excessive drowsiness after waking up.
- Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness as a side-effect.
- Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
- Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.
Even if you receive a number of hours of sleep, if you snore, you can still suffer from daytime sleepiness. For more tips on preventing falling asleep at the wheel, visit drowsydriving.org. For more information on how to read the signs of a snoring condition, visit Eos Sleep.
>> back to top
Snoring from sleep apnea can have dangerous consequences. For years physicians have known that chronic snoring can cause daytime symptoms of fatigue that affect cognitive function and memory loss due to the interruption in sleep it causes. A new study out of Australia from the Institute for Breathing and Sleep at Melbourne’s Austin Health reveals not just an impact in function. Snoring while you sleep could be the cause of brain damage.
During the Australian study, brain scans of 60 people in their mid 40’s who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, showed “a decreased amount of gray matter” compared to healthy sleepers. Sleep apnea is caused by the airways collapsing while asleep at night, pausing breathing and forcing sleep apnea sufferers from rousing from a deep sleep, sometimes “hundreds of times a night,” according to Dr. O’Donoghue of Austin Health. This pause results in the brain being deprived of oxygen as well as "surges in blood pressure".
Since the scans showed decreased amount of grey matter in the brain, it meant there was damage in certain areas. According to O’Donoghue, the damage was evident in two pockets of the brain, one that handles memory and the other known to allow smooth movement and changes in attention during complex tasks. Earlier studies have showed that this part of the brain is activated during a driving task, and therefore may explain why sleep apnea patients have an increased risk of car accidents.
"What specific part of sleep apnea might cause these changes we can’t say, but we can see the changes that have occurred…The take home message is if you complain of these sort of symptoms it is not a good idea to ignore it, you should seek help," Dr. O’Donoghue said.
This research was presented at the 22nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Sleep Association and Australasian Sleep Technologists Association Conference, in Christchurch, New Zealand.
>> back to top
According to a study in the October issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery, there is a questionnaire available to help identify patients undergoing surgery to identify whether they have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and whether they are at a higher risk for post-operative complications of the heart and lungs.
The questionnaire was administered by a team led by Tajender S. Vasu, M.D., of the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia to 135 patients who were about to undergo elective surgery. The study compared the number of patients with high and low OSA with those that had post-op complications using the questionnaire called the “STOP-BANG,” which is an acronym for identifiable signs of OSA: Snoring, Tiredness during the day, Observed apnea, high blood Pressure, Body mass index, Age, Neck circumference and Gender.
Of the 41.5% of patients that had high risk scores for OSA from the questionnaire, 19.6% had post-op complications, compared to 1.3% who had low OSA scores. The study was able to demonstrate that a high risk score for OSA on the STOP-BANG test is associated with post surgical complications, providing physicians with a means to identify those patients prior to their surgery.
>> back to top
The Veterans Administration announced that from 2008 to 2010, the number of veterans who receive benefits for sleep apnea increased by 60%, and that more than 20% of military veterans suffer from the sleeping disorder, compared to the estimate of 5% for those not in the military.
Although one of the main causes can be excess weight, the VA doctors suspect that repeat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are exposing the military service members to dust and smoke which are contributing to the increase in cases.
More than 63,000 veterans receive benefits for sleep apnea, which can cause daytime drowsiness, heart disease, and even strokes. The most common treatment is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. Although the Social Security Administration recognizes sleep apnea as a disability and pays benefits to those who can't work, the VA says veterans can receive benefits and hold jobs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is expected to spend approximately $500 million a year to treat veterans with sleep apnea, and it is expected to rise in the upcoming years. Considering that sleep apnea is linked to serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and daytime sleepiness which can cause memory loss and decrease work productivity, it is critical that these veterans receive appropriate care.
>> back to top
An on-going study taking place in Sweden has released preliminary findings that suggest that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be an even stronger risk factor for coronary artery disease than diabetes, obesity, hypertension and even smoking.
At the European Respiratory Society 2010 Annual Congress last week, Swedish pulmonoligist Yuksel Peker from the Skaraborg Hospital in Sweden presented his latest finding from the ongoing Randomized Intervention with CPAP in Coronary Artery Disease and Sleep Apnea (RICCADSA) trial.
Although the study is on-going, he acknowledged, he also stated “analyses of baseline demographics and comorbidity profiles continue to strongly support OSA as a risk factor for CAD.” The study was started in 2005 to analyze the impact of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on patients who had undergone revascularization for CAD and who also had OSA. ”Not only is the prevalence of OSA ‘surprisingly high,’” Dr. Peker said, but "these patients do not always show typical symptoms such as sleepiness.“
OSA was found in 64% of those with CAD. Comparitively, 58% had hypertension, and 28% were obese, making OSA much more common that was before thought of as more “conventional” risk factors. In addition, CAD patients with OSA were older than those without, were more obese, we mostly male, and had higher incidents of hypertension, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation.
Dr. Peker looked at both OSA syndrome (or "sleepy OSA," because of daytime sleepiness symptoms) and "nonsleepy OSA." He found that the CAD risk increase was present with both types of OSA.
The good news seems to be that those CAD patients that were studied with OSA had better compliance to the CPAP treatment. Dr. Peker indicated, “if we ask the CAD patients to use CPAP so far, they appear motivated enough to follow treatment.” At this point there is no proof that CPAP treatment actually reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease, however Dr. Peker suggested that it should be thought of as a “secondary cardiovascular prevention method.” The final results of the study are due out in 2012.
>> back to top
Although home sleep apnea testing equipment has be utilized for a few years, it wasn’t until recent findings presented at the American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference confirmed that used the home sleep test showed similar improvements in their obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment as did patients who had their sleep testing performed in an overnight lab, making the idea of finding a diagnosis much more appealing to many patients.
Prior to the findings of this study, it was commonly thought that patients would have the most successful treatment if they stayed overnight in a lab, because they would be spending more time with a technician who provides education of OSA and the importance of its treatment, which would improve the patient’s compliance using the standard CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device of their treatment once at home. Since many patients complain about the discomfort of the CPAP, compliance is difficult for many.
However, as this study found, of 300 patients who randomly either underwent their sleep testing in the lab or at home, 185 of them completed three months of follow-up treatment. The results of their OSA improvements using CPAP treatment where similar regardless of whether they had their sleep testing done in the lab or in the home.
Eos Sleep now offers home sleep testing equipment to qualified patients, and has found similar results as this study with its own patients who either under go sleep testing at the center’s overnight lab or at home.
A home sleep test is used only to diagnose sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, as well as the most serious. It is caused by an obstructed upper airway in which soft tissue of the palate, throat or tongue blocks the flow of air as a person struggles to breathe. Since OSA symptoms can lead to severe health conditions, it is very serious and important that patients receive expert medical care and guidance. There are other physical causes of snoring and apnea, and since home sleep tests only diagnose apnea, a patient should have a thorough physical exam first to see if the test is right for them or if a different line of treatment is necessary. Even if sleep apnea is suspected, there are other factors that may make a test in an overnight sleep lab necessary.
Visit Eos Sleep website for more information about the home sleep test. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea or if snoring is keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
>> back to top
Since its approval by the FDA a few years ago, the Pillar Procedure has been gaining in popularity as a remedy for snorers throughout the world. With widespread adoption by the medical community, many snoring sufferers are finally finding relief by turning to this procedure. Here are the facts.
Snoring is a complicated disorder, and there are many reasons why a person might snore. Causes such as a deviated septum, sinus disease and large tonsils are just a few reasons, and they are all physical conditions that need to be treated using specific methods. Another common cause of snoring is the fluttering of the soft palate while asleep, which can also occur with less severe forms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If that is the cause of a snorer’s condition, then there is a good chance it can be treated by the Pillar Procedure.
Worldwide, so far more than 30,000 people have been treated with the Pillar Procedure. It is a minimally invasive, simple and safe treatment for snoring and mild to moderate OSA which can be performed in a visit to the doctor’s office.
The Pillar Procedure involves stiffening the soft palate and offering structural support, reducing the vibration of the tissue that is causing the snoring when the palatal tissue collapses and obstructs the upper airway. During the procedure, three small polyester implants are placed into the soft palate and over time, the implants, together with the body’s natural fibrotic response, provide support to the soft palate.
After the procedure, patients’ snoring is reduced or cured, providing relief to their daytime sleep deprivation symptoms. Eos Sleep is a leading provider of the Pillar Procedure in New York City, and has successfully cured hundreds of patients from suffering from their snoring disorders.
To find out if the Pillar Procedure is right for you, contact us today for a thorough evaluation, schedule your appointment online.
>> back to top
There is a simple (and free) technique that researchers from Brazil have studied, suggesting that exercising the throat muscles may improve severe obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. These throat exercises, derived from speech therapy, seem to work because they have a marked ability to strengthen and tone the muscles of the throat, even reducing the circumference of a patient’s neck.
Sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening sleep disorder that is caused when the muscles of the throat collapse during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of apnea and also the most serious because it causes the soft tissue in the palate, throat, or tongue to “obstruct” the flow of air as a person struggles to breathe while they are asleep. Apnea is particularly severe when there are more than twenty or thirty events per hour because it severely limits the amount of oxygen the person receives throughout the night. Carrying extra weight, especially around the throat area has been found to be a related cause of OSA.
According to an article last month in The New York Times, a study on the effects of specific throat exercises on obstructive sleep apnea patients was conducted by the Heart Institute’s Pulmonary Sleep Laboratory at the University of São Paulo Medical School in Brazil. Researchers split the OSA patients into two groups. One group was instructed to do simple breathing exercises every day, the other group was instructed to do 30 minutes of throat exercises a day, comparable to those that speech therapists employ. The motions included swallowing and chewing, sliding the tongue back and forth to front of the palate, and repeating particular vowel sounds quickly. This exercise technique may be an alternative for some patients to the most widely known treatment of sleep apnea today, the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, which is attached to a mask the patient wears while asleep.
The researchers found that after three months, the group that only did the breathing exercises had almost no improvement, while those that performed the throat exercises reduced the severity of their sleep apnea by 39 percent. Although the patients’ body mass index remained consistent, also noted was that the exercises reduced the circumference of the subjects’ necks significantly. The study also stated they snored less and slept better, concluding that throat exercises “significantly reduce Obstructive Sleep Apnea severity and symptoms, and represent a promising treatment for moderate OSA.”
The report analysis can be found at PubMed.org. For more information about the available treatments of obstructive sleep apnea, including a throat exercise program, contact Eos Sleep. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it is important to get the treatment you need.
>> back to top
Using EPA air pollution data from a number of different American cities, researchers have established the first link between air pollution and both hypopnea (under breathing) and apnea (pauses in breathing) during sleep. Also studied was the affect that increases of temperature play on these sleeping disorders. Known as sleep disordered breathing (SDB), hypopnea and apnea can cause temporary elevations in blood pressure, lower blood oxygen levels, and can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
In a study that will be published in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health have explored the effects of air pollution and temperature increases on sleep apnea and hypopnea episodes. Using data from the EPA monitoring air pollution levels in 7 U.S. cities (Framingham, Minneapolis, New York City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Tucson), they studied it against data from the Sleep Heart Health Study of 6,000 people from 1995 to 1998.
The doctors were looking to find a correlation between “the elevation in ambient air pollution with an increased risk of SDB, nocturnal hypoxia and with reduced sleep quality,” as well as how “seasonal variations in temperature would exert an independent effect on SDB and sleep efficiency.” Using the data, and taking into account certain seasonal variables, they looked at known SDB factors including a patient’s age, gender and whether or not they smoke.
The results were that this is the first study to link air pollution and sleep disordered breathing. Antonella Zanobetti, Ph.D, a researcher on the project stated, ’We found novel evidence for pollution and temperature effects on sleep-disordered breathing.” They also found that increases in sleep apnea or hypopnea “were associated with increases in short-term temperature over all seasons, and with increases in particle pollution levels in the summer months." The short-term rises in temperature were associated with changes in respiratory disturbances, blood oxygen levels and decreases in sleep efficiency.
Sleep disordered breathing affects nearly 17 percent of the adults in the U.S., and many more aren’t aware they have a problem, since the episodes happen at night. If you feel you might suffer from a sleep apnea or hypopnea, because you’re experiencing some of the daytime symptoms, it is important to get treatment.
To get more information on how to treat sleep apnea or snoring disorder, contact Eos Sleep.
>> back to top
In yet what seems to be another reason for parents to get their children’s eating habits in check, a new study conducted by Italian researchers found that obese children were twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea than their more fit counterparts. The researchers studied a range of children of different weights, from those that did not snore to those with occasional snoring and habitual snoring.
The study compared 627 children who did not snore with 44 children with habitual snoring, and 138 children who snored occasionally. Of those children, 64 were obese, 121 were overweight, and 624 were normal weight.
It was found that 12.5 percent of obese children snored, which was more than two times higher than commonly overweight children, and three times higher than normal-weight children. Those obese children were more than twice as likely to suffer from the more serious condition of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is characterized by loud snoring and periods of holding the breath. People who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing dozens of times during sleep and may not breathe for as much as three fourths of the time that they’re sleeping. This can lead to severe health issues such as high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, enlargement of the heart, stroke and long dysfunction.
Statistically, sleep apnea is as prevalent as adult-onset diabetes. During a sleep apnea event, the airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Unchecked, it can be dangerous because the heart is sensitive to oxygen levels in the blood.
The study was published in the May issue of the journal CHEST.
For more information about the symptoms of sleep apnea, visit Eos Sleep’s link to: Sleep Apnea section.
>> back to top
In a new study out of Great Britain, researchers have uncovered a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and floppy eyelid syndrome (FES). The study finds the factors that are shared by the two syndromes, and it is believed will help doctors better diagnose and treat patients as it gives doctors the suggestion that they should look for OSA in a patient when they find FES, and vice-versa.
The study was led by Daniel G. Ezra, MD, MRCOphth, of Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England and published in the April issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
FES is characterized by rubbery-textured upper eyelids that may flip while a person is asleep to expose the whites of their eyes. The patient’s eyes then become dry and irritated and may develop a discharge. It is believed that since Obstructive Sleep Apnea may impair the central nervous system, during sleep a patient may not wake up normally when breathing slows down or stops, or when their eyelid is subjected to extreme stress. This, combined with the belief that OSA patients may often sleep on their side, is believed to cause repeated pressure on the eyelid, which could be contributing factors to Floppy Eye Syndrome.
Dr. Ezra stated that "About one-third of the FES patients in our study also had OSA. The significant association of the two disorders was evident even when we considered and controlled for patients’ body-mass index (BMI, an indicator of whether obesity was a factor). FES is often considered a disease of overweight, middle-aged men, but our study did not find a patient cluster based on age, gender or BMI," he added.
If you would like to read more from the study, visit The American Academy of Opthomology.
To find out more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea, visit Eos Sleep’s section.
>> back to top
In a recent study conducted on golfers who were diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, those who received treatment through nasal positive airway pressure (NPAP) therapy not only improved their health, but their golf games, too. It’s long been known that sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness and cognitive impairment, but never has it been so clearly demonstrated than by watching the golfer’s scores improve through treatment.
The research findings were presented last fall at CHEST 2009, the scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, and the study was conducted by Marc L. Benton, MD, FCCP a of the Atlantic Sleep and Pulmonary Associates in Madison, NJ and Neil S. Friedman, RN, RPSGT of Morristown Memorial Hospital. With obstructive sleep apnea, breathing becomes periodically blocked during sleep. The NPAP treatment uses special nasal masks that push pressurized air into the windpipe to keep it open.
The research showed the impact of the NPAP treatment on the golf handicap index of a dozen players with obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment spanned three to five months, and after 20 rounds of golf, golfers in treatment demonstrated a significant drop in their average handicap, from 12.4 to 11. The study found the best golfers, often older in the group, had the best improvements in their scores, dropping from 9.2 to 6.3 in their average handicaps. Twelve golfers without obstructive sleep apnea and who did not receive NPAP treatment were used as comparison, and showed no changed in their scores. In addition to reduced handicaps, the NPAP-treated golfers had significant improvements in their levels of sleepiness.
“Any golfer knows, when your ability to think clearly or make good decisions is compromised, the likelihood of playing your best is greatly diminished. Through treatment with NPAP, we can improve many cognitive metrics, such as attention span, memory, decision-making abilities and frustration management, which may in turn, positively affect a person’s golf games,” said Benton.
The NPAP is only effective when used properly and regularly, and it is reported that of men that use the NPAP device, only 40% are compliant, blaming discomfort, inconvenience, cost, noise or embarrassment as reasons for skipping the therapy. “Providers typically attempt to maximize compliance with the therapy by promoting its medical benefits or warning patients of the risks involved in not being treated.” Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to heart disorders, lung dysfunction, high blood pressure and stroke. However, in this study, patients had a compliance rate above 90%. “The possibility of improving one’s ability to play golf appears to have been a significant motivation to improve treatment compliance,” said Benton.
If the hope of improving golfer’s scores is a way to encourage them to seek help with their sleep apnea, we’re all for it.
>> back to top
When people have heart attacks, they most often have them during the day, usually between 6 a.m. and noon. Doctors believe that is because for most people the morning is a high-stress time of day. When someone has a nighttime heart attack it signifies that something unusual has happened because it is a time when the heart should be at rest. Now in a recent report, obstructive sleep apnea is being linked to nighttime heart attacks.
For years, Dr. Virend Somers, a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic, has suspected that sleep apnea is to blame for nighttime heart attacks and strokes. In fact, more than a decade ago Somers and his colleagues showed that obstructive sleep apnea has a powerful effect on the sympathetic nervous system, and causes a high increase in the flow of adrenaline, high blood pressure and a lack of oxygen.
His report last year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is based on years of study in which Somers and his colleagues studied 92 people hospitalized after heart attacks. The vast majority of those who suffered heart attacks at night had undiagnosed sleep apnea. "So, perhaps sleep apnea is acting as a trigger for night-time heart attacks." Somers said.
Although not considered conclusive since it was not a controlled study, this is just another of example of several studies that have shown that sleep apnea and cardiac problems are linked. A number of years ago the largest study in this area showed thousands of people with sleep apnea who refused treatment had 2 to 4 times an increased risk of cardiac events. Somers’ study is different in that it makes the timing connection, allowing physicians to suspect sleep apnea when a nighttime heart attack occurs.
Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, and unless a spouse makes the individual aware that they gasp for breath when waking from an episode, often the sleep apnea sufferer isn’t aware of the problem. Daytime sleepiness and fatigue, which are common symptoms, are sometimes not connected in the sleep apnea sufferer’s mind so the disorder can go undiagnosed for years. Once it is diagnosed however, sometimes lifestyle modifications such as losing weight and quitting smoking can be beneficial and there are also devices available that successfully treat apnea by keeping the airways while the patient sleeps.
Learn more about sleep apnea and its available treatments.
>> back to top