5 Tips to Stop Snoring

Snoring often makes for funny jokes, but it is no laughing matter. Snoring is not benign, but an indication of a blockage. That blockage could be a sign of apnea or cessation of breathing. Disrupted sleep for both the snorer and their partner can effects to overall health and well being.

Here are 5 basic tips that can help some to stop snoring:

1. Sleep on your side

A change in sleeping position can help maintain an open airway during sleep. Try using a body pillow to help you stay on your side at night.

2. Lose weight

If you are carrying a few extra pounds, work on losing that weight for obvious health benefits. Excess weight can cause additional tissue to block your airway when lying down.

3. Avoid alcohol before bedtime

Alcohol within 4-5 hours before bedtime can cause even a non-snorer to snore at night. Alcohol can relax the resting tone of the muscles in the back of the throat thus causing a vibration making that snoring sound.

4. Stay Hydrated

If you aren’t consuming enough water daily your secretions in the nose and soft palate become stickier. This can lead to more snoring. Have you had at least 8 glasses of water to drink today?

5. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep habits are known as sleep hygiene. Go to bed at a consistent time every night. If you stay up late and go to bed overtired, you tend to sleep hard causing the muscles in your through to loosen and vibrate.

Try these 5 things and see if you can reduce or stop snoring. The only way to know for sure if snoring is disruptive to your breathing is to have a sleep study. If you wake up tired, or feel sleepy throughout the day, consult with a sleep specialist, like Dr. Vivek Dogra. If your family finds your snoring funny, it’s best to have it evaluated.

Sleep Apnea and Drowsy Driving

Sleep Apnea is a major contributor to excessive daytime drowsiness. For those who drive for a living, it can be a matter of life and death. Excessive drowsiness has been shown to impair drivers as much as twice the legal alcohol limit.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that 1 in 4 commercial drivers have sleep apnea. Signs of sleep apnea include morning headaches, loud snoring, irritability, decreased sex drive, lack of concentration and memory impairment. Untreated, sleep apnea is a deadly situation for commercial truck drivers.

Sleep apnea can affect both men and women, at any age. Common risk factors include

  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Being overweight
  • A large neck size (17 inches or greater for men, 16 inches or greater for women)
  • Being age 40 or older
  • Having a small upper airway
  • Having a recessed chin, small jaw or a large overbite
  • Smoking and alcohol use

The good news is that sleep apnea is highly treatable. Those complying with treatment can perform their job duties as well as someone without sleep apnea. The most effective treatment is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP delivers a small pulse of air that keeps the airway open allowing the user to get a restful night’s sleep.

Drowsy driving is avoidable. If you suspect you have any issues with your sleep, have a conversation with your doctor. A sleep study will confirm if you have sleep apnea. For commercial truck drivers, treating sleep apnea can mean saving your life and others.

Seahawks–Super Bowl Favorites?

Many think the Seattle Seahawks success comes from the 12th man on the field–their over exuberant fans. While the noise created at CenturyLink Field has been verified as the world’s loudest  stadium and registered small earthquakes by seismologists, the Seahawks may have another advantage: sleep.

A Harvard based team of researchers studied the timing of games as it relates to outcome. They concluded that West Coast teams have a distinct advantage over East Coast teams in games that start after 8pm Eastern Standard Time. Evening start times are favored for broadcasters in their ability to generate larger audiences in prime time viewing hours, but players may not be at their peak. The researchers analyzed the outcome of 106 Monday Night Football games with matchups between East Coast teams and West Coast teams. Factoring in the skill levels of both teams by using Las Vegas point spreads, the researchers observed that the west Coast teams beat the predicted point spread 66% of the time and my a margin of over 5 points. In their control group no West Coast advantage was found for daytime games. These results mirror those of another study that looked at NFL games between 1970 and 1994.

That unseen advantage comes from Circadian Rhythms, our natural body clock. This body clock determines our times of peak performance and when we need rest to rejuvenate. East Coast teams playing outside their peak performance times are at a documented disadvantage. Between travel and the time zone difference, even high performing athletes are affected when their normal sleep routine is changed.

While neither Seattle nor San Francisco has a sleep advantage in this Sunday’s game, the winner could have an edge late in the game should they face a certain team from New England on Super Bowl Sunday.

Disruptions to your circadian rhythms can have a negative effect on your overall health including weight gain. If your sleep is challenged, consult with Board Certified Sleep Specialist, Vivek Dogra.

Sleep Your Way to a Better Golf Game

A study in the December 15 issue of  the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed middle aged men who received CPAP treatment for their obstructive sleep loss improved their golf game. Participants in the study reported significant improvements with excessive daytime sleepiness and overall sleep as related to quality of life

Participants treated with CPAP saw a drop in their golf handicap (a standardized measure of golf performance), by 11%. Highly skilled golfers in the study saw their golf handicaps drop by an amazing 31.5%. The participants reported improvements were attributed to factors like endurance, improved concentration, and decision-making.

Improved performance, whether recreational in a game of golf or through our work endeavors is a strong motivator fin our lives. Researchers of the study indicated that the study results suggest improved performance was a great motivator for participants to follow through with treatment.

If you are looking to improve your golf game, perhaps you should assess the quality of your sleep instead of purchasing a new set of clubs. If your poor sleep is affecting your performance in golf or more importantly your everyday life at work and at home, consult with a Board Certified Sleep Specialist.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

With many of us traveling by car during this season, it is important to remember the effect of sleep on our driving performance.  Driving while fatigued is much like drunk driving as our reaction time is slowed, lapses in judgment occur and our vision is impaired.

The AAA estimated in a 2010 study that 17 percent of all fatal car crashes involved a drowsy driver. While we don’t accept impaired driving as a society, we ignore our own judgment when it comes to driving our own vehicles while tired. In a recent study, the AAA Foundation reports that one in four drivers struggle to stay awake while driving. Younger drivers are the worst offenders, with 33% of motorists 19-24 admitting to driving while dangerously drowsy. You can find more information on drowsy driving from the AAA here.

Drowsy driving affects transportation workers in our mass transit and distribution systems. The engineer of the New York’s Metro North train that derailed in December told investigators he dozed off. Officials at the scene described his condition prior to the crash as nearly hypnotized in a trance like state.

With our own performance so easily compromised by poor sleep, what can we do to ensure our safety and those around us as we travel?

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep the night before a long drive
  • Drive during the time you are normally awake.
  • Eat light meals (avoid heavy foods) both before and during the trip
  • Plan a break every 2 hours

Please get to where you are going safely, many of us are depending on you. If you suspect that you have trouble sleeping or experience daytime drowsiness, visit with a Board Certified Sleep Specialist.

Sleep Research Headlines in the News

Sleep Research

German researchers say certain sounds may boost memory while you snooze
Link: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20130411/study-puts-new-spin-on-sound-sleep

Sleep needs – Quantity vs Quality
Link: http://www.rodale.com/sleep-needs

Women With Sleep Apnea Have Higher Degree of Brain Damage Than Men, Study Shows
Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203150006.htm

Increased Sleep Could Reduce Rate of Adolescent Obesity
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408123534.htm

Fun Dream Trivia: The average dream lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.

Nightmares – and when to seek help.

An occasional nightmare is a normal occurrence. They are usually brought on by emotional or physical stress – or sometimes over-eating late at night. We’ve all had them at one time or another – we wake with our hearts beating, perhaps out-of-breath and sometimes are unable to get back to sleep. But they pass and are usually forgotten within a few hours – or at least until you are able to bore several of your co-workers with the plot (don’t worry, we all do this!) Studies show that adults have at least one nightmare a month, young children under five have them very infrequently but older children and adolescents have them on average of one a week.

But what if they don’t go away?

If you begin to have persistent nightmares that keep you from getting a good night sleep, you should consider talking to a sleep specialist at Somnique Health. Disturbing dreams can cause sleeplessness (insomnia) and can trigger other health issues. At Somnique Health, we focus on your overall health and well-being, We can work with you to determine the cause of your nightmares and recommend treatment and therapy that can get you back to sleeping soundly through the night.

For more information on nightmare disorders, visit these sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightmare
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightmare_disorder