Breathe Easier: CPAP Machines Provide Help for Problem Sleepers and Their Partners

 

By Tinka Davi
Chief of Snooze News
World Sleep Foundation

Is your partner a problem snorer? Does he – or she – seem to stop breathing for just a moment and then gasp for air? Or how about you? Do you wake up frequently during the night? Are days a drag?

Perhaps you or your partner have a breathing problem such as sleep apnea, a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), breathing pauses can last a few seconds or even minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour. Normal breathing starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

The NIH also says that, in obstructive sleep apnea, the airway collapses or is blocked during sleep and, when the sleeper tries to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring which may disturb other people.

What’s the answer?

CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep airways open.

A CPAP machine has a mask or other device that fits over the nose or both the nose and mouth. It’s kept in place by straps. It also has a tube connecting the mask to the machine’s motor, which blows air into the tube.

The machines are small, lightweight and fairly quiet, making a soft, rhythmic noise. Some CPAP machines have features such as heated humidifiers.

The CPAP is the best treatment for sleep apnea. Its mild pressure prevents a person’s airway from collapsing or becoming blocked.

The machine is prescribed by a doctor or sleep specialist who works with sleep-problem people to make sure the settings are correct. The physicians want to check to see if the air pressure from the CPAP machine is enough to keep the airway open while the person sleeps. That may call for the person to participate in an overnight sleep study to determine the correct settings.

According to the NIH, CPAP treatment has many benefits.

•It keeps the airway open while the person sleeps;
•It corrects snoring so others in the household can sleep;
•It improves the quality of sleep;
•It relieves sleep apnea symptoms which include excessive daytime sleepiness; and
•It decreases or prevents high blood pressure.

People who use a CPAP say they feel better, more attentive and better able to work. Many report fewer complaints from bed partners about snoring and disruption of their sleep.

There are different types of CPAP machines as well as other positive airway pressure devices. If you are having sleep problems, check with your sleep specialist about the options.

But give it time. You can’t expect the remedy to resolve the problem overnight. It may take a week or even a month to adjust to the CPAP machine.

Your aim is to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep Clinics: Help for Those Who Experience Sleep Issues

 

By Tinka Davi
Chief of Snooze News
World Sleep Foundation

There’s more to sleep than just getting a few hours of ZZZZZs. Sleep should be uninterrupted and restful. Proper sleep promotes health and wellness. People who sleep well, live well. They wake up refreshed and raring to go through the day.

Sidebar: List of Major Sleep Clinics Around the World

Those who experience sleep problems or who have a sleep disorder probably need further examination. Improper, unhealthy sleep and sleep deprivation are linked to major medical problems including heart disease, depression, obesity and lower life expectancy.

The Standard University Sleep Disorders Clinic, the first-ever medical clinic that was established to study and specialize in sleep disorders, reports that 70 million people suffer from chronic, severe sleep disorders in the United States alone. They may have difficulty sleeping during the night, experience excessive daytime sleepiness or have other medical issues that occur or be exacerbated during sleep.

Sleep experts in the UK say that “one in four adults walks around like zombies feeling like death warmed up as a result of disturbed sleep,” according to Raconteur published in The Times last year.

That’s supported by a BBC Science report which says that “25 percent of the UK population suffers from some a sleep disorder that results in excessive daytime sleepiness.”

Popping a pill isn’t the remedy. People who suffer from sleep disorders need to see a sleep specialist and probably need to spend a day or night in a sleep clinic or sleep centre. Sleep physicians and sleep specialists are licensed, trained and Board-Certified in Sleep Medicine and they exclusively treat sleep disorders.

There are more than 100 different sleep disorders which is why an accurate diagnosis is the key to successfully treatment. And there may be several choices available for some disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, according to the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine.

Sleep physicians at the Sleep Clinics of America (SCA) are fully engaged in comprehensive sleep care and are updated with evolving data-driven patient care algorithms.

In the UK, sleep centres (or sleep clinics) are the facilities where sleep disorders are monitored. Patients usually spend the day or night in the centre where various tests are performed depending on the sleep disorder.

The idea of going into a centre for sleep investigations may seem daunting but care will be taken to make patients feel comfortable and often tests will be conducted in bedroom-like rooms. They may be asked to spend a day and night in the sleep centre depending on the kind of tests that are needed. These tests are painless and people should feel relaxed.

The Papworth Respiratory Support and Sleep Centre (RSSC) is the largest and only sleep centre in the UK that is formally accredited by the British and European sleep societies. It offers diagnostic tests and treatments for a range of sleep disorders, with several sleep clinics held each week. “Over 10,000 patients with obstructive sleep apnoeas are currently treated with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) systems and the centre cares for over 300 patients with narcolepsy and large numbers with unusual behaviours during sleep.”

Conditions treated at the Stanford Clinic include Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which occurs when a person stops breathing during periods of sleep, usually a result of an obstruction or blockage in the airway. Another is Snoring which is caused by the obstruction of air into the lungs. “The ‘extra’ air gets redirected into the mouth, creating a vibration of the soft tissue of the palate.” Still another treatment is for Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), a condition where the upper airway is reduced during sleep. That results in disturbed sleep and can lead snoring, cause daytime sleepiness, cognitive impairment, unrefreshed sleep and frequent wakefulness from sleep.

Those who are experiencing any sort of sleep difficulty should check with their physician and request a referral to a sleep specialist. Sleep problems can best be observed, diagnosed and treated by specialists in a sleep clinic or sleep centre setting.

Breathe Easier: CPAP Machines Provide Help for Problem Sleepers and Their Partners

 

By Tinka Davi
Chief of Snooze News
World Sleep Foundation

Is your partner a problem snorer? Does he – or she – seem to stop breathing for just a moment and then gasp for air? Or how about you? Do you wake up frequently during the night? Are days a drag?

Perhaps you or your partner have a breathing problem such as sleep apnea, a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), breathing pauses can last a few seconds or even minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour. Normal breathing starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

The NIH also says that, in obstructive sleep apnea, the airway collapses or is blocked during sleep and, when the sleeper tries to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring which may disturb other people.

NHS Choices, the UK’s biggest health website, said those who have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) have two types of breathing interruptions. The first is apnoea. That’s when muscles and soft tissues in the throat relax and collapse sufficiently to cause a total blockage of the airway. “It’s called an apnoea when the airflow is blocked for 10 seconds or more.”

The second type is called hypopnea which is a partial blockage of the airway that results in an airflow reduction of greater than 50percent for 10 seconds or more.

“As many people with OSA experience episodes of both apnoea and hypopnoea, doctors sometimes refer to the condition as obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome or OSAHS,” according to NHS Choices.

What’s the answer?

CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep airways open.

A CPAP machine has a mask or other device that fits over the nose or both the nose and mouth. It’s kept in place by straps. It also has a tube connecting the mask to the machine’s motor, which blows air into the tube.

The machines are small, lightweight and fairly quiet, making a soft, rhythmic noise. Some CPAP machines have features such as heated humidifiers.

The CPAP is the best treatment for sleep apnea. Its mild pressure prevents a person’s airway from collapsing or becoming blocked.

The machine is prescribed by a doctor or sleep specialist who works with sleep-problem people to make sure the settings are correct. The physicians want to check to see if the air pressure from the CPAP machine is enough to keep the airway open while the person sleeps. That may call for the person to participate in an overnight sleep study to determine the correct settings.

According to the NIH, CPAP treatment has many benefits.

· It keeps the airway open while the person sleeps;

· It corrects snoring so others in the household can sleep;

· It improves the quality of sleep;

· It relieves sleep apnea symptoms which include excessive daytime sleepiness; and

· It decreases or prevents high blood pressure.

People who use a CPAP say they feel better, more attentive and better able to work. Many report fewer complaints from bed partners about snoring and disruption of their sleep.

There are different types of CPAP machines as well as other positive airway pressure devices. If you are having sleep problems, check with your sleep specialist about the options.

But give it time. You can’t expect the remedy to resolve the problem overnight. It may take a week or even a month to adjust to the CPAP machine.

Your aim is to get a good night’s sleep.

World Sleep Foundation Announces Pillow Week In World Sleep Month, 2015

 

The World Sleep Foundation is pleased to announce Pillow Week, to acknowledge the importance of probably the single most important sleep accessory after the mattress. Pillow Week runs within World Sleep Month.

“Pillows are an extremely important component of our sleeping area. The right pillow should provide support for your head and neck and shouldn’t lose its puffiness or fluffiness quickly. You should wake up feeling refreshed.” – Tinka Davi, Chief Editor of Snooze News. Click here to learn how.

The World Sleep Foundation chose to promote the bed pillow in its own Pillow Week as a way of highlighting the importance of selecting the right pillow to achieve a good night’s sleep. The wide range of different pillow shapes and different pillow fillings can be extremely confusing to consumers trying to decide what is the right pillow for them.

Writing at the “Sleep Well Live Well” blog, in “Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: Pick the Perfect Pillow,” the Snooze News editor wrote an outline of the various Bed Pillow types investigated by Kimberly Sayers Bartosch, followed by advice from Michelle Ullman on choosing the perfect pillow.

World Sleep Month, observed annually in March, focuses on the global sleeplessness epidemic. Many things determine whether people get a good night’s sleep or not, and a mattress and pillow both play important roles.

During Pillow Week, The World Sleep Foundation will highlight various styles and types of pillows, promoting sleep education and the Foundation’s Sleep Well Live Well campaign to people around the globe. The bed pillow can help to mitigate the sleeplessness epidemic that was noted in a recent study supported by the World Health Organization. The international study was funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, USA, and by the Wellcome Trust, UK. The study showed that levels of sleep problems in the developing world are approaching those seen in developed nations and are linked to an increase in problems such as depression and anxiety. Sleeplessness affects an estimated 150 million people in the developing world, the study says.

“Sleep Well, Live Well” the World Sleep Foundation’s motto, indicates the way sleep works, in conjunction with life. The foundation says that consistently having a good night’s sleep is important for all people, no matter wherever they live in the world, and what they sleep on matters.

“Having slept on four continents, I have a a lot of experience with pillows, and it took me a long time to realize that if I wanted to get a good night’s sleep, no matter where I am in the world, I needed to find the right pillow for me, and take it with me wherever I go,” said Sally Dunn, an inter-continental light sleeper.

During Sleep Month 2015, World Sleep Foundation is stepping up its education campaign, reaching more people all over the world, contacting and working with more sleep product manufacturers, highlighting sleep research, holding The Mattress Challenge, promoting Pillow Week, connecting on Twitter @worldsleeps, using the hashtag #SleepMonth and encouraging everyone to “Sleep Well, Live Well.” Pillow Week is an important part of the Sleep Month effort.

Manufacturers and retailers are invited to enter the Mattress Challenge that was announced last week, and to review the Mattress Challenge information page at:
http://worldsleepfoundation.org/world-sleep-foundation-mattress-challenge.htm

About World Sleep Foundation

Founded by professionals afflicted with sleep disorders, the World Sleep Foundation and its “Sleep Well Live Well Blog,” which features sleep news and sleep tips, provides information and educational resources about the latest clinical advances, and management and treatment options for a wide variety of sleep issues. World Sleep Foundation, believing that knowledge of issues related to sleep is crucial to all individuals, offers the online resources in convenient, easy-to-read formats for patients, medical professionals and the general public.

The World Sleep Foundation is dedicated to education, research, diagnosis, treatment and continuing education of sleep disorders to the international community.

For more information about World Sleep Foundation, please visit the website or follow us on Twitter @worldsleeps

Why Is Sleep Important?

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: Pick the Perfect Pillow

 

By Tinka Davi, Chief of Snooze News
released in conjunction with World Sleep Month and Pillow Week– #SleepMonth #PillowWeek

Are you a pillow puncher? Or do you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow?
Trying to get comfortable for some people is difficult while other don’t have any problems.

But how do you feel when you get up in the morning?

If you’re tired, groggy or have a stiff neck and shoulders, you may have a problem with your pillow.

How old is it? Some experts say you should buy a new pillow every year. But some sleepers don’t want to part with the pillow that they punch and crunch in their arms at night. But, pillows past their prime may contain mold, mildew, fungus and dust mites, according to sleep expert and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD who was quoted in a WebMD article.

The right pillow should provide support for your head and neck and shouldn’t lose its puffiness or fluffiness quickly. You should wake up feeling refreshed.

Here are some pointers for picking out a pillow:

Pillow Stuff

Walk into any store that sells pillows and you see a wide selection of pillow fillings and range of prices.

The best way to choose is to test the pillows. Pull out a few and rest your head on them. Or lie down on a nearby mattress with the pillows you prefer.

What’s the best pillow for you? Here’s a rundown according to “Types of Bed Pillows” by Kimberly Sayers Bartosch and “How to Choose the Perfect Pillow” by Michelle Ullman. Both articles are on About.com:

Natural Fill Pillow – Feather, down with fluffy insulation under feathers, or a combination. They conform to the head and neck. The higher the fill power the more loft and durability.

Synthetic Fill Pillow – Man-made, customarily polyester and most affordable. They have shorter life spans, but don’t conform to the head and neck like a natural fill pillow. They are hypoallergenic.

Polyester – The most common synthetic, it’s non-allergenic, inexpensive and washable.

Poly-Cluster Fill Pillow – A synthetic fill of polyester clusters coated with silicone to feel and move like down which conforms to the head and neck. These are great for allergy sufferers because they offer the softness of true down but without the high cost.

Latex – Supportive and dense but don’t conform to the body like foam pillows. They’re often heavy and thick.
Foam Pillows – Made of solid pieces or chunks of foam, these are an inexpensive alternative to Memory Foam.

Memory Foam – Dense, sponge-like pillows that mold around the head and neck for extra support. They’re recommended for people who like a firm pillow or who have neck and spine issues.

Pellets – Pillows filled with polyester beads used for beanbags and therapy pillows. They adjust to movement, but can be noisy.
Buckwheat Hulls – These feel like beanbags and are heavier, make a crinkly noise and tend to flatten over time.

Sleeping Style

Back sleepers need thin pillows so their heads are not thrown forward; others recommend a fluffier pillow that lifts the head and chin. Memory Foam pillows offer the best support.

Side sleepers need firmer pillows that support the head, neck and shoulder. This position is preferred by most people and is recommended as the best way to sleep. Recommended pillows are some Memory Foam, natural filled and poly cluster.
Stomach sleepers need thin, practically flat pillows. Experts advise against sleeping on the stomach as it can lead to physical problems such as postural pains. Best pillows are fluffy down or poly cluster pillows.

Size Up the Situation

Your preference for pillow size also affects price and selection.

Sizes range from standard, queen and king to body pillows that help side sleepers, or square European pillows and travel pillows.

Choose according to your sleep style – side, back or stomach and any allergic reactions to fillings.

The best pillow for you is the one that allows you to get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and raring to go.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: Does a Mattress Matter?

 

Tinka Davi, Chief of Snooze News

Can’t get comfortable when you go to bed at night? If you toss and turn, have sleepless nights and feel exhausted in the morning, your problem may be your mattress.

Choosing and sleeping on the right mattress may alleviate your nights of unrest and help you wake up refreshed and raring to go.

The right mattress does matter and there are studies to prove it.

Drs. Andy Krystal and Jack Edinger from Duke University conducted a four-year study on how different support levels of mattress affected sleep, pain and daytime functions, according to an article in the Huffinton Post by Dr. Robert Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute. The two doctors from Duke evaluated more than 16,000 nights of sleep on 128 normal pain-free participants and evaluated how mattresses affected their health.

Their study differed from others who had smaller numbers of people in their sample groups. One suggested that “medium-firm” mattresses were best for sleeping, but there are errors in that conclusion.

For one, there isn’t a definition of a “medium-firm” mattress and what it would feel like. A 250-pound man may describe it as soft; while a 125-woman might say it’s firm.

Secondly, people in that study slept well on other types of mattresses, so should they switch to a medium-firm for better sleep?

Other studies have concluded that mattresses have no impact on sleep, but they, too have used small numbers of people or they’ve sampled university students. The latter is a poor choice, said Dr. Oexman, because they are usually very sleep-deprived. Usually students can sleep just about anywhere, including the classroom.

In the study by Drs. Krystal and Edinger, sleepers spent four weeks each on seven different mattresses with various amounts of firmness. They found that even small differences in mattress support, whether it was soft, medium or firm, correlated with changes in sleep and pain.

They concluded that it was a clear indication that mattresses really do matter.
And there was a bonus. They also found a second conclusion and that was that people who shop when they’re awake may not be able to determine which mattresses are best.

The finding that people are poor at selecting mattresses that would allow them to sleep pain-free should interest consumers. The reason for the phenomenon, Dr. Oexman said, lies in what happens to our body when sleeping. People pass through different stages of sleep, including “rapid eye movement” or REM stage, when the most vivid dreams occur. To prevent people from acting out those dreams, they lose skeletal muscle tone and spinal support since the skeletal muscles support the back. Therefore, the mattress that felt supportive when awake and when the muscles were active may be different during REM sleep.

That means people can feel the differences in mattresses on those nights when they can sleep.