MySleepApnea.Org

Archive for August 2008

Yes, ladies, that is a clue, to get more sleep! Theres a reason they call it beauty sleep.

Sleep helps you restore to your body’s full potential; including weight! Sleep influences the hormones in the body related to hunger. A good night’s rest can improve the chances of successful weight loss.

Adequate rest could play an important role in shedding pounds. It might seem like one more thing added to the long to-do list for losing weight, but paying attention to sleep patterns and getting the recommended amount of shuteye might help with reducing the number on the scale.

According to the National Sleep Foundation 63% of Americans do not get 8 hours of sleep a day and 31% get less then 7 hours on week days. In their 2008 Sleep America Poll, 72% of the respondents were overweight or obese. For, work days, these individuals reported less time in bed than the average weight respondents.

Simply stated, many people are not well rested. This is an even more improtant issue for those struggling to lose weight. Among other health risks, sleep deprivation could contradict weight loss effots by increasing hunger.

Sleep & Hormones

Sleep deprivation influences two hormones that play a major role in appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that is responsible for increasing appetite. Leptin is a hormone that lets the brain know when the body is full, therefore decreasing appetite.

When sleep deprivation occurs there is a decrease in leptin (the full hormone) and an increase in ghrelin (the appetite hormone). This leads to an increase in appetite overall. It appears taht this can result in hunger and increased food intake the day following a night of too little sleep.

How much?

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Unfortunantely, there is no specific number of hours that is considered enough sleep. Several factors, including age and gender, influence how much one need to be well rested. Researching is still being conducted to look more closely at the variations in sleep requirements.

Getting a good nights sleep

The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips to improve the quality and quantity of sleep.

  • Before bedtime choose activities that are relaxing such as reading an enjoyable book or listening to soothing music. Avoid stressful activities such as paying bills or engaging in problem-solving.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products close to bedtime. All can disrupt sleep and influence sleep quality.
  • Eat and exercise at least 3 hours prior to bedtime. This reduces the possible disruption of falling asleep and staying asleep due to digestion, frequent bathroom trips and elevated body temperature.
  • Make an effort to create a sleep-friendly environment. The bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool. Sleep on a supportive mattress and pillows, and decorate in a way that is inviting and free of allergens.

 If losing weight were simple, Spandx would be just another screen name in a S&M chat room. But dieting is complicated: There are even ways to screw it up without even realizing it. For instance, who would ever think that working out in the a.m. or cranking the AC might be the reason you’re not slimming down?  Luckily, once you’ve ID’d these flubs, fixing them is nowhere near as hard as pulling on a pair of control-top hose.

Roadblock No. 1:   You work out at 6 a.m.

And what’s wrong with that? Morning workouts are great- if you go to bed at 10 p.m.  In a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who slept seven or more hours a night were less likely to put on weight then women who didn’t. Those who slept only six hours a night were 12 percent more likely to gain substantial weight -33 pounds on average over the course of 16 years! (Women who slept a measly 5 hours had a 32 percent chance of gaining 30 or more pounds). Other studies have linked lack of sleep to a higher BMI and have found that it negatively affects levels of the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin.

Detour:  Don’t sacrifice your snooze time- not even for an extra long run. And quality matters more than quantity, so taking a siesta later won’t help. In a 20-minute power nap you don’t get the deep-sleep stages. You need to go throught the cycles of sleep over a few hours to get the restorative rest that allows your body to work properly. Bottom line: You’re better off sleeping through your workout every other day than stumbling to a sunrise Pilates class on too few Z’s.

Studies have shown the lack of sleep speeds up risky decisions.

  Heightened expectations and low risk perception – that is what lack of sleep seems to induce when decision making during gambling was studied in an experimental study. This showed that parts of the brain, where regions were important in responding to losses were under-recruited when losses were encountered. This represents a double jeopardy – expecting a higher payout when none is really offered and being less sensitive to loss, when it might be prudent to be.

  Sleep deprivation affects many aspects of our well being. It impairs vigilance, flexible thinking, working memory, and executive functioning. People appear to make fewer optimal decisions when they lack adequate sleep.

  Understanding why we make poorer choices when sleep deprived is important not only because of the increaseing numbers of persons affected, but also because there exists today, unprecedented  opportunities to incur damaging losses by means such as online gambling. This work is one of many that evaluated the neutral correlates of decison-making but the first to apply such methods to sleep deprived individuals.

  It was observed that there are quite large differences to the necessity for sleep. While most lay persons do not question the need for sleep and acknowledge that sleep restriction for whatever reason is something they would avoid if given a chance, there are a surprising number of persons like Thomas Edison who felt that sleep was optional and that man would evolve to do away with sleep.

A 2007 study in the journal Sleep used a gambling task to show that risky decisions can be more attractive to a sleep-deprived brain. The study also cites other research showing that well-rested people learn to avoid high risks and choose what is most advantageous, while sleep-deprived people tend to continue making high-risk decisions.

  An independent link between sleep apnea and mortality was discovered by a group of Australian researchers, suggesting the prevention and treatment of this condition should be a higher priority for government bodies working to improve community health.

The study conducted by the Woolocock institute of Medical Research in Sydney found moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was associated with 33% mortality over 14 years in people with no sleep apnea.

This is the first report to demonstrate an independent association between all-cause mortality and obstructive sleep apnea in a population-based cohort. The community based sample of 380 people comprised men and women from Western Australia who underwent investigation with a home sleep apnea monitoring device in 1990.

The study results confirm the pattern seen in clinic or hospital-based studies where people more severely afflicted by the disease may have potentially biased results.

Findings of the study have important implications for the direction of health policy in Australia.

Because sleep apnea is strongly associated with obesity, and its related diseases, it has been difficult in the past to produce clear evidence that increased mortality is a result of OSA and not because of other established causes.

The evidence is now available and shows the moderate to severe sleep apnea is associated with about five times the risk of dying after you control for the other factors that are already know to cause premature death.

The study results highlighted a need to increase research funding to investigate whether treatment of sleep apnea can decrease heart attacks, strokes and premature deaths.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a deadly disease and it is now time for public health and medical practitioners as well as the general public to take it seriously.

  At one time or another, most of us have gotten behind the wheel without the benefit of adequate sleep. At the time, we were probably unaware sleep deprivation imparied our driving as significantly as driving drunk! Drowsy drivers are a serious threat to themselves and everyone else on the road.

          Know the Facts:

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. estimates that 100,000 of reported crashes occur as a result of drowsiness, and considers sleep deprived drivers a hazard equal in severity to drunk drivers. Studies show that staying awake for 18 hours and driving produces the same effect of being illegally drunk behind the wheel. The greater the sleep deprivation, the closer to correlation to higher levels of intoxication.

Actual statistics on crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by drowsy driving are difficult to calculate as there is no way to test the fatigue levels of drivers. The cost, damages, injuries, and fatalities resulting from sleep deprived drivers have been estimated at $12.5 billion.

           Who Is Doing It?

A study conducted by Farmers Insurace found that 10 percent of drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel and 20 percent admitted to momentarily dozing off. Three times more men than women reported falling asleep while driving.

          How Bad Are the Results, What Could Really Happen?

Ford Motor Company performed a study that painted a sobering picture of the potential for damage. Ford found that a driver sleeping even 2.5 seconds ina car traveling 70 mph covers the length of one football field. With other vehicles on the road or pedestrians nearby, that one driver can cause significant harm. In a effort to increase safety, Ford plans to incorporate findings from the study into the design of features for their vehicles.

          Can There Really Be Legal Ramifications?

New Jersey passed “Maggie’s Law” in 2003. It allows sleep deprived drivers who cause accidents and have been awake more than 24 hours to be charged with vehicular homicide. The law also provides liability for companies that require empolyees to keep such hours. Existing laws in all states may cover the prosection of drowsy drivers for damages caused, but unfortunately do little to prevent an impaired driver from getting behind the wheel in the first place.

           How Can I Prevent Being a Drowsy Driver?

Many popular methods to stay awake, such as drinking a caffeniated beverage, opening windows, turning on air conditioning, or blasting the radio. But studies have shown that these methods are very much ineffective. The only proven preventative measure is to pull off the road and catch some shut eye. Even if its only 20 minutes. This small break is enough to restore a drivers abilities. It’s best to nap, awaken more refreshed, and then continue on to a safe place to sleep longer.

Wheather you are behind the wheel or a passenger, recognize the signs of drowsy driving:

  • Heavy eyelids, frequent blinking, difficulty focusing vision
  • Impaired concentration
  • Missing exits or traffic signals
  • Repeated yawning
  • Drifting into other lanes or off the road
  • Irritability or jumpiness

These symptoms are a warning no one can afford to ignore.

Driving drowsy is a hazardous practice, no one should try. Sleep is not something a body can do without. At some point, the human body will simple take that rest it needs no matter where you are. Look for the signals of drowsy driving, choose not to operate a vehicle in this state and help keep the roads safer for everyone.

It may not seem this way on the surface, but to a sleep doctor there’s a big difference between someone feeling “tired” and someone feeling “sleepy”.

  • Tired means you lack energy, have trouble focusing, and feel “out of it” all the time.
  • Sleepy means you’re yawing, nodding off, and can’t keep your eyes open.

How you feel during the day is a key piece of information for doctors because different sleep disorders have differet symptoms. Insomnia patients are constantly tired but rarely feel the urge to sleep during the day. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy patients are tired too, but they are constantly fighting off sleep.

The clearer you are in describing your symptoms, the quicker your doctor can get you the help you need. Insomnia isn’t immediately life-threaterning, but sleep apnea, with often goes undiagnosed for years, can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

The risk of people with sleep apnea falling asleep at the wheel is also very real. People with the disorder are twice as likely to have a car crash, and three to five times as likely to have a serious accident involving personal injury, according to a 2007 study conducted in Vancouver.

 While sleep apnea patients often omit the critical word “sleepy” when describing their daytime symptoms, insomniacs rately make the mistake of including it -probably because they just don’t feel they can sleep. They are well aware, instead of being up half the night and feeling exhausted and unfocused during the day.

 Saying that you are so sleepy that you have to nap in your office during the day hopefully will sound the alarm to your doctor. Just saying that you’re tired or run down might leave you with the wrong diagnosis -or none at all.

*Try to write down all the feelings you have on a day when you feel your symptoms the most. That way it’s in writing, and you can be more specific when you see your doctor.

  Microsleep, ever heard of it? Do you what it means? Wonder if it has ever happened to you? I use to get it when I was working night shifts, and my circadian clock was still working on daytime hours. I would have a 45 miunute drive home, and there would be times when I would get home, and only then I realized, ‘Wow how did get here…so fast?!’ …puzzeling, but then there were times the thudding of the relectors would bring me to realization that I was starting to doze off. At the same time I felt like my eyes were open the whole time, and that’s because they were!

A Microsleep; is an episode of sleep lasting from a fraction of a second up to several seconds. It often occurs as a result of sleep deprivation, metal fatigue, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or hypersomnia. People who experience excessive daytime sleepiness are at high risk for Mircrosleep episodes.

Microsleeps can occur at any time, typically without significant warning. In the middle of even lively conversations, the onset of a Microsleep episode can cause sufferers to ‘suddenly’ lose sync in a conversation.

Microsleeps becomes extremely dangerous when occurring during situations which demand continual alertness, such as driving a motor vehicle or working with heavy machinery. People who experience microsleeps usually remain unaware of them, instead believing themselves to have been awake the whole time, or feeling a sensation of ‘spaceing out.’ One example is called “gap driving”: from the perspective of the driver, he or she was driving a car, and then suddenly realizes that several secondes have passed bu unnoticed, or like in my case 45 minutes!

Sleep is on the rise of awareness; so much is starting to show how the effects of sleep really play on your health, and that’s mental health, physical health, and how much we take it for granted. We only have 24 hours in a day, an we think that there is so much that needs to be done in such a short tmie, and that  cut comes out of our sleep.


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