Posts Tagged ‘Apnea

saving money

 Current economic conditions in the U.S. are forcing many consumers to cut back on health care expenses. Yet sleep experts advise that the cost of a sleep study is a sound investment for millions of people who suffer from a sleep disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 15 million adults in the U.S. did not receive needed medical care in 2005 because they could not afford it. In July, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners conduted a national survey. Results show that 22 percent of people have reduced the number of times they visit the doctor because to current economic conditions.

 In such a challenging economy, should your sleep needs be a priority?

Sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health. It affects everything from your weight and blood pressure to your energy and mood. If you have been struggling with an ongoing sleep problem, then a sleep study may be just what you need. It could be the key that unlocks the door to a dramatic improvement in your health and a better quality of life for you.

 Losing sleep over the economy, but losing sleep over an undiagnosed problem is no fun.

People are notorious for underestimating how sleepy they are. People assume that thier disrupted sleep and level of sleepiness when awake is normal for their age. Symptoms of some sleep disorders also can go unnoticed. For example loud snoring and gasping for breath durning sleep are two warning signs for sleep apnea. But you may be unaware of these sym if you live or sleep alone. As a result, millions of people go through each day wondering why they can’t stay awake. Others go to bed each night wondering why they can’t sleep. The answers to these questions often can be found by a sleep study…

    Here are some benefits to think about:
Research shows that there are numerous benefits to detecing a sleep disorder with a sleep study.  The study pinpoints the nature and cause of your sleep problem. This provides the foundation for an effective treatment plan. Treating a sleep disorder promotes heath, productivity and well-being. In the long run it also can save you money!

  • Improved Health
    Research has linked sleep disorders to many other health problems. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity. A study in the journal Sleep even shows that people with severe, untreated sleep apnea have five times the risk of dying from a heart problem. Effective treatment of a sleep disorder can reduce the risk and severity of other related health challenges.
  • Reduced Spending
    Studies have linked undetected and untreated sleep disorders to an increase in health-care utilization and spending. You are likely to make more visits to the doctor’s office each year. You are also likely to spend more money on your health care. Expenses may include testing, medications and hospitalization. Research shows that effective treatment of a sleep disorder can reduce your health-care spending. Compared to the high cost of remaining untreated, treating most sleep disorders is relative inexpensive.
  • Greater Productivity
    Studies have linked sleep disorders to lower productivity and more absences at work. A severe sleep disorder may even prevent you from being able to stay employed. Effective treatments of a sleep disorder can enable you to improve your job performance.
  • Better Safety
    Research has linked sleep disorders to an increased risk of work-related injuries and motor-vehicle accidents. Effective treatments promotes your safety at work on the roads.
  • Improved Quality of Life
    Sleep disorders can take a severe tool on your personal well-being. Taking care of yourself leads to improvements in your mood, attitude, energy, memory and overall outlook on life. Sleep disturbances can put strain on your relationships. can help you with obtaining a Home Sleep Test.


It lets sleep-deprived workers catch up on z’s — but will it catch on?

energy pod

You’re hard at work, eyes squinted at a sea of erratically moving numbers, doggedly typing away, but little by little that familiar, dreaded lethargic haze seeps over you. It’s that time of day, and try as you might, you can’t stay awake without several bitter cups of coffee, a red bull (or five), and on some days even caffeine pills. You would pay for some sleep right now.

Enter the capitalists
If necessity really is the mother of invention, the mushrooming domestic “sleep economy” indicates that modern-day Americans are a tired lot. The National Sleep Foundation reveals that the average American gets about 6.9 hours of sleep per night — not quite enough to function at an optimal level. Without some help that is.

“I came up with the idea for my company while working at Deutsche Bank in New York — I saw colleagues falling asleep at their desks and even sneaking off to the bathroom to take naps,” says a rested looking Arshad Chowdhury, founder of New York based MetroNaps, a company that aims to enhance workplace productivity through enabling employees to nap in a futuristic looking device called the Energy Pod.

A pilot study during Chowdhury’s MBA at Carnegie Mellon allowed the former analyst to deduce that offering well to do sleep-deprived execs the ability to barter some of their hard-earned money in exchange for a few much-needed winks was a golden opportunity. People would pay to nap. With it’s Bose noise-canceling headphones quietly emit melodiously soothing tunes to aid drifting off. A built in alarm is set and once nap time is up, lights and vibration serve as a gentle wake up call. Members pay $65 a month for an unlimited number of naps, while non-members pay $14 for 20 minutes in the Energy Pod.

There’s a burgeoning market for sleep in the United States — both sleep aids and products that combat drowsiness — and in corporate circles, the relationship between being well rested and productive is slowly coming to the forefront. Chowdhury’s company, while one amongst many, differentiates itself on the basis that it allows employees to nap within a noisy, bustling workplace in a device that is both compact and private enough to not require a separate room or space be set aside for napping.

A novel concept … but how successful?
In May 2004, MetroNaps opened in the Empire State Building. Business was sluggish at first, and initially the company’s sole source of business was from the clients in the building and from the surrounding areas who came to them. Feedback from the trickle of visitors and enquiries from others too far away to make the trip, soon had Chowdhury experimenting with the idea of bringing naps to companies instead of waiting for the fatigued to come to him. A redesign of the pod in 2005 rendered it workplace appropriate. The new pod can be easily dismantled and reassembled for transportation purposes. A privacy visor was added to keep out light and sound, as were electronic built in timers to prevent oversleeping.

While MetroNaps still offers naps at its New York based center: between 50 to 100 customers come by in the course of a week, the primary focus has shifted to installing the Energy Pods, which retail for $12,400, in the workplace. The company has installed about 100 of these so far: clients are varied and include Procter & Gamble, Cisco, Stanford Medical Center, Carnegie Mellon, and the Jetsetter Spa at Miami International Airport. MetroNaps has retail centers across the world: in the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Denmark.

But will napping in the workplace really catch on?
Sleep is an act that has traditionally been relegated to the private sphere — definitely not something employers were supposed to get involved in. But as work hours get longer and employees spend more and more time in the office, the boundaries between private life and the workplace are increasingly blurred. With stronger links being established between productivity and rest, employees’ sleep routines are beginning to catch the interest of their employers.

“Colonizing the nap at work is part of a larger trend that is reconfiguring the once bounded relationships between home and work and public and private space and time,” explain sociologists Vern Baxter and Steve Kroll-Smith. They explain that while napping at work was typically considered deviant behavior — a resistance against the management and a flouting of the rules — employers are increasingly encouraging employees to nap in the workplace and some could potentially even mandate it.

The consensus among experts in the area of sleep is that both anecdotal and empirical evidence indicate a strong relationship between being well-rested on the one hand, and optimally productive, creative, happy, analytical and physically fit on the other. Since the current structure of our society does not allow the average American enough sleep at night, Dr Helene Emsellem, author of “Snooze … or Lose” points out that people need to be creative — and napping is a good way to do this.

According to Bill Anthony, author of “The Art of Napping at Work,” napping is slowly trending towards becoming more mainstream: “people often had to nap surreptitiously — in their cars or behind their desks. Now this is changing with a changing rationale: sleep is being seen not as a perk but as a productivity enhancer.”

There are those who disagree however. “Napping is not a viable solution … Napping in the workplace is more of a quick fix to a larger problem,” insists Nancy Shark, Executive Director of the Better Sleep Council. “Anyone looking to improve their daily work performance … can benefit by improving the quality of their sleep at night. Just like scheduling a meeting or dinner with friends, everyone should prioritize sleep as a part of their daily schedule.”

Here to stick?
Whatever the health benefits of napping, it is undeniable that companies catering to a rising interest in sleep are fast cropping up. But is this interest just another trend?

Businesses like Chowdhury’s hinge on the fact that it is not. “Fatigue is not a fad. For the past 30 years, Americans have been working longer hours and sleeping less. We are increasingly a sleep deprived nation,” emphasizes Chowdhury. He maintains that due to the efforts of the pharmaceutical industry, people are developing an enhanced awareness regarding sleep deprivation — one that is here to stick around.

Sleep disorders cause more than just sleepiness- a lack of restorative rest can cause accidents on the job, and on the road; affect your relationships, health, and mental prowness; and make you feeling generally “disconnected” to the world around you.

 Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for feeling refreshed and alert during the day. Did you know that the average adult needs eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night in order to maintain optimal mental and physical health? Unfortynately, not everyone is able to get the restorative eight hours they need. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, over 40 million Americans a year will suffer from some sort of sleep disorder – many whom will go undiagnosed, or turn to over-the-counter sleep aids for relief. However, ignoring the underlying causes, or covering the symptoms with drugs usually makes the problem worse. And untreated sleep disorders can even be hazardous to your health – a British study released in September 2007 found that people who do not get enough sleep are twice as likely to die of heart disease. Luckily, through proper testing, diagonsis and care, sleep disorders can be managed and overcome. Particular behaviors durning normal daytime activities are telltale signs of sleep deprivation.

 *Sleep apnea is a common disorder that can be very serious, and even life threatening. In sleep apnea, your breathing stops or gets very shallow while you are sleeping. Each pause in breathing typically lasts 10 to 20 seconds or more. These pauses can occure 20-30 times or more an hour. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. During sleep, enough air cannot flow into your lungs through your mouth and nose, even though you try to breathe. When this happens, the amount of oxygen in your blood may drop.  Normal breaths then start again with a loud snort or choking sound.

 Warning signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Frequent cessation of breathing (apnea) during sleep. Your sleep partner may notice repeated silences from your side of the bed.
  • Choking or gasping durning sleep to get into the lungs.
  • Loud snoring.
  • Sudden awakening to restart breathing.
  • Waking up in a sweat during the night.
  • Feeling un-refreshed in the mornign after a night’s sleep.
  • Headaches, sore throat, or dry mouth in the mornings after waking up.
  • Daytime sleepiness, including falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as during driving or at work.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is the obtruction of your tounge as you relax while you sleep, and it presses up against the back of the throat, creating a resistance, where air cannot pass through the nose or mouth.

 apnea-blocked.jpg apnea-open.jpg

  Centeral Sleep Apnea (CSA) is a far more rare type of apnea, which is when the brain signal that instructs the body to breathe is delayed. This centeral nervous system disorder can be caused by injury to the breainstem, disease, or a chronic respiratory disease. People with CSA seldom snore, which makes it even harder to diagnose, as they do not fitthe “normal” profile of a sleep apnea sufferer. The treatments of CSA include specific medications taht stimulate the need to breathe and administration of oxygen.         



     Mixed Sleep Apnea is a combination of the two types of sleep apnea. A person with mixed sleep apnea will often snore, but finds that treatments, which only help obstructions in the airways, do not completely stop apnea episods. treatment usually includes a combination of the treatments for both OSA and CSA.

  What happens when you stop breathing during sleep?              

                          If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep, and the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood is upset. This imbalance stimulates the brain to restart the breathing process. The brain signals you to wake up so that the muscles of the tongue and throat can increase the size for the airway. Then, carbon dioxide can escape, and oxygen can enter the airway.  These waking episodes are necessary to restart breathing (and save your life), but because of them, you become sleep-deprived.

sleep-deprived.jpgSleep Deprivation, both the person with sleep apnea and the bed partner suffer from sleep deprivation. A bed partner may lose an hour or more of sleep each night form sleeping next to a person with sleep apnea. Along with the apnea episodes, the person afflicted with sleep apnea may have additional trouble sleeping caused by side effects of the  condition, including a frequent need to get up and urinate during the night, and excessive sweating.  Some trickle-down effects of sleep deprivation are a compromised immune system, poor mental and emotional health, irritability, and slower reaction time, among other problems.

 In fact, a report in 2000 compiled by the U.S National Commission on Sleep Disorders shows that almost one out of ten people suffer from some sort of sleep and energy deprivation disorder.  Just from those statistics, that means, in America, as of July 2005, thats about 29,573,43 people (29 million!) have some sort of serious sleeping problem.  Thats almost twice the population of most small countries.

 A major and highly focused upon reaction of sleep deprivation is depression. Approximately one in five people who suffer from sleep apnea also suffer from depression. Existing depression may also be worsened by sleep apnea. While it is not clear whether the apnea causes the depression or vice-versa, studies show that by treating sleep apnea symptoms, depression may be alleviated in some people. Keeping a journal of your sleep patterns and how you feel after not having adequate amount of sleep, and taking it to your doctor will help you conquer your sleep disorder and your depression.

Dr. Michael Breus

Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. He was one of the youngest people to have passed the Board at age 31 and, with a specialty in Sleep Disorders and Neuropsychological Testing, he is one of only 159 doctors in the world with his credentials and distinction. He is the co-founder of SoundSleep Solutions, a direct-to-consumer, sleep-related information Web site, and currently serves as Chairman of the Clinical Advisory Board for Sleep Holdings, Inc. (SLHJ.PK), the only publicly traded sleep diagnostic and therapy company in the world.