How to get a good night's sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep requires more than just going to bed on time. Try following these five sleep tips to give yourself the best chance of getting consistent, quality sleep each night. And if you feel like you’re doing everything you can to get a good night’s sleep but no longer have the energy to do the things you love, there might be more to the story. Sleep apnoea affects more than 1 in 3 men and 1 in 6 women between age 30–70, with most people going undiagnosed. Talk to your healthcare professionaland ask about a sleep apnoea test – which can be done in a sleep lab or the comfort of your own home.
Allocate enough time for sleep. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise, so it’s important to allocate the right amount of time each day for sleep and plan the rest of your schedule accordingly. Getting a good night’s sleep means 7–8 hours each night for adults (including older adults), 9–10 hours for teens, at least 10 hours for school-aged children and 11–12 hours for preschool-aged children.
Create consistent sleep habits. As creatures of habit, we’re usually more successful when following a routine. Sleep is no different. From your pre-sleep ritual to going to bed and waking up at the same time, you’ll find that consistency makes it easier to fall asleep each night.
Create a comfortable sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and comfortable – especially your bed. It may take some experimenting and an investment on your part, but finding an ultra-comfortable bed and pillow is invaluable. We spend one-third of our lives in bed, make it the one area of your life you don’t want to compromise on comfort.
Turn it off before bed. Whether it’s your mobile phone, television, reading, email or texting, give yourself a nice window of time to unplug and relax before bedtime. Your body should associate your bed with sleep and these activities ramp up your brain activity rather than relaxing it. Television and bright light can also suppress melatonin production – making it difficult to fall asleep.
Utilize sleep technology. There are a variety of technologies out there that can help improve your sleep. Of you want to know more about these technologies please contact me
What causes snoring?
What causes snoring is a question that can be answered in multiple ways. From an anatomical standpoint, snoring is caused by a partially closed upper airway (the nose and throat). Everyone’s neck muscles relax during sleep, but sometimes they relax so much that the upper airway partly closes and becomes too narrow for enough air to travel through to the lungs. When this happens, it means that a person isn’t taking in enough oxygen for the body to perform its important functions. The brain then sends a signal to the body to wake up to get the oxygen its needs, likely resulting in the person waking up throughout the night without realising it.
Why do people snore?
Why do some people snore and others don’t? Those who have enlarged tonsils, an enlarged tongue or excess weight around the neck are more prone to snoring. And structural reasons like the shape of someone’s nose or jaw can also cause snoring. The snoring sound itself is a result of the narrowing of a person’s airway, which causes a throat vibration and the snoring sound. No matter the reason, 40% of normal adults snore regularly, whether they realise it or not.
Snoring and sleep apnoea
Snoring and sleep apnoea are linked at an alarming rate – 1 in 3 men and approximately 1 in 5 women who are habitual snorers suffer from some degree of obstructive sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea prevents you from getting the healthy sleep you need to lead a refreshed, energetic life. It has also been linked to a number of other health conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart failure and hypertension.
So regardless of what is specifically causing snoring for you, if you snore — or if you suspect you snore — consider it a sign that something might not be right. Answer the following questions:
Do you Snore?
ARE you Excessively tired during the day?
Have you been told that you sometimes stop breathing during sleep?
Do you have high blood pressure?
Is your neck size greater than 16” (40cm) for women or 17” (43cm) for men?
If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 3 of the questions above, you may be suffering from sleep apnoea
Sleep apnoea is a significant health problem and, when left untreated, affects many serious chronic conditions including drug-resistant hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. The good news is that treating sleep apnoea has been shown to improve patients’ quality of life and may help improve glucose control, lower blood pressure, and improve heart health. Talk to your healthcare professionalif your lack of sleep is affecting your lifestyle, especially if you suffer from any of these conditions.
How to get a sleep apnoea test
If you have trouble sleeping, snore or suspect that you have sleep apnoea or another respiratory condition, it’s important to take those signs seriously and take these three simple steps:
Recognise your symptoms. Are they listed as common symptoms of sleep apnoea; or they might be other respiratory conditions.
Talk to your healthcare professional about how to get a sleep apnoea test, either an overnight sleep lab test (known as a polysomnography or PSG) or a home sleep test (HST). For more information about either option please contact me.
Sleep lab test
In a sleep lab or hospital, clinical staff will place sensors on your body to monitor your sleep. With your permission, staff may also want to film your sleep study to gain more insight into your sleeping behaviour. This is to assess for unusual movements in your sleep (like sleep talking or walking) and for night-time seizures.
During this type of study, you’ll be required to stay overnight at the facility, so it’s a good idea to take everything you need for your usual sleeping routine, including pyjamas and toiletries.
Home sleep testing
A home sleep test (HST) is similar to a sleep lab or hospital setup, with the added comfort and convenience of being in your own home. Before a home sleep study night, a sleep clinician will show you how to apply the sensors and monitors, and how to use the recording device during the night.
On the night you’ve scheduled your home sleep test, you’ll follow your normal evening routine, prepare for sleep, attach everything as you’ve been shown and start the recording. In the morning, you’ll remove everything as previously demonstrated and return the recording device to the sleep lab or hospital.
Most home sleep testing device includes a chest belt, nasal cannula, oximeter and recording device, which replace all the sensors and tubes attached to you during a sleep study in a sleep lab while providing accurate and useful results. Simple, fast and easy to use, the home testing kit reports apnoeas, hypopneas, flow limitation, snoring, blood oxygen saturation and breathing patterns.
After your sleep study
You and your healthcare professional will discuss the results of your sleep study. If you were found to have sleep apnoea, you will discuss its severity and its possible effects on your health, as well as explore treatment options.
Your journey toward better sleep starts here!
Sleep Apnoea (symptoms and causes)
What is Sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is a disorder that causes your body to stop breathing while you sleep. This means you’re not getting the rest your body needs and will cause certain health problems. It is also a potentially fatal condition, with harmful short- and long-term complications, that affects more than 1 in 3 men and 1 in 6 women.
There are three main types of sleep apnoea:
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which more than 80% of sleep apnoea patients have, occurs when enlarged and/or relaxed throat muscles obstruct your upper airway, blocking air from entering and leaving your lungs.
Central sleep apnoea (CSA), so named for its relation to the central nervous system, occurs when the brain stops signalling for the body to breathe until it detects a lack of oxygen and/or a heightened level of carbon dioxide that needs to be exhaled.
Complex sleep apnoea (CompSA) is a combination of OSA and CSA.
Eventually your brain senses that you’ve stopped breathing and causes you to wake up just enough to gasp and start breathing again. Then you fall back to sleep and the cycle begins again. This can happen as many as 120 times every hour, even though you may not realise it or not remember waking up.
As you can imagine, apnoea put immense short- and long-term strains on the body.
Short-term effects of sleep apnoea
Of course, apnoea causes the immediate life-threatening danger of not inhaling enough oxygen (or exhaling enough poisonous carbon dioxide). But the body’s constant waking due to this apnoea can also cause sleep deprivation. This can lower people’s energy and attentiveness the next day, negatively affect their moods and relationships with others, and raise the risk for memory loss, cognitive impairment and injury.
Long-term effects of sleep apnoea
Untreated sleep apnoea has been linked to an increased risk for other chronic and life-threatening conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart failure,3 as well as poorer glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The first step toward treating sleep apnoea and living healthier is recognising the signs and symptoms of sleep apnoea and asking your healthcare professional to get screened and tested.
Roughly 80% of people with sleep apnoea don’t know they have it, partially because they can never witness their own night-time symptoms.
Common sleep apnoea symptoms
While snoring is still the strongest predictor of sleep apnoea in men and women, not everyone who snores has it. And more important, not everyone who has it snores. Below are other common sleep apnoea symptoms:
Lack of energy
Frequent urination at night
In addition, women often show subtler, atypical symptoms such as insomnia, morning headaches, depression and anxiety. These symptoms often lead to misdiagnoses such as depression, insomnia or menopausal side effects. If you have these symptoms, be sure to ask your healthcare professional about whether you might have sleep apnoea.
Benefits of sleep apnoea treatment
When left untreated, sleep apnoea can negatively affect your energy levels, productivity and mental well-being. It can also have long-term, adverse effects on your heart, metabolism and overall health. Sleep apnoea can affect anyone — fit or overweight, old or young, male or female. It can even affect children. A few of the common symptoms are:
Lack of energy
A partner or family member notices that you stop breathing during sleep
Effective treatment of sleep apnoea has been shown to help alleviate these symptoms, which can lead directly to a healthier mental outlook and improved well-being. If you think that you or someone you know might have sleep apnoea, it’s important that you talk to a healthcare professional. Be sure to let your healthcare professional know if any of the following apply to you:
I’ve been told that I stop breathing during sleep.
My family tells me I snore.
I’m tired all day even after a full night’s sleep.
I have no energy.
I frequently wake up with a headache.
I nap anytime and anywhere I can.
If you think you may have sleep apnoea, talk to your healthcare professional or Contact me.
Sleep apnoea treatment options
You already know the benefits of treating sleep apnoea. Now the only question is how.
There are four common sleep apnoea treatment options:
Positive airway pressure therapy (non-invasive)
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) delivers constant airflow to people while they sleep. CPAP is often referred to as “the gold standard” treatment option and is the most commonly prescribed.
APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) automatically varies its air pressure throughout the night in response to a person’s needs, making treatment more comfortable.
BiPap or BPAP (Bilevel Positive airway pressure) therapy is typically used when someone needs a higher pressure for effective treatment.
Oral appliance therapy (non-invasive) A mandibular repositioning device (MRD) is a custom-fitted mouthpiece that holds your jaw in a forward position while you sleep to expand the space behind your tongue. This helps keep your upper airway open, preventing apnoea and snoring. They’re proven effective for people with mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnoea but might also be prescribed to patients with severe OSA who cannot tolerate CPAP.
Surgery (invasive) - There are several surgical procedures that can improve the exact area of obstruction in patients’ upper respiratory tracts. “Often it takes a combination of procedures to achieve success,” according to the American Sleep Apnoea Association. And as with all invasive surgical procedures, there is the risk of negative side effects.
Weight loss - In some patients with milder forms of sleep apnoea, losing weight can help reduce apnoea and alleviate their symptoms.
Before choosing a sleep apnoea treatment option, talk with your healthcare professional. The severity of your sleep apnoea, your current physical condition and medical history will help determine the best plan for you.
Will insurance cover my sleep apnoea treatment?
Before you get your equipment, check with your insurance provider to find out if sleep apnoea therapy is covered under your existing plan, and if there are any limitations, restrictions or other considerations. Most sleep apnoea therapy is covered but check with your provider to be sure.
Contact your insurance provider and ask if you are required to use a contracted supplier for home medical equipment. If the answer is yes, ask your insurance provider for a list of contracted suppliers and contact the supplier directly to see whether it offers sleep apnoea treatment products.
If the answer is no and you are not required to use a contracted supplier, or you plan on paying cash for your equipment you may contact me for assistance.
Finally, remember that oral (dental) sleep apnoea appliances also require insurance approval from your medical insurance, not your dental insurer.
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