The Many Reasons Why You Need Sleep

sleep3Story at-a-glance −

Based on studies investigating how much sleep people need to maintain their health, an expert panel concluded that most adults need right around eight hours per night

About 40 percent of Americans are sleep deprived, Continue reading

Are Sleep Problems Making Your Health Problems Worse?

images0R0O5UR1Story at-a-glance −

40 percent of Americans are sleep deprived; many get less than five hours of sleep per night. Insufficient sleep has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, including pain, heart disease, and cancer Continue reading

The Importance of Sleep, and the Hazards of “Dream Deprivation”

Ssleeptory at-a-glance 

To determine whether you’re getting enough sleep, assess the quality of your waking day. If your energy is steady and rhythmic through the day, you’re probably getting good-quantity and good-quality sleep

To optimize your Continue reading

How the Buteyko Breathing Method Can Improve Your Health and Fitness

breatheStory at-a-glance

The Buteyko Breathing Method is a powerful approach for reversing health problems associated with improper breathing, the most common of which are overbreathing and mouthbreathing, including poor sleep and sleep apnea

When you stop mouth breathing and learn to bring your breathing volume Continue reading

The Two Things You Need to Cure Sleep Apnea

A new study has found a two-pronged approach to battling sleep apnea symptoms. Its health tip: combining a Mediterranean diet and regular physical activity could help you improve your night time rest.

The study looked at how the Mediterranean diet could help obese adults with sleep apnea Continue reading

Why Women Are at Risk for This Disease, Too

When you think of sleep apnea, what springs to mind? For most people, doctors included, it would be overweight men snoring in bed. However new research from Europe shows that women have much higher rates of this common breathing issue than we might have thought. And it can be quite serious.

Sleep apnea is Continue reading

The Two Things You Need to Cure Sleep Apnea

A new study has found a two-pronged approach to battling sleep apnea symptoms. Its health tip: combining a Mediterranean diet and regular physical activity could help you improve your night time rest.

The study looked at how the Mediterranean diet could help obese adults with sleep apnea compared to those with a typical diet. This health condition causes frequent pauses of breathing to occur during sleep. It can be dangerous over the long term, and is one of the most prevalent sleep-related breathing disorders. Two to four out of every 100 adults experience sleep apnea. But that rises 20% to 40% among obese individuals.

Here is how the Mediterranean diet differs from the typical one: three servings of red meat a week (compared to nine); three servings of fish a week (compared to one); Continue reading

Treat Sleep Apnea Non-Surgically and Prevent Other Medical Complications

saDid you know…there is a simple, non-surgical solution to treat sleep apnea and the many serious risks and health problems that go along with it?

“Apnea” is a Greek word that means “without breath”. Those with sleep apnea literally stop breathing during their sleep, up to 100 times each night, and for as long as 1 minute each time. The most common form of the condition—obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—is typically caused by a collapse of the soft tissues at the back of the throat.

The most recent data from the National Institutes of Health states that more than 12 million Americans suffer from dangerous sleep apnea. Continue reading

The Truth about Bariatric Surgery You Must Know

With 31% of men and 33% of women being obese in the United States, the problem is an epidemic. Today, morbid obesity affects one in 50 adults. The most alarming trend may be the rising incidence of obesity among children.

While drugs and behavior therapy have had poor results, bariatric surgery for obese people can help sustain weight loss and treat related problems such as sleep apnea, asthma, diabetes, and clogged arteries. More than 140,000 bariatric surgeries are performed annually in the U.S. In the future, that number is set to rise three-fold.

There are three common procedures. To understand the nutritional complications involved, it’s important to know how your gastrointestinal tract is altered by the surgeries. Continue reading

A Simple Solution to Snoring

Getting out of your chair regularly might have an unlikely benefit, says a Toronto sleep researcher: reduced snoring.

Douglas Bradley, director of the Toronto Research Institute’s Sleep Research Laboratory, has linked excessive sitting to sleep apnea, a condition where a sleeping person’s throat collapses, stopping breathing and interrupting sleep.

The culprit is fluid that gathers in the legs during long stretches of sitting. When you lie down at night, that fluid moves to your neck, where when your muscles relax, your airway can get sucked shut “like a wet straw,” he says.

Bradley  Continue reading

Sleep Apnea Helped with Cannabis

CHICAGO – Sleep apnea is a medical disorder characterized by frequent interruptions in breathing of up to ten seconds or more during sleep. The condition is associated with numerous physiological disorders, including fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and stroke. Though sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, it is estimated that approximately four percent of men and two percent of women ages 30 to 60 years old suffer from the disease.

One preclinical study is cited in the scientific literature investigating the role of cannabinoids on sleep-related apnea. Researchers at the University of Illinois (at Chicago) Department of Medicine reported “potent suppression” of sleep-related apnea in rats administered either exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Investigators reported that doses of delta-9-THC and the endocannabinoid oleamide each stabilized respiration during sleep, and blocked serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea in a statistically significant manner. No follow up investigations have taken place assessing the use of cannabinoids to treat this indication.

However, several recent preclinical and clinical trials have reported on the use of THC, natural cannabis extracts, and endocannabinoids to induce sleep and/or improve sleep quality.

Note: These studies were conducted in 2002

Sleep Apnea Can Be Helped with Cannabis

CHICAGO – Sleep apnea is a medical disorder characterized by frequent interruptions in breathing of up to ten seconds or more during sleep. The condition is associated with numerous physiological disorders, including fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and stroke. Though sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, it is estimated that approximately four percent of men and two percent of women ages 30 to 60 years old suffer from the disease.

One preclinical study is cited in the scientific literature investigating the role of cannabinoids on sleep-related apnea. Researchers at the University of Illinois (at Chicago) Department of Medicine reported “potent suppression” of sleep-related apnea in rats administered either exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Investigators reported that doses of delta-9-THC and the endocannabinoid oleamide each stabilized respiration during sleep, and blocked serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea in a statistically significant manner. No follow up investigations have taken place assessing the use of cannabinoids to treat this indication.

However, several recent preclinical and clinical trials have reported on the use of THC, natural cannabis extracts, and endocannabinoids to induce sleep and/or improve sleep quality.

Note: These studies were conducted in 2002

Weight Loss May Help Reduce Sleep Apnea

Obese people with sleep apnea may triple the chances of eliminating their sleep problems by losing weight, claims a new study.

More than just loud snoring, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease and a poor quality of life.

“Existing research has been limited by a number of factors, so there are very few studies that show whether the recommended amount of weight loss – about 10 percent – is enough to sufficiently improve sleep apnea,” said Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education.

Foster and colleagues from six other universities recently completed the largest randomized study on the effects of weight loss on sleep apnea in patients with type 2 diabetes.

They found that among patients with severe sleep apnea, those who lost the recommended weight were three times more likely to nearly eliminate the number of sleep apnea episodes compared to those who did not lose weight.

The study has been published in the Sept. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The new study, called Sleep AHEAD, looked at 264 obese patients with type 2 diabetes already enrolled in the Look AHEAD trial, an ongoing 16-site study investigating the long-term health impact of an intensive lifestyle intervention in 5,145 overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes. Participants were between 45 and 75 years old.

The 264 participants were broken into two randomized groups: the first received a group behavioral weight loss program developed especially for obese patients with type 2 diabetes, portion-controlled diets, and a prescribed exercise regimen of 175 minutes per week. The second attended three group informational sessions over a one-year period that focused on diabetes management through diet, physical activity and social support.

After one year, members of the first group lost an average of 24 pounds. More than three times as many participants in this group had complete remission of their sleep apnea (13.6 percent compared to 3.5 percent), and also had about half the instances of severe sleep apnea as the second group. Further, participants in the second group only lost about a pound, and saw significant worsening of their sleep apnea, which suggested to Foster and his team that without treatment, the disorder can progress rapidly.

“These results show that doctors as well as patients can expect a significant improvement in their sleep apnea with weight loss,” said Foster, the study’s lead author.

“And a reduction in sleep apnea has a number of benefits for overall health and well-being,” the expert added.

Bangladesh Telemedicine Firm Plans to Reach Out to South Asian Workers

A Bangladeshi telemedicine company is set to provide healthcare services for more than five million South Asian workers in the Middle East and Malaysia in a couple of months.

Telemedicine Reference Centre Ltd (TRCL) has already signed agreements with around 25 Gulf and Malaysian companies that recruit workers from South Asia.

Telemedicine is a rapidly developing application of clinical medicine where medical information is transferred through the phone or the internet.

TRCL will launch the mobile phone-based service, said Dr Sikder M Zakir, managing director of the company.

“Under the project, we will start providing medical call-centre services to two million Bangladeshi, 1.5 million Indian and two million Nepalese and Pakistani workers,” Zakir added.

Prime Bank and two investors from the US and India are funding the project, he said.

TRCL has also signed deals with seven mobile phone companies in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.

The company is working to set up multilinguistic medical call centres in India, Pakistan and Nepal, from where dedicated physicians will provide healthcare advice to the expatriate workers.

All the workers under the 25 recruiting companies will be registered with TRCL to get the services free of cost. They will call a particular number and get advice in their own language.

The recruiting firms will pay the service charge to TRCL on behalf of the workers, which is no more than one US dollar a month for a person, Zakir said.

They will also be referred to hospitals if necessary.

Zakir said TRCL is now setting up branch offices in nine countries including Malaysia, UAE and Saudi Arabia to comply with those countries’ regulatory requirements.

“It’s a milestone for telemedicine service. The sector is getting institutional shape,” he added.

Established in 1999, TRCL is operating the first medical call centre or electronic referral centre manned by physicians for the largest cellphone operator in Bangladesh — Grameenphone. More than 10,000 people are using the service by dialling a hotline number (789) from their mobile phones every day.

Scientists Show Blue Light Can Help Reset Sleep Cycle

TROYTeenagers’ morning drowsiness is often caused by out-of-tune body clocks, in a condition known as “delayed sleep phase syndrome.” Scientists now say that timing exposure to blue light — avoiding it during the first two hours of being wake, then getting a good dose of it — can help restore the sleep cycle, so teens feel sleepy earlier at night and are more awake in the morning.

Teenagers are notorious for staying up late, hitting the snooze button and always running late. Now, however, new research shows they can adjust to a schedule simply by sitting in front of a light.

Erin Chesky knows just how hard it is to get up because she battled getting to sleep. “I would just stare at the ceiling, and then I would have to wake up at 5:30 or 5 o’clock to go to school, and I would be tired,” she says.

The 16-year-old was diagnosed with delayed sleep phase syndrome. That means Erin‘s internal clock didn’t match what was her alarm clock was saying.

Mariana Figueiro, from the Lighting Research Center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., says, “When your watch says it’s 7 o’clock in the morning, you want your internal clock to also say it is 7 o’clock in the morning.”

Lighting scientists have found a quick fix to the internal and external alarm clock miscommunication — a blue light. “If you apply the light after your minimum core body temperature, you’re going to advance the clock so you’re going to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier the next cycle,” Figueiro says. The minimum core body temperature is reached about two hours before a person naturally wakes up.

“When you get the teenager up, outdoors, waiting for the school bus at 7 o’clock in the morning, they may be getting light at the wrong phase,” Figueiro says. This exposes teens to natural blue light too early. By wearing the goggles when teens wake up, blue light is blocked out. Then, later in the morning — after their minimum core body temperature is reached — teens can reset their internal clocks by being out in the light.

Blue light exposure worked quickly for Erin. She’s now able to fall asleep by 10:30.

An easy way schools can help is by giving students a quick mid-morning break to go outside or put blue LEDs around computer screens in classrooms. By getting enough blue light at the right time, sleep patterns can not only be changed in teens, but also in the elderly and shift workers.

BACKGROUND: Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are studying how light — especially blue light — affects our body’s daily rhythms. By getting enough blue light at the right time and blocking it out at others, it is possible to correct distorted sleep patters for the elderly (who tend to wake up too early), teenagers (whose internal clock is usually set for late nights and sleep-in mornings), and shift workers.

HOW BODY RYHTHMS WORK: Circadian rhythms are biological cycles in the body that repeat approximately every 24 hours, including the sleep/wake cycle, along with body temperature, hormone levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and pain threshold. The brain has its own internal “pacemaker” that determines when nerve cells fire to set the body’s rhythms, although scientists can’t precisely explain how it does so.

The colors of the light spectrum can affect the body’s rhythm differently, particularly when it comes to sleep patterns. For instance, daylight is dominated by short, visible wavelengths of light that provides a blue visual sensation, like the blue sky. But l how bright the light is, how far away, how long you’re exposed and when you’re exposed to light also have to be considered. Also, we are more likely to sleep soundly in the wee hours of the morning, when our body temperature is lowest, and most likely to awaken when our body temperature starts to rise, usually between 6 AM and 8 AM. As we age, the brain’s “pacemaker” loses cells, changing circadian rhythms, especially sleep patterns. The elderly may nap more frequently, have disrupted sleep, or awaken earlier.

RESETTING THE CLOCK: The RPI researchers developed a method for resetting the internal “master clock” in studies of both teens and the elderly. The scheme removes blue light at certain times (depending on how one wants to “reset the clock”) by wearing orange glasses, followed by exposure to blue light and darkness at nighttime. The key is a distinct, repeated pattern of light and dark.

SLEEP STAGES: Stage 1: drowsiness. Stage 2: light sleep. Stages 3 and 4: deep sleep. Stage 5: Rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. REM is when people dream, perhaps because the brain is more active and the muscles are relaxed. These five stages occur cyclically; a person may complete five cycles in a typical night’s sleep.