December 9, 2013 by Steven Park
The number of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has risen 42% in the past 10 years. These findings were reported online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Currently, 11% of children in the United states have a diagnosis of ADHD. In addition, 6% of all 4 to 17 year olds (3.5 million children) in this country are reported by their parents to be taking medication for ADHD, which is a 28% increase from 2008 to 2012.
What’s more frightening than these statistics is that the real incidence of hyperactively and behavior problems probably goes underreported and under-diagnosed. What frustrates me every time I hear or read about this epidemic is that sleep is almost never mentioned as a major possible cause of this condition. Sometimes, good sleep hygiene is mentioned, but only rarely is the possibility of an underlying sleep-related breathing disorder ever addressed.
In a past study, 28% of children scheduled to undergo routine tonsillectomy were found to have ADHD. After tonsillectomy, 50% were cured of their ADHD diagnosis.
ADHD has many different causes and it’s likely that there are multiple factors that add up to produce symptoms in a child, but poor sleep due to any reason can definitely affect memory, focus and attention. Not breathing well during sleep with lack of oxygen to the brain can make things even worse.
It’s also not too coincidental that the estimated rate of snoring for children in this country is about 10%. Another study showed that the presence of snoring in young children predicted behavior problems in later school years. We know that a significant number of people who snore have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. We also know that snoring without obstructive sleep apnea can still significantly affect sleep, with increased risk of attention problems, car accidents, and even stroke in adults.
Given all the evidence, it’s important to at least screen for obstructive sleep apnea in any child with a new diagnosis of ADHD.
December 3, 2013 by Steven Park
Now there’s one less reason to avoid traveling with your CPAP machine. Human Design Medical just released the Z1, which is touted to be the world’s lightest and smallest CPAP machine. Weighing in at 10 ounces, and measuring 6.5 x 3 x 2 inches, it’s also quiet at 26 decibels. If you order the backup battery pack, it only adds 2 more inches to the thickness and weighs 28 oz. Here’s a quick review of the product on YouTube:
November 25, 2013 by Steven Park
When I first came across this study showing that behavioral sleep therapy for insomnia may double your chances of recovering from depression, my first reaction was, “DUHHHH? It’s like saying that water is found to cure dehydration. By definition, most people with depression have a variety of sleep problems. We know that having insomnia can predict the onset of depression much later in life. With all that we know about the cognitive and behavioral effects of poor sleep, it’s not surprising that neurophysiological and biochemical and even structural changes can happen in the brain due to lack of quality sleep.
I’ve been accused of overgeneralizing poor sleep as a cause of too many health conditions, but I’m only repeating studies that already published.
Now if only we can figure out what causes insomnia. Stay tuned for my next post in which I will revisit my theory about insomnia and anxiety.
November 21, 2013 by Steven Park
With all the talk about sleep apnea and its’ association with high blood pressure and diabetes, little has been mentioned about how obstructive sleep apnea can affect your cholesterol and other lipid levels. We already know that OSA is linked with fatty liver syndrome. It’s not surprising that treating obstructive sleep apnea with CPAP has been shown to raise your HDL levels (the good kind of cholesterol).
Have your cholesterol or other lipid levels changed after using CPAP?
November 12, 2013 by Steven Park
You may think that stroke is something you only see in older people, but strokes can also be seen in younger adults and even in children. A recent study published in The Lancet revealed that from 1990 to 2010, rates of new onset stroke, stroke survivors, and deaths from stroke increased 68%, 84%, and 26%, respectively. There were bigger increases in low and middle-income countries, and in people younger than 75.
There are lots of different reasons for stroke, including your genes, lifestyle habits, diet and exercise, but I wonder how much of an underlying sleep-breathing condition may be contributing, as more countries adopt Western style foods and habits. It’s remarkable how our younger generations have more dental crowding and smaller jaws, which lead to more narrow upper airways.
November 8, 2013 by Steven Park
There’s been lots of studies in the past showing that obstructive sleep apnea during pregnancy can be potentially dangerous to the mother and baby’s health, but unfortunately, these finding haven’t made their way into being used in clinical practice. Here’s another study that supports the need to screen for OSA on a regular basis: Snoring before or during pregnancy was found to be associated with significantly higher rates of pre-term delivery and c-section rates. Women who snored were 2/3 more likely to have smaller babies and about 2 times more likely to undergo a c-section. Knowing that weight gain is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, it’s important to make sure you do or don’t have this condition if you’re pregnant. Lack of sleep and repeated oxygen deprivation is not very healthy for the mother or the baby.
November 5, 2013 by Steven Park
Snoring is an issue that has been a household nuisance since the beginning of time and continues to cause disturbances in many marriages today. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons suggest that up to 50% of people in the United States snore either occasionally or on a nightly basis. Excessive snoring often causes relationship problems, especially when it comes to newlyweds. Those with snoring partners often choose to sleep in separate bedrooms which according to some experts, can be damaging to their relationship.
There are several reasons why we snore which include age, the physical characteristics of our airways, and nasal issues. These are contributing factors that are not within our control. Excessive weight, smoking, sleep positions, and sedative use are contributing factors that are within our control. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to first consult with a medical doctor who is qualified to perform an assessment which includes determining the presence of snoring and eliminating the possibility of the presence of a more serious sleep condition such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Once it has been established that your snoring is simple snoring and not a symptom of a more serious condition, you may then want to consider your treatment options.
Natural and OTC simple snoring treatment options
There are several treatment options for snoring including a handful of products, some of which can be purchased over the counter while others are by prescription only. Then there is of course surgical treatments which should be reserved if the problem persists after trying several treatment options. Here are a few natural and non prescription over-the-counter treatment options to consider for the relief of simple snoring.
Change sleep position
One of the easiest and most effective ways to control your snoring is to simply change the position in which you sleep. Many people are positional snorers, meaning that they snore only while sleeping in a certain position. In most cases snoring occurs while sleeping on your back. The soft palate (look down your throat – it’s the area at the back of the throat from which the uvula hangs) relaxes while sleeping and typically falls towards the airway, causing it to flap around while breathing in and out. This is what usually causes the sound of snoring that we all are familiar with.
By sleeping on your side, the tissues at the back of your mouth often fall to the side or forward and remain out of your air passage. If you find it difficult to remain on your side during the night, try sewing a pocket into the center back of a comfortable tee shirt and place a tennis ball inside the pocket. When you try to roll over, your body will sense the ball and return to the side position. There are also specially made positional devices that can be purchased that will help to accomplish the same task.
Drop a few pounds
It’s well known that the more overweight one is, the more likely that they will snore. The reasoning is simple – fat deposits around the neck can often restrict breathing, causing tissues to flap around and create the sound of snoring. While there are plenty of snorers who are not at all overweight, there is a definite correlation between being overweight and snoring. The Eastern Virginia Medical School suggests that even a small amount of weight loss can significantly reduce snoring. In many cases, overweight people who lose weight will stop snoring completely.
Try incline therapy
By raising your upper body 4″- 8″ you can reduce or eliminate snoring. This is also an excellent treatment for those who suffer from acid reflex at night. There are actually a couple of ways that you can practice incline therapy. Perhaps the easiest solution is to elevate the head of your bed using books, magazines, blocks, etc. Simply place them under the front two feet of your bed, raising it up a few inches.
Another option is to purchase a “bed wedge” which is typically a wedge shaped block of foam that elevates your upper body. This is perhaps a better solution if you sleep with a partner who is not willing to sleep on an incline. Keep in mind that either solution will work.
Over the counter snoring treatments
Did you know that the sleep industry, including snoring treatments, is rapidly growing with an annual growth rate of 8.8%? In recent years it has quickly grown to a $32 billion industry. Anti-snoring products are only a small segment of this number but are also growing by leaps and bounds. There are literally hundreds of different treatment options, some quite effective while others are somewhat comical. Here’s a look at a few of the more popular over the counter treatments.
Over the past 3 decades, numerous studies have been conducted on various anti-snoring devices. Perhaps one of the most notable devices has been the Mandibular Advancement Device, more commonly referred to as the snoring mouthpiece. This device fits into the mouth, sort of like a mouth guard that athletes wear. It works by holding the lower jaw forward, tightening loose muscles, and preventing obstructions in the airway. The said degree to which these devices are effective in the prevention of snoring often varies from one study to another. Generally speaking, they are typically 80% to 90% effective at treating snoring. In many cases, MAD’s are also used to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea under a doctor’s supervision.
Professionally fitted custom mouthpieces are certainly the best option but are usually very costly. Dentists often charge several thousands of dollars to create a custom oral appliance. An alternative is the over the counter snoring mouthpiece.
These devices can be purchased online or found in drug stores (depending on the country in which you live). Most are constructed of a soft thermoplastic material which changes shape when heated in hot or boiling water. Once heated, they are placed into the mouth and are formed by biting down and slightly moving the jaw forward. Before going to bed, the snorer inserts the device into their mouth and removes it upon awakening.
When choosing an OTC snoring mouthpiece, it is best to choose one that allows small 1 mm adjustments. Having the ability to make adjustments is a key feature when it comes to controlling snoring. Often times, snoring will persist until the jaw is adjusted to just the right advancement position. If snoring persists, advance the lower jaw 1 mm at a time until it ceases.
Keep in mind that this type of snoring treatment should only be used by those who have healthy teeth and healthy gums. Speak with your dentist before using an oral appliance. Have them check the condition of your teeth beforehand and periodically check your teeth for signs of movement while using an oral appliance.
The over the counter oral appliance can be purchased between $40 and $200, depending on the design and manufacturer that you choose.
The chin strap is a snoring remedy that has been around for years now. It is simply an elastic band that fits over the top of one’s head and stretches under the chin. Most of these devices are designed to keep your lower jaw closed and in the forward position. As mentioned earlier, keeping the jaw forward helps to prevent airway blockage as throat muscles tend to relax as we fall into a deep sleep.
The chinstrap is a popular choice, although many say that it’s not nearly effective at controlling snoring when compared to a mouthpiece. They typically sell for between $10 for a simple one up to $35 for more complex ones.
Advanced micro-valve treatment
A newer form of therapy for snorers is advanced micro-valve treatment. This snoring solution was originally created and sold on a prescription only basis under the name Provent. It was used by sleep apnea sufferers as an alternative to the CPAP machine. Today, they are made specifically for the treatment of snoring and are marketed under the name Theravent.
The Theravent is sold as a snoring treatment and resembles a bandage. Each night, the snorer places this bandage like device over their nostrils and sleeps as they normally would. It essentially acts as a one-way check valve, allowing air in through the nose while breathing in, while preventing it from escaping through the nose while breathing out. The closed valve naturally creates pressure which keeps the throat clear of any loose tissues that may be in the way.
Then manufacturer claims that it’s FDA approved and clinically proven to reduce snoring by 76%.
Unfortunately, this device can only be used once and must be replaced on a nightly basis. A 30 day supply currently costs $24.99 so the annual cost can be quite substantial compared to other treatment options.
Herbal supplements and other gadgets
There are numerous additional products on the market that all claim to reduce your snoring. Among these are herbal supplement, aroma therapy oils, rings that go around your finger, mysterious throat sprays, nose cones and nose clips.
While some of these may be effective when it comes to treating snoring, they are generally seen as less effective when compared to the other treatments that were discussed. Before trying any of these products, ensure that you understand exactly what you are buying including any ingredients that they may contain.
Final thoughts on snoring treatment
Before treating your snoring, speak with your doctor in order to eliminate the possibility that you are suffering from a sleep related disorder or breathing obstructions. While using any over the counter snoring solution, keep your doctor in the loop by making them aware of any OTC medications or devices that you are using.
Snoring is a common issue that affects over 100 million Americans. While you may not consider simple snoring an issue, it can really affect your relationship with your partner.
Robert Thomas is an expert writer and reviewer for http://www.snoringmouthpieceguide.com. He writes on topics such as snoring, sleep apnea, CPAP treatment, Mandibular Advancement Devices, and natural snoring therapy.
October 30, 2013 by Steven Park
Here’s one of many recent studies showing low lack of good quality sleep can cause memory problems, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. In this Johns Hopkins study, researchers found that people who slept less of had trouble sleeping had higher levels of beta amyloid plaques in their brain. Having plaques alone doesn’t mean you’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease, but what this study showed was that sleep may play an important role in how your brain rids itself of beta amyloid plaques, which are one of the hallmarks of dementia.
October 24, 2013 by Steven Park
I generally counsel patients that good quality sleep is needed to more effectively lose weight. Conversely, poor sleep promotes weight gain. So you would think that starting CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea would help you to lose weight. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that this was not the case. In fact, using CPAP was found to cause statistically significant mild weight gain compared to sham CPAP users in this prospective randomized study. The active CPAP users gained about 3/4 of a pound over 6 months, where the sham CPAP users lost about 1.5 pounds.
This study only adds to the conflicting results on CPAP use and weight status. There are a number of possible reasons why this can happen, but no one is absolutely sure. In fact, I’ve been disappointed myself that not not too many people can lose weight on CPAP. I had one patient who actually gained weight after a tracheotomy. Of course, I’ve also had many patients who did lose significant weight after CPAP, which only adds to the confusion.
This particular study only showed weight gain with CPAP use. So far, there are no such studies showing similar results with dental appliances or surgery. Like what most scientific studies end with, more studies are needed.
October 22, 2013 by Steven Park
Guest post by Lisa Hunter
Many people, whether they are healthy eaters or not, find that during the evening they crave food to snack on, particularly salty, starchy or sweet choices. This generally happens a couple of hours before bedtime. Standard health advice is that we shouldn’t eat at this time of the evening, as our bodies don’t burn off fat and we simply store it, thus leading to weight problems. For sleep apnea sufferers, snacking before bedtime is particularly ill advised as it exacerbates this condition; however when you are not sleeping well, you crave snacks to boost energy levels in your body.
There are foods recommended for those tempted by snacking each evening, such as low glycemic choices and meals containing roughage. These will fill you up for longer and stop those nighttime cravings, leading to a better diet and healthier lifestyle.
Breaking the Pattern
People snack in the evening for different reasons. Sometimes it is because there is no structure, after a busy day, or we might snack as we’re cooking dinner, or end meals with a treat. Patterns are formed easily, such as craving cookies at nighttime, and a study in Obesity Journal shows that it is our internal clock that makes us reach for treats at around 8pm. It made sense for our ancestors who genuinely needed to store fat in order to survive, but today we do not need to replicate this pattern. Obesity is a debilitating disease and affects a significant number of people in the U.S today.
According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, our internal clock, known as the circadian system, intensifies our hunger at night and leads to obesity. Sugar tolerance is impaired in the evening and because we do not burn off energy at this time we simply store calories. Dr Shea, key author of the obesity study, explained that staying up later and storing energy leads to poor sleep, and these factors contribute to putting on weight. He recommends eating higher calorie meals earlier in the day, choosing lower calorie food for the evening meal and getting enough sleep to achieve weight loss.
Meals that fill you up for longer can break the pattern of snacking in the evening. You should also try to change your routine, to avoid munching on snacks in the kitchen or reaching for the calories during commercial breaks. Occupy yourself in other tasks instead so that you break the connection between activities and eating before you go to bed.
Foods to Fill You Up
Researchers have discovered that foods with a low glycemic content can help fill you up at mealtimes whilst keeping your weight down. The glycemic index was developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and relates to foods containing carbohydrates and how effectively they are converted into glucose within your body. If a food scores lower than 55, it is seen as low GL and is beneficial because it will allow glucose to reach your body in a steady stream, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Vegetables contain low glycemic levels and are high in fiber, minerals and vitamins. Peppers, broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans and leafy greens are all low GL and can be served in a mixed salad or stir fried, tossed in chilli, served with rice or burritos for healthy meals that will satisfy you for longer.
Potatoes score surprisingly highly on the GL index, at 93, and therefore you need to cut down your consumption of baked potatoes and fries at evening meal times as they will make you crave snacks later on.
Dairy products such as skimmed milk are good for you, as its GL is just 32, but be careful of fatty dairy produce that contains lactose and try to stick to low fat choices.
Blueberry pancakes make a nourishing, tasty snack at mealtimes and there are many other low GL recipes to follow for your healthy diet. Try tomato and red kidney bean soup, bangers and mash or carrot and walnut cake. Opt for a tuna stir fry, skinny rice pudding or Thai green papaya salad. Hot smoked salmon with mango salsa makes a delicious meal and will fill you up and help you avoid those cravings for carbs.
Organic foods are considered to be healthier for you because of the lack of chemicals and additives within them. This means that they are ‘higher in beneficial vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants’ and therefore your body is receiving more nutrients than it would with processed food, explains Licensed Prescriptions. With organic food, your body is getting the roughage it needs in a more natural way, and you have the peace of mind of knowing that your vegetables, fruit and meats are prepared and delivered within a short space of time, fresh and ready for the table. Fresh organic foods are perfect for mealtimes and will taste delicious in any recipe. They also break the connection you may have with processed, pre-packaged food that have a high GL content and lead to cravings after dinner. Low GL recipes, made with organic, natural ingredients, will give you a greater sense of satisfaction and help stop snacking.
By breaking evening habits and discovering low GL recipes for making meals that have a far greater satiety, you can eat healthier and stay fuller for longer.