Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sleep apnea and dry mouth

If you have ever had problems with nasal congestion or allergies then you probably have also had problems with dry mouth. It is very unpleasant to wake in the morning with the feeling that cotton is stuffed in your mouth. If you have sleep apnea then dry mouth is a problem that you regularly have to deal with. In my own case it seems every morning I wake up with a raw throat and a dried mouth.

Not only is dry mouth a problem with sleep apnea but so is sore throats. As I have written before you may still have a sore throat after you are fitted with a cpap machine. Luckily the newer cpaps also have a humidifier that helps the air stay moist so your throat doesn’t dry out. There are other things that you can do to avoid dry mouth. One is to keep your room temperature at a consistent temperature, this will definitely help.

Of course if you don’t sleep with your mouth open then you shouldn’t have this problem but with sleep apnea that is pretty much impossible. The blockage in the back of the throat stops the airway and sends a signal to the brain that you have to wake up. You wake up with a gasp that opens the airway.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sleeping on your stomach and sleep apnea

I slept on my stomach till I was in my late twenties. Up until that time sleep wasn’t really an issue with me and it didn’t seem to matter what position I slept in. Then I had an injury to one of the discs in my back. The back pain was extremely sharp and it seemed worse when I was on my stomach. After I had a nerve block done, the pain in my back left I also found that sleeping on my stomach was uncomfortable. Sleeping on my back seemed the only way that I could get any rest.

Of course that’s pretty much when the sleep apnea started.

As I have written in the past there are some things to consider when sleeping on your stomach…

  • You will find that many folks who have sleep apnea also have acid reflux or GERD. I do. Besides not eating before you go to bed, sleeping with your head propped is also a good idea. 
  • Pick a good pillow if you have sleep apnea. I use a wedge pillow and it seems to help my sleep apnea and my acid reflux. 
  • Consider sleeping on your side. It could help the apnea.  
  • Something that may seem strange is to sleep in a recliner instead of a bed. The idea behind this is your head is really propped up. I don’t know if I sleep in a recliner all night but you might want to give it a try. 
  • Positional therapy might be something that would help your sleep apnea. 
  • Even if you don’t have sleep apnea sleeping on your back is considered the best way to sleep.

Check with your doctor and see what recommendations he can give you as far as what position is best for sleeping.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How’s your health besides the Sleep Apnea?

Let’s say you don’t have sleep apnea right now and you sleep like a baby. Are you on a regular exercise program, either lifting weights or something aerobic like walking or running? Are you eating the right things like lean meat, fish, fruit and vegetables? Or would you merely live the same way that you do now, a sedentary lifestyle without any regard to weight gain? I ask myself this question often and I am not sure why I don’t live a healthier lifestyle.

One of the first doctors that I saw for sleep apnea asked me if I exercised and watched what I ate. She knew the answer but I guess she just wanted to hear how I was going to respond. I told her I didn’t and I didn’t have any excuses. Then she came up with an excuse for me that I was too tired to motivate myself to exercise. I liked that reasoning and that became my general excuse for not exercising and eating right.

It’s not a good excuse.

You know that there are different levels of exercise. If I was training for a marathon or a triathlon the workout would really be intense. But I’m not. This is the important thing about exercise, start slow and gradually increase the amount of time and exertion that you are putting into your workout. Even a little exercise is better than know. I know that the sleep apnea makes you tired but still try to at least walk some every day. The benefits will be tremendous.

The same goes for eating right. Don’t all of a sudden go on a strict diet. Slowly incorporate more fruits and vegetable into your meals. And slowly eat less of the junk food.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sleep apnea and benadryl

As you probably know, sleeping pills and sleep apnea isn’t a good match. In fact they make the situation worse by relaxing the muscles in the back of the throat. It is also advisable not to take any kind of antihistamines like benadryl.

What is an antihistamine?

Usually when people hear of antihistamines they think of allergies. Over the counter medicines like benadryl help folks with their allergies and they also help them go to sleep. Other allergy medicines with antihistamines in them are Dimetapp, Claritin and Zyrtec. What antihistamines do is block a chemical called histamine which blocks the nasal passage and can affect your breathing.

Antihistamines are also found in over the counter sleep aids as well. Nytol, Sominex and Unisom are a few of the sleep aids that contain antihistamines. There has always been controversy with the idea that sleeping pills actually help especially in the long run. These types of pills are taken usually for short term insomnia. They can be considered effective for a little while but overtime they lose there effectiveness.

The dilemma with benadryl and sleep apnea patients is that many who have OSA also have problems with allergies and sinuses. Do you take the benadryl? In my case I have and it does help with the allergies, but I find that my sleep apnea pattern of sleeping gets much worse. It is probably a good idea to talk to your doctor if you have sleep apnea and allergy problems to find out what is right solution for you.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why don’t you see if you have sleep apnea?

It is really amazing that there are so many people out there who have sleep apnea and don’t know it. This disorder has gotten a lot of press and coverage over the past few years so you would think that people especially men would be going to the doctor to sign up for a sleep study. But for some reason it doesn’t happen. Why don’t you see if you have sleep apnea?



Here are a few of the possible reasons

  • Believe it or not maybe you haven’t heard about it. That may seem strange but it could happen especially if you don’t see a doctor that often. 
  • You have heard about sleep apnea and you have definitely heard about the cpap machine and how difficult it is to use. It is true that many people find it cumbersome but that isn’t any guarantee that you will. 
  • Sleep apnea and being overweight has a connection. If you are sensitive about your weight the last thing that you want to hear is that your weight is ruining your sleep as well as your health. 
  • Worry about having an overnight sleep test is another concern. While it is challenging to have the test it really isn’t that bad. There are also home sleep monitors available now where you do the test from home. 
  • You think that your bad sleep is related to stress and other problems. It may be that but then again it may be sleep apnea.



Sleep apnea can cause terrible health problems and can even be fatal. So check with your doctor to see if you have it.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Some rest with the cpap is better than none

When I first was diagnosed with sleep apnea I really didn’t know anything about the disorder let alone the treatments. I had heard a little from a friend about the cpap but not much. My friend had a difficult time with it and gave up on it. Like a lot of people it was just too uncomfortable for him. if you have read my blog before you know that I had pretty much the same experience with it. I thought that wearing the cpap was making matters worse rather than better. Looking back I don’t know if that is entirely correct.

High expectations

I don’t know why I had such high expectations about the cpap machine. My friend had given me his horror story of the trying to use the cpap but still I thought that I could make the adjustment. For some reason I though that the adjustment would literally be over night! I would instantly fall asleep and feel fantastic the following day. As a matter of fact at the first sleep clinic that I went to they showed me a video about this guy who had sleep apnea and then started to use the cpap. Not surprising the cpap worked great for him and he felt wonderful! Well maybe that could happen to me also.

Of course it didn’t. I had troubles right from the start, all the usual problems air leaking, dry mouth and the noise of the machine was too much. It seemed that every night I would end up taking the mask off. I probably was benefiting from it for the little time that I used it but my mind set was that I was going to sleep like a baby or not use it at all. That was probably a bad decision on my part

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dental devices and sleep apnea

Luckily there are many remedies besides the CPAP ( although it is probably the most popular ) that are effective remedies for sleep apnea. I recently wrote about throat exercises to tighten loose tissue in the back of the mouth, it may not cure your sleep apnea but it may help. Playing the didgeridoo, a musical instrument, also helps to unblock the airway. And there are also dental devices, also called oral appliances that you may want to try.

In a previous post I described MAD or the mandibular advancement device, a device that is fitted in your mouth to push forward the jaw which helps keep the airway open. There is also a dental device TRD or tongue retraining device. What happens with the TRD is the tongue is kept in place by a splint which in turn keeps the airway open.

Of course dental devices like the CPAP aren’t for everyone. If you have severe obstructive sleep apnea dental devices might not be enough, using a cpap or surgery might be your only option. And you might also find that the device is too uncomfortable to wear at night.

But you should consider it if you find the cpap too uncomfortable and you are leery about having surgery. Talk to your doctor and your dentist to see what option is right for you.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sleep disorders and trying to stay awake during the day

Are you a big coffee drinker or do you drink a lot of sodas during the day to stay awake? Caffeine can only help for a little while till you need another fix. Lack of sleep is quite a big problem today. Sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea can have quite a negative effect on your life. They make life a living hell as you try to stay awake during the day.Your quality of life takes a beating and your productivity lessens as you struggle to stay awake.  And the thing is that there are many reasons why you can't stay awake during the day.

The other day I received an email from Jena Ellis. She gave me a blog link about eight reasons that you can’t stay awake during the day. The article describes such sleep disorders as sleep apnea which most people know about to less well known disorders. Something that I found interesting was that dehydration was on the list because it causes fatigue.

It is a good post that is definitely worth checking out.

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