Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Support groups for sleep apnea

Do you feel all alone with sleep apnea even though you know that millions of folks are going through the same things that you are every night? You aren’t the only one that feels tired during the day and struggles to sleep at night. So why not seek out other folks that have the same sleeping disorder that you do. Join a support group for sleep apnea.

One of the best things that the internet or the web offers is communication between folks all over the world. Whether it is about financial problems or car problems or health problems you can always find someone who has had the problem before and you probably find a solution to that problem.

With health issues like sleep apnea support groups give information about surgeries, all things cpap (bipap, apap), lifestyle changes and most importantly they give you support, which is something we all need.

Where do you find the support groups?
  • Before social media came along the best place to go to talk about specific issues like sleep apnea would be forums and it is still a great way to learn and communicate with others. 
  • Facebook seems to have their hand in everything now including groups for just about anything including sleep apnea. Just do a search you’ll find many of them. 
  • Twitter is another great place to find sleep apnea folks.



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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sleep Apnea and Prolonged Sitting

It seems obvious that prolonged sitting wouldn’t be good for your health. If you work in an office and sit in front of a pc all day, or whatever job requires you to sit down most of the day then your legs and your body gets very little exercise. Well, it appears that prolonged sitting is also bad for those of us who suffer from sleep apnea.

Health problems associated with prolonged sitting
  • Weight gain, one of the top health issues of this generation, can be caused by sitting too long. Of course being overweight causes a host of other health problems. 
  • Do you get physically tired at the end of the day even though you do your work sitting down? Prolonged sitting isn’t good for blood circulation. With out the proper circulation you could become fatigued. 
  • Sitting too long can also cause havoc on your back. 
  • Heart disease, Diabetes 
  • Fluid that gathers in the legs during the day moves up through the body to the neck may have an effect on blocking the airway in the back of the throat causing sleep apnea.

How to minimize prolonged sitting detrimental effects

The easiest remedy is to take scheduled breaks during the day where you get up and move around, take a little walk, or walk up some stairs. If you do that several times a day it will help with your circulation.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vitamins and sleep apnea

In today’s health conscious society taking vitamins have become a daily routine. While taking vitamins have been around for a long time it is especially essential for an older growing population. Vitamins and supplements are a billion dollar industry. Vitamins also are found to help with sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia. The B vitamins in particular are found useful to promote sleep.

What vitamins are beneficial to sleep disorders?

  • Vitamin B6 – It has been suggested that B6 helps produce serotonin which triggers the hormone melatonin which helps you get to sleep. 
  • Vitamin B5 – helps with stress and anxiety which in turn helps you sleep 
  • Vitamin B1 – This is good for sleep apnea patients who have memory loss 
  • Vitamin C – also helps reduce stress

 There are also supplements and minerals that make sleeping easier. Calcium is one of them. A deficiency of calcium in the body makes us restless. That is why you hear so many people say that drinking a glass of milk, which contains calcium; before bed will help you get to sleep. Magnesium, like calcium, causes sleep problems when there is a deficiency in the body. There are plenty of food that has magnesium in it like wheat bran and cashews.

What is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps to create serotonin in the brain. Like calcium it is found in milk. Another food that has it is turkey, which might explain why everyone is sleepy after the thanksgiving meal.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Over sleeping and sleep apnea

This almost sounds like a contradiction that sleep apnea can cause oversleeping when you get very little actual sleep with OSA. But think about how long you stay in bed (on the weekends or your off days) is that excessive. Over sleeping, or hypersomnia, can also lead to devastating illnesses such as heart attacks, diabetes, obesity and other illnesses.

What is hypersomnia?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes hypersomnia is “is characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep. Different from feeling tired due to lack of or interrupted sleep at night, persons with hypersomnia are compelled to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times such as at work, during a meal, or in conversation. These daytime naps usually provide no relief from symptoms “

That should sound familiar if you have sleep apnea because no amount of napping will really help.

The causes of hypersomnia are usually depression (if you have depression hypersomnia can make it worse), anxiety, and other sleep disorders like sleep apnea. As far as treatments for this sleep disorder medications can be prescribed. If you think that you may have hypersomnia contact your doctor.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sleep apnea and pillow adjusting

For a few months I have been using a wedge pillow at night. I had read that it would help (some, maybe a little) sleep apnea patients keep their airway open. At first it seemed to help because I don’t think that my airway was blocked as much, of course it could have been wishful thinking on my part. It certainly helped my acid reflux; I can’t remember the last bad attack at night where I woke up feeling nauseated. But now I am not so sure that I am going to continue with the wedge pillow. It might be time to make another pillow adjustment.

I have always used a soft pillow to sleep with usually 2 of them would be comfortable. When I first got the wedge pillow I noticed that it seemed too firm making it a little uncomfortable to sleep on so I put a small pillow on top of it. I tried that for a while but it bent my neck into an uncomfortable position pushing my head so forward that my chin almost rested on my chest. Not only did that strain my neck it wasn’t good for opening up my airway, so I took the pillow off. I though after a few months the wedge pillow would soften up a little but it really hasn’t. It still feels as though my head is lying on a board!

Now what, I am going back to using 2 pillows for a while till I can find an alternative to the wedge pillow or a softer one.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sleep apnea and smoking

The last post I wrote about was whether coffee and sleep apnea can be a good combination. Some think it isn’t a bad idea while others think you should avoid it entirely. But when it comes to sleep apnea and smoking you aren’t going to find anyone that thinks that is a good idea. Of course smoking in any circumstance is a very bad idea.

For the last forty years or so the health industry has continually warned us about the perils of smoking. Lung cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis and a host of other ailments are caused or made worse by smoking (nicotine). So it should come as no surprise that smoking would be detrimental to those with sleep apnea.

According the, smokers are 3 times greater at risk to have sleep apnea because it increases the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. If you stop smoking then these risks should go away.

Of course quitting smoking isn’t that easy. If it was then you wouldn’t see all the quite smoking products on the market. Another factor that you have against you if you are trying to quit smoking or lose weight is the lack of energy due to the sleep apnea. It sounds like an excuse but if you are really tired it is sometimes difficult to break your most addictive vices.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sleep apnea and coffee

In a past article I wrote about how caffeine and sleep apnea don’t mix. Coffee and other drinks with caffeine might mask the problem of sleep apnea. But is that really true?

It has been said that coffee can be beneficial lowering diabetes risk and Parkinson’s disease according to an article in And coffee can surprisingly help with headaches. although I don't know if I believe that!  Remember that there are a lot of pain relievers with an abundance of caffeine in them.

In my own case I don’t necessarily like coffee and the caffeine makes me nervous and shaky. I do get a fix of caffeine in the morning from soda which doesn’t have quite as much of it. I know that are those caffeine laden drinks like red bull that seem to be very popular right now. I tried those once and it sent me through the roof. Of course I have considered eliminating caffeine entirely but with the sleep apnea I really need some kind of boost in the morning.

Does it affect my sleep apnea?

I have read opposing views on this. An article in suggests that it masks serious sleep disorders like sleep apnea. I can understand that but it is still difficult to get going in the morning without it. Others say that it doesn’t seem to have any effect on obstructive sleep apnea according to the Mayo Clinic website. The doctor who wrote the article even suggested that it might be helpful.

I’d still be careful about the caffeine even if you do have sleep apnea.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Should you stay in bed if you can’t sleep?

There seems to be many nights where I just lay in bed unable to sleep. I look over at the clock and I start to worry about how I will feel in the morning with such little rest. And the sleep apnea that I have makes things even worse because when I do finally fall asleep the apnea occurrences occur many times even to the point of just waking me up completely. I struggle with the question of whether I should just lay there and try to relax or get up and do something till I get tired.

One of the drawbacks of not sleeping at night or sleeping restlessly is the need to nap during the day. Of course when you do that it makes it harder to go to sleep the falling night. Right now I take a nap during the day and then try to go to bed later. Unfortunately that doesn’t even seem to help. Another thing that hinders your sleep is late night eating. Not only is that bad for your health (you’ll gain weight) it also makes it harder to fall asleep. So try not to eat after a certain period of time.

As for whether to stay in bed, I have read 2 opposing views. One says that you should get up and do something relaxing with the purpose of it causing you to fall asleep. And another opinion is to stay in bed, hide your digital clock so you don’t stare at it all night and listen to soothing music.

I know that I have tried both methods and it seems the one that sometimes works for me is to get up for a little while and then go back to bed. Like I said it works sometimes and other times it doesn’t.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Can infants have sleep apnea?

It makes sense that middle aged folks who have a weight problem can suffer from sleep apnea. As a matter of fact it is quite common among that group. Senior citizens can have it too along with teenagers who are overweight. But what about infants can they have sleep apnea?

It is considered normal for babies to have pauses in their breathing. But sleep apnea can occur with babies’ just adults and older children. The reasons are basically the same, some type of blockage in the back of the throat. Infants snore and that might be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, where there is blockage in the airway causing infant to stop breathing. Enlarged tonsils may also be a factor.

A couple of the common signs of infants having sleep apnea are mouth breathing and restlessness, Along with a change in behavior. Premature babies are also considered at risk for sleep apnea.

This can lead to the serious condition of SIDs Sudden Infant Death syndrome. Respirator monitors are being used on infants that show the risk of SIDS or sleep apnea.

So it is important to remember that sleep apnea can occur at any age including during infancy.

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