Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sleep apnea and gas

One of the most irritating and embarrassing things that can happen at night while you are trying to sleep is having excessive gas. Not only will it keep your sleeping partner up (and probably moving into another room) it will also keep you from sleeping as well. If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine it might be even more of a problem.
Most of know that one of the main causes of gas is what we eat. Vegetable, beans and milk products are the usual suspects when it comes to having gas. Poor indigestion and the ability of the smaller intestine to handle the food that you consumed will contribute to having gas. So cutting back or laying off late night eating will certainly help but it doesn’t cure every case of flatulence. There are familiar over the counter medications that you can certainly try and if that doesn’t do it then your doctor might have something for you.
Another reason for gas is swallowing air and this can be a problem if you are using a CPAP machine. I know when I used a full face mask on my CPAP I would swallow a good deal of air causing quite a bit of flatulence.  Belching is another problem that can occur when you are using a full face mask but fortunately I didn’t have that problem.
If excessive gas, caused by using a CPAP mask, is preventing you from getting any sleep, then check with your sleep doctor.  Maybe the air pressure is too high on the machine or maybe he can adjust the ramp feature (how fast the air pressure increases to its highest level). Or a prescription med might do the trick.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sleep-related eating disorder

Do you eat while you are asleep? I don’t but it appears that some folks do. Sleep eating is apparently just another sleep disorder that affects people.
According to, “Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is characterized by repeated involuntary episodic eating that occurs during nighttime sleep. It is more than a midnight snack, and individuals with this disorder remain largely asleep while they are eating.”
And if eating while you are asleep is strange it seems than what some folks are eating at night is even weirder, odd combinations of foods such as salt, sugar, flour and even, this is disgusting, cat litter. Foods that are high in calories (I don’t know what the calorie content is for cat litter) are also prevalent.
What makes this happen?
This usually occurs in people that have other sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and periodic limb movements. There also seems to be a link between Confusional arousals and SRED. The demographic for this is women in their 20’s.
I have also read that there can be a link between sleep medication, like Ambien and Trizolam, and this sleep disorder
The first step of course is going to your doctor and scheduling a sleep study which will determine which sleep disorders you have or don’t have. Treatment can include sleep hygiene and possibly medication.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sleep apnea can cause headaches in the morning

Headaches are bad at any time of the day, but when you wake up with one that can be particularly irritating. What causes the headaches?  Drinking way too much the night before is definitely one way to have your head splitting open in the morning. The need for caffeine when you wake up will also give you a pretty good headache, especially if you are a big coffee drinker. Sleep apnea can also cause headaches in the morning.
According to, “Because breathing stops so often, the person does not receive sufficient oxygen, causing carbon dioxide to build in the blood. This affects the nervous system as well as blood flow to the brain, causing headache as well as memory and mood changes”
In a study cited by Webmd 35 percent of complained of morning headaches. In many cases the headaches go away when the sleep apnea is treated.
 Of course the thing to remember is that just because you have headaches in the morning doesn’t necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea. If you have other symptoms of sleep apnea, like feeling tired during the day, or maybe your partner has told you about how loud your snoring is then you might just have it. Check with your doctor to see about getting a sleep study scheduled. You will know for certain when the results get back if you have sleep apnea or not.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Testosterone and sleep apnea

It is interesting to see how some things that don’t seem at all connected with sleep apnea have an effect on it.  One such problem for men is erectile dysfunction where sleep apnea can be a deterrent on men achieving an erection. Another problem that also is intertwined with sleep apnea as well as other sleep disorders is low testosterone.
The hormone testosterone, which is created in the testes, does many things for the body.
  • Builds muscle and mass
  • Spurs the growth of facial and body hair, lowers the voice
  • Increase sperm production
  • Increase sexual stamina 
Women also have testosterone much not at the same level as men.
As we age our levels of testosterone goes down creating such problems as ER, hair loss and even depression. Testosterone therapy which increases the level of testosterone in men can be used but it also has side effects, such as aggressive behavior, acne, liver damage and impotence. A lot of this is well known because of professional sports athletes taking steroids to increase their strength and muscle size.
According to the National Institute of Health the problem of low testosterone is considerably worse in those with sleep apnea. During the REM stage of sleep our levels of testosterone is at its highest, of course those of us with sleep apnea don’t experience the benefits of REM sleep.
If you have sleep apnea and you feel that you might be suffering from low testosterone then contact your doctor to see what can be done.
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sleep latency and sleep apnea

One of the signs of sleep disorders especially sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. As the day drags on you find it harder and harder to stay awake. Caffeine is a little help but really not that much. By the time you get home you find that all you want to do is fall asleep, take a little nap before you do anything else. Of course that little nap gives you enough energy to stay up for a while before going to bed. But when you try to go to sleep you find that you just lay there staring at ceiling and walls hoping that you will fall asleep soon.  Anxiety starts to build as you look over at the clock and it is getting later and later.  If this is you then your problem has to do with sleep latency.
Being able to fall asleep quickly and having interrupted sleep can be a problem with sleep apnea. You wouldn’t think falling asleep would be a challenge considering how tired you are but it is. The problem of sleep apnea is bad enough with the way to wakes you several times an hour but there are other things that contribute to you have difficulty falling asleep, namely taking naps and drinking anything with caffeine in it.
Cutting back or eliminating caffeine from your diet will not only help your sleeping it may also help with lowering your stress and anxiety. Cut back slowly and within time you will find that you will rest better and have more energy.
As for eliminating the afternoon nap not everyone is in favor of that. Some think that it can be beneficial and refreshing while others aren’t so sure. But if you have a sleep disorder then it might not be such a great idea. For more information on napping go to MSN Health.
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