Posts tagged ‘sleep apnea’

Are you getting a quality sleep?

sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to get a quality sleep night after night. Think about it. In this age of computers, laptops and smart phones, a lot can distract you. Do you ever wake up at 3 a.m., with the urge to check your phone for the latest text or email?

Times are changing and a new study shows that chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can be association with poor sleep habits…and that means too MUCH sleep or too LITTLE sleep.

The following article by HeathDay.com quotes Dr. Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. According to Badr, “when and how you sleep is just as important as what you eat or how you exercise.”

The article suggests adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

You’ll also see a link to sleep and sleep disorders from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The battle of the sexes continues into the bedroom? Do women sleep better than men? — guest post by Leyla Al-Sharif

There is much debate around the matter of whether men or women sleep better at night and various studies have been conducted to this end. Some have used sleep-laboratory results and devices attached to subjects.

Fact: Women DO Sleep Longer

The journal Chronobiology International published the results of a poll by the American National Sleep Foundation after interviewing more than 1500 people. Nearly a third of the women interviewed said that they sleep about eight hours during week nights. The number of men saying the same was only just over twenty per cent. If taking all the information given in the survey into account, in general women sleep about an average of eleven minutes longer per night than men do.

The Issue of Uninterrupted Sleep

It is not only the length of sleep that matters, but also the kind of sleep. Uninterrupted sleep is very important in assuring enough rest for the following day’s activities. Mothers of young children often have interrupted sleep and this might account for why women with children say that they don’t get enough sleep.

Fact: Women Cope Better on Less Sleep

This could be because women usually have more slow-wave sleep: this is a level of deep sleep that plays a critically important role in the proper functioning of the memory. This kind of sleep occurs within a short time of falling asleep. This might also account for the fact that women perform better at conceptual learning tasks without needing a nap before the time – in contrast to men, who need to sleep first. It is, however, true that women do more often tend to suffer from insomnia. Yet they are still able to perform better than men and women generally cope better with being deprived of sleep. Women tend to go to bed earlier than men and usually wake up earlier or have problems staying asleep very early in the morning. This is as a result of a woman’s circadian cycle being slightly shorter than a man’s. This is the body’s inbuilt clock that is not usually affected by light or darkness and determines our natural rhythms concerning when we need to rest.

Everyone should try to find the type of bed that will give them the best possible sleep, such as wooden bed frames with a comfortable, good-quality mattress and a good pillow. Drinking alcohol also has a detrimental effect on a good night’s sleep. More men tend to drink than women, so this might account for a large percentage of sleep problems in men. Men are also more prone to sleep apnoea, a condition in which the air to the lungs is temporarily cut off and the person stops breathing for a few seconds.

This post was contributed by Leyla Al-Sharif, an experienced guest blogger with expertise writing on health issues. She is currently working with Archers Sleep Centre to help them publicise the important health issue of sleep. You can reach Leyla on Twitter @DigitalLeyla

Sleep deprivation: Be sure to catch your Z’s — article by Scott Keith

Imagine getting eight hours of quality sleep each night. You fall asleep, enjoy a few pleasant (you hope) dreams and wake up refreshed and eager to start the day. It’s a nice thought, and some may actually get this much-needed nightly rest. But in this frantic world, it’s getting increasingly tough to snooze your way to better health.

One doctor specializing in the mechanics of sleep is Michael Nolledo, Director of the Institute for Sleep Medicine at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, New Jersey. In an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, Dr. Nolledo says many people don’t realize how much sleep they require. He says 90 to 95 percent of people are going to require somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. “What a lot of people say is, ‘yeah, I require maybe four or five hours…I seem to be doing pretty well,’ but what many of those folks don’t realize is that they’re probably not functioning at peak efficiency…they’re not giving themselves the best shot at performing the best that they could be during the day.”

Sleep deprivation is found in all age groups, according to Nolledo, a sleep medicine specialist. On the one hand, children, ages one to two, require an average of about 14 to 16 hours of sleep daily. Nolledo says this amount of sleep helps secrete substances, such as growth hormone, and helps toddlers incorporate their learning experiences. “For the elderly, the reason to get enough sleep is because your coping mechanisms are not going to be as sufficient. The effects of sleep deprivation are going to be more pronounced as one gets older, because we don’t have either the physical or mental ability that younger folks have in order to compensate and make up for sleep deprivation effects,” says Nolledo.

In this wild, multi-tasking world, we tend to give sleep low priority. “We have 24 hours in a day,” says Nolledo. “All of us have a lot of things we would like to do…we end up prioritizing things because there’s simply not enough time in the day to do everything we would like to accomplish…most people would probably put ten or fifteen things on top of the (priority) list before sleep.”

The benefits of a sound sleep are many. Nolledo says sleep is meant to mentally and physically restore us, adding that memory and learning improves with a good sleep. Without a good sleep, “Your ability to multi-task during the day is not going to be as good. You’ll end up, overall, being less efficient.” Regarding long-term health effects, Nolledo says a lot of the data focuses on conditions such as sleep apnea rather than sleep deprivation. Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attacks and strokes.

If you think you’re suffering from sleeping disorders, you might want to see a specialist. Sleep medicine is a board-certified specialty. “There are a number of physicians who are specially trained to handle this sort of thing,” says Nolledo, noting that we spend one-third of our lives asleep.

Considering the amount of distractions we face in a world dominated by high-tech contraptions such as cell phones, computers and Blackberries, one should not forget the importance of sleep. “One should have a healthy respect for sleep,” says Nolledo. “It’s important to get the right amount of sleep. I think that (sleep) should not be something that should be sacrificed.”

Visit Dr. Nolledo at www.deborah.org