Are you Concerned About Your Sleep Quality?

If you have concerns about the quality of sleep you’re getting, or just looking for information, here are a few links to help you out.

Blogs

https://www.aastweb.org/blog

http://www.sleepworksinc.com/sleep-study-blog-2016.php

Forums

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/sleep-disorders/

https://patient.info/forums/discuss/browse/sleep-problems-2099

http://talk.sleeptember.org/

Informational

https://sleepfoundation.org/

https://www.somnosure.com/

Here’s some good information on home testing.http://www.sleepworksinc.com/sleep-study-home-sleep-testing.php

This site provides a link to find a sleep professional in your area https://sleepfoundation.org/

If you need a CPAP machine but can’t afford it, the American Sleep Apnea Association may be able to help you. https://www.sleepapnea.org/community/cpap-assistance-program/

Do you have, suspect you have Narcolepsy? Click on this link http://www.narcolepsylink.com/

This sleep center has sleep labs in hospitals throughout several states. Check them out. http://www.pdssleep.com/

Interactive Forms

The following link will bring you to an interactive ESS where you can test yourself http://www.sleepmed.com.au/epworth-calculator.html

This interactive questionnaire will determine the likelihood you have sleep apnea http://www.stopbang.ca/osa/screening.php

This isn’t an interactive link but you can print out a good rating scale for Restless Leg Syndrome http://sleephub.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/RLSratingscale.pdf

 

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, and I might just add links from time to time as well.

If you have any links you’d like added please leave a link in the comments.

Thanks. Till next time…Blessings.

Do you Have Problems With Your CPAP?

CPAP use has its own unique set of problems. However, there are workable solutions to these. In this article, I’ll explore some of these issues. 

Common Problems People Have With CPAP

Perhaps one of the bigger problems people have with CPAP is related to the mask itself. Many people don’t like anything on their face, usually because it feels claustrophobic. This can be an initial reaction to CPAP. However, some people never work through this, and as a result, can’t use the mask at all.

Another one of the problems people have is breathing against the air pressure. This is especially so if their CPAP pressure is too high.

There are solutions to these dilemmas, however.

 

Non Surgical Solutions

People who are claustrophobic don’t like ‘all this stuff’ on their face. problemsSometimes they do better with a nasal mask because of that. Then again, some people feel more claustrophobic with the nasal mask. This is because they need to keep their mouth closed. In that case going to a full face mask would allow them to breathe through both nose and mouth. There’s an alternative to this dilemma. Check out this mask; it covers your mouth and just sits under your nose.

problemsAnother possibility is a device called an Oral Appliance. There are different variations on a theme. One type works by holding your jaw forward; the other works by holding your tongue forward. In either case, the result is that ultimately your airway stays open.

 

For those who can’t breathe against all that pressure, there’s something called bi-level. This type of machine has a higher pressure when you breathe in, and then goes to a lower pressure when you breathe out. Many people find this really helps them tolerate treatment.

For more information on this and other treatment options, see http://sleepguyblog.com/best-way-treat-sleep-apnea/

Also, check this out!!

 Singing or Playing a Wind Instrument

There’s some interesting research that shows either singing, and/or playing a wind instrument can lessen the severity of OSA. This apparently works by strengthening certain mouth and throat muscles; thus making it less likely your airway will collapse

One of the more interesting wind instruments, and perhaps the one showing the best response is the Didgeridoo. Check it out here http://www.didgeridoostore.com/didgeridoo_sleepapnea_snoring.htm

But really, any wind instrument can help strengthen those muscles. So, sing away and learn to play! Even if all you do is make a joyful noise!

Cleaning Your CPAP Equipment

Sometimes your mask can cause redness and irritation. However, properly cleaning your equipment can often reduce, or even eliminate these issues.

Empty the water chamber daily, and soak it, your mask, and hose, in warm soapy water every day. Also wipe down your CPAP machine weekly with a wet wipe.

The humidifier chamber should be soaked in a mixture of 1/3 white vinegar in 2/3 water for around 15 minutes at least once a week. Then rinse in distilled water. Let air dry on a towel.

Properly cleaned equipment not only can reduce irritation, it’s also less germy, and doesn’t look gross.

Surgical Solutions

The most common type of surgical procedure involves removing excess soft tissue from the back of your throat. This procedure can also include removing your tonsils and trimming other soft tissue. More aggressive surgery involves Surgically moving your jaw forward.

Click on the attached link for more information on these, and other procedures. http://www.sleepeducation.org/treatment-therapy/surgery/surgical-procedures

Other Questions and Concerns

How am I supposed to sleep with this thing?

It’s helping you breathe, so if the mask fits you right, and the pressure is good, you will breathe much better. Although, the mask and pressure can take some adjusting to.

How long does it take to get used to CPAP?

There’s a full range of how people respond initially to CPAP. All the way from “Take this thing off me! I’ll never wear that!” To as soon as I put the mask on them they’re like “Wow! This thing is awesome!” ” I breathe much better with it.”

Also, time after time, I see patients in the sleep lab who’s sleep improves after I put them on CPAP. Yet they wake in the morning not feeling any better than usual. Apparently, sometimes it takes your body awhile to ‘work its way’ out of a condition it’s been in.

If your body is used to a certain way of breathing, then if you suddenly start breathing more efficiently, your body will naturally react negatively to that. So then, good, healthy breathing becomes a struggle in itself, until your body adjusts.

Do I have to sleep on my back all the time?

No, even with a full face mask you should be able to lay on your side or even your stomach. We only encourage back sleep in the sleep lab because obstructive breathing is generally worse on your back, and we want to see how you look that way.

But I never sleep on my back, why should I during the sleep study?

We want to establish the true severity of your apnea. Besides, I’ve seen many patients say they never sleep on their backs.

Then during the sleep study, they’ll fall asleep on their sides; and once asleep, will turn on to their backs. Some will turn back onto their side, wake  up and say “See, I told you I never sleep on my back”

If you can’t sleep on your back because of an injury, then you won’t be required to for the sleep study. Just let your sleep technologist know this.

Do I have to wear this all the time?

As long as you wake up feeling refreshed and have no problems with your mask, yes. If you have a change in your medical condition or even a change in insurance, you might need another sleep study.

Is there a cure for sleep apnea?

While losing weight can help, it shouldn’t be considered a ‘cure’. Also, smoking is irritating to your airway, causing it to swell up a bit. So if you smoke, quitting will open your airway more once the swelling goes down. This will, of course, reduce the severity of your sleep apnea.

Are the machines noisy?

Years ago, many people complained about how loud their CPAP machine was. However, machines these days are very quiet. Actually, a mask leak will be your loudest sound (from the machine).

The mask leaves red marks on my face.

If you have sensitive skin, the mask can leave a red mark on your face. But generally, any redness shouldn’t last very long. And you don’t need to cinch the mask down tight on your face either. It should sit comfortably.

Actually, the air movement within the mask generally acts like a type of suction and can create a seal that should keep air leak to a minimum, without clamping the mask down onto your face.

Conclusion

Knowledge is power, and there are no dumb questions (well, o.k., maybe there are, but none of my patients have asked any).

I hope you’ve found this article at least somewhat useful, in addressing some of the problems you have with your CPAP. If you have a question that wasn’t addressed here, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

Are you Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

E is for Exhausted.E stands for Exhausted

After publishing last week’s blog on being tired, http://sleepguyblog.com/not-natural-tired-time/ I saw the need to add some more information. Thus the reason for this follow up. In addition to that, I’ll also show you an often overlooked possible cause of why you’re fatigued and/or exhausted.

Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

In last week’s article, I defined the difference between these three but focused mainly on tiredness. This week, I want to look at fatigue and exhaustion and briefly cover some treatment options.

Again, there’s a significant difference between these. It’s important that you know the difference so you can properly describe your symptoms to your Doctor. This will ensure proper treatment.

TIRED-You still have some energy. However, you can experience muscle weakness. You might also have some memory problems, but a good rest will clear things up

FATIGUE-lack of energy will be accompanied by difficulty concentrating; as well as difficulty sleeping. A rest might not help much, if at all.

EXHAUSTED-By now, you have more than just difficulty concentrating. You’re becoming confused, incoherent, and emotionally ‘numb’. Don’t even waste your time trying to nap at this point.

Tell it Like it is

In this section, I’ll go over some things to be aware of when talking with your Doctor. As you probably already know, it’s really important to accurately describe your symptoms to your Doctor. This will ensure you receive the right treatment. And of course, the more thorough your medical history, the better.

Common questions to ask, or info to include are:

  • Current medications you’re taking, including any natural remedies
  • Any heart disease or Diabetes in your family?
  • Anything causing stress?
  • Whether you did or still do smoke, drink alcohol, or take any illegal drugs.
  • Specific information related to sleep patterns
  • Accurately explain how you feel.

Next, you can use the following sections to help identify your problem areas. This is only a general guide to help you identify areas of concern to talk with your Doctor about. Simply go to the section that describes you.

You haven’t had a sleep study, and you’re fatigued and/or exhausted.

The following are good indicators you could have sleep apnea.

  • You’re told you snore and/or you wake yourself up snoring.
  • You wake up choking or gasping for air.
  • You’re irritable, moody, and/or depressed.
  • You’re tired, fatigued, or downright exhausted.
  • Are you overweight?
  • Have high blood pressure?
  • Do you wake up with a headache?

Why is waking with a headache an issue? What happens is this. You breathe based on the amount of carbon dioxide ( C02) in your blood. When that level reaches a certain point, your brain sends a signal to breathe. This brings in fresh oxygen and gets rid C02.

But if your airway is closing off and you’re not breathing enough, C02 builds up in your body. And this causes headaches. That’s why morning headaches could indicate you have sleep apnea.

Also, remember that sleep apnea can also cause high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes, see http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/ Additionally, your fatigue and/or exhaustion could be due to something other than sleep apnea. I’ll  cover that later in this article.

You have had a sleep study but are still fatigued and/or exhausted.

If you don’t use CPAP:

How long ago was your study? Have you gained a significant amount of weight since then? Any other health issues developed since then? Specifically heart or lung disease? You just might need CPAP now. If it’s been awhile since your last sleep study, and you now have any heart disease, talking to your Doctor about sleep study is even more important,

If you do use CPAP:

Are you having a harder time using the mask? Is your mask uncomfortable? Does the pressure seem too high? Too low? How old is your mask? Sometimes it’s just a matter of a mask adjustment, or changing to a different mask. Sometimes, you just need a change in pressure.

Do any of the following symptoms sound familiar to you?

Do you wake up and find that you’ve taken your mask off during the night? Or do you take your mask off because you can’t stand wearing it anymore? If so, are you using a nasal mask, but have a dry mouth in the morning? Could be that you’re breathing with your mouth, and need either a chin strap or a full face mask.

Has it been awhile since your last study? If symptoms have returned, it might be time for another sleep study. I would suggest you talk with your Doctor about any of these issues, being as thorough as you can.

But if you’re more than just tired, something other than sleep apnea could be the culprit. Next, we’ll take a look at a gland that is very critical to your health but often overlooked.

Stress, Fatigue and the Adrenal Glands

An Adrenal Gland sits right on top of each Kidney and helps you deal with stress. So, when you’re under pressure, these glands release hormones that send you into fight-or-flight mode. These chemicals are called Cortisol and Adrenalin. The 3 stages of your fight or flight response are 1-Alarm 2-Resistance and 3-Exhaustion (there’s that word again)

Symptoms of Adrenal fatigue include, among others:

  • Tiredness.
  • Trouble falling asleep.
  • Sugar and salt craving.
  • The need for caffeine or other stimulants to get you through the day.

The adrenal glands help regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Therefore, if your adrenal glands are overworked because of stress, your sleep will suffer.

Click on the following link for some excellent information by Dr. Jill Carnahan.

Quiz: Could you have Adrenal Fatigue?

Treatment Options

CONVENTIONAL

Modafinil (Provigil)-It promotes wakefulness, but is not a stimulant; so it won’t ‘speed you up’ or make you jittery. In fact, it not only makes you more alert, it actually improves cognitive function, so that you can think more clearly. Available by prescription.

While conventional medicine is good, it mainly deals with effect, not cause. However, there are some good alternative treatments available.

ALTERNATIVE

There are some pretty good Herbal supplements available. However, what works for one person doesn’t work for someone else. Therefore, you might just want to experiment with some of them to see what will work for you. Also, knowing why you’re exhausted will help determine the right treatment for you.

There are a number of herbs that can effectively treat Adrenal stress. see https://holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-a-g/chronic-disease/1241-herbal-options-for-managing-adrenal-fatigue.html

If you’re having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, Melatonin and Valerian Root have proven to be quite effective in many cases. Additionally, such things as Acupuncture and even meditation and prayer have gotten good results as well.

Conclusion

Many things can cause you to become fatigued or exhausted. And certainly, sleep apnea can be one of those things. However, because you are such a complex being, the answer isn’t always straight forward, or easy to see.

Therefore, knowing some basic definitions, and being able to more accurately describe your symptoms will assure better treatment. And using both conventional and alternative treatments together will give you the best of both worlds.

So how do you deal with stress? If you have a way that works for you, I’d really appreciate any feedback you have; so please leave a comment.

It’s not Natural to be Tired all the Time

Why am I so tired all the time? This is just one of the many questions people ask. I’ll answer that question in this article.

Why Am I Always so Tired?Tired all the time

Actually, the answer is neither simple nor straightforward. And a lot of times it takes more than just a ‘cat nap’.

First of all, how much sleep do we really need? Studies indicate anywhere from  6-9 hours. However, some people need more, and some people need less. What about you?  Are you still tired after getting ‘enough’ sleep? Or do you lay awake forever, trying to get at least a few fleeting moments of shut eye?

In either case, you may be getting enough hours of sleep. But we also need good quality sleep. And a lack of good quality sleep can be downright deadly. Don’t believe me? Read on.

In a moment we’ll have a look at some reasons you might be tired. But first, let’s define the words tired, fatigued, and exhausted. Because there are significant differences between them. And being able to identify these will get you the proper treatment.

Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

Tired-You still have some energy. However, you can experience muscle weakness. You might also have some memory problems, but a good rest will clear things up.

Fatigue– lack of energy will be accompanied by difficulty concentrating; as well as difficulty sleeping. A rest might not help much, if at all.

Exhaustion-By now, you have more than just difficulty concentrating. You’re becoming confused, incoherent, and emotionally ‘numb’. Don’t even waste your time trying to nap at this point.

As you can see, knowing which one you’re dealing with is very important. Again, using the right term to describe your symptoms to your Doctor will help assure the best treatment.

Now, back to reasons you might be tired. Let’s start with sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea

The word Apnea comes from two Greek root words; A, meaning no, and pnea, meaning breath. When you’re awake, your breathing is brisk, and your muscles are tense. However, as you fall asleep, your breathing slows down and your muscles relax. At this point, your airway can become floppy and collapse either partially, or totally.  See diagram.

Tired all the time
If your airway collapses enough, you’ll actually stop breathing. When this happens, it doesn’t take long for your brain to scream for oxygen. It does this by waking you up so that your muscles tense up, and your breathing rate increases. All the while, your heart and blood pressure are going crazy!

That’s how people with sleep apnea spend their nights! If you have a bed partner, they could experience all sorts of commotion. For instance, they’ll hear snoring at various volumes; then periods of silence, followed by loud gasps or snorts. All while watching you thrash around struggling for air.

But what if you sleep alone? What if you have no one to tell you what you do while you snooze? In that case, some things to look for include, waking up gasping for air, and/or morning headaches. Sleep apnea can also cause a bunch of health problems, including heart disease and Diabetes. See http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/

Does any of that sound familiar to you? Could be time to talk with your Doctor about a sleep study. But what if you’ve had a sleep study and you don’t have sleep apnea? Or you have sleep apnea, but CPAP isn’t helping.

What then?

Other Reasons

Let’s take a look at some of the other causes, because there are a number of diseases that can cause tiredness and/or fatigue. The following is just a partial list.

Anemia-http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/home/ovc-20183131

Cancer-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer-related_fatigue

Depression-http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/fatigue#Overview1

Diabetes-http://early-diabetes-symptoms.com/early-symptoms-diabetes/diabetes-tiredness-symptoms/

Heart Disease-http://www.heartfailurematters.org/en_GB/Warning-signs/Increasing-fatigue

Restless Legs Syndrome-http://sleepguyblog.com/can-effectively-treat-restless-legs/

Underactive Thyroid-http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/05/06/what-is-thyroid-related-fatigue.aspx

Also, some of the medications you take for these diseases can cause tiredness as well. However, what if you’ve had a thorough check up, and Doctors can’t find anything?

Is it all in my Head?

Actually, yes, it is. Emotional stress can be exhausting. No, this doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it’s just that People handle situations differently. Thus, what’s stressful to me, may not be to you, and the other way around.

Also, keep in mind there’s good stress and bad stress.

As I mentioned in my article  http://sleepguyblog.com/__poor-quality-sleep-cause-disease/  I talked about balance. So a certain amount of stress is actually beneficial to you. It’s what drives you to succeed or do other things. And if you’ve read that article, you’d understand how stress can do more harm than good if it gets out of control.

Treatment Options

Here’s a rather brief look at some natural treatment options. We’ll cover tiredness here. Fatigue and exhaustion may need more intense therapy and therefore require a combination of both natural and conventional medicine.

Alternative Treatments Include:

Acupuncture-This stuff actually works, folks!

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction– This is basically a combination of meditation and yoga exercises. Studies show this may improve your quality of life.

Ginseng-Increases energy

Rest- That’s right, a good old nap can do wonders; that is unless you’re more than just tired.

Vitamin B12-This is a good source of energy.

Iron supplements-Think iron poor blood here.

Additionally, some of these treatments can also help with fatigue and exhaustion.

Conclusion

So, finding out why you’re tired all the time might not be that easy. Also, knowing the difference between tired, fatigued, and exhausted can help you get the right treatment.

I hope that something in this article sparked your interest to learn more. Maybe you have more questions or a story of your own you’d like to share. Either way, please leave a comment. You might just share something that will greatly help someone else.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

But sleep apnea itself can cause tiredness just because you’re not sleeping well at night
So, what if you’re getting what should be enough sleep, and you’re still tired?

They found you didn’t have sleep apnea and you’re still tired? Or you had a sleep study and are now on CPAP, but still tired?

 

Or are you still tired even using CPAP?
Are you getting ‘enough’ sleep, but are still tired?
Obviously being tired all the time is not our natural state. So if you’re constantly tired, something’s not right, and that something could be deadly.

 

Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

There’s a significant difference between these, and it’s important to know what they are:

Tired-You still have some energy. However, you can experience muscle weakness. You might also have some memory problems, but a good rest will clear things up.

Fatigue– lack of energy will be accompanied by difficulty concentrating; as well as difficulty sleeping.

Exhaustion-At this point, you have more than just difficulty concentrating. You’re now becoming confused, incoherent, and emotionally ‘numb’

Knowing which one you’re dealing with is very important. And using the right term to describe your symptoms to your Doctor will help assure the best treatment.

Ginseng is cinically proven to increase energy.

 

Ginseng is cinically proven to increase energy.