Trouble Sleeping? Help to Diagnose Insomnia

According to the National Sleep Foundation, if you have trouble falling and staying asleep at night, or you wake up feeling unrefreshed in the morning, you may be suffering from insomnia.

Almost everyone has trouble sleeping every so often, but for many Americans, having a hard time getting to sleep or waking in the middle of the night is a significant problem.

To help, board certified sleep specialist Dr. Russell Rosenberg, Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation, offers answers to some questions about insomnia:

What is insomnia?

Blackout Shades Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night? The importance of a good night’s sleep is well known. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep has been associated with a better mood, better health and better job performance. It’s important to address factors that might interfere with a good night’s sleep. Light is one of these factors. The body responds to light as a cue to stay awake, so sleeping in a dark, quiet room can help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed.

Blackout Shades Proven to Help You Sleep Soundly

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night? The importance of a good night’s sleep is well known. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep has been associated with a better mood, better health and better job performance. It’s important to address factors that might interfere with a good night’s sleep. Light is one of these factors. The body responds to light as a cue to stay awake, so sleeping in a dark, quiet room can help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed.
A full night’s sleep is especially important for children. Studies suggest that most children need about nine hours of sleep each night and that children who get enough sleep behave better and perform better in school than those who are chronically sleep-deprived. Additional research has shown that children who have sleep problems are at greater risk for depression and anxiety later in life, and they are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as teens and adults.
The Cellular SlumberShade, the official window shade product of the National Sleep Foundation, can help improve sleep by keeping excess light out of a room. The SlumberShade features unique sidetracks that attach magnetically to a window frame for easy installation. When it’s time to clean the windows, the sidetracks are easy to remove. These sidetracks block the gaps of light that standard cellular shades let in. They are UV stable, available in several colors to match your window trim. In addition, all SlumberShades have a specialized seal along the top for complete blockage of exterior light.
The shades are made of Comfortex’s blackout cellular fabric, which not only blocks incoming light, but also provides insulation around your windows to help reduce heating and cooling costs. When SlumberShades are installed over a double-paned vinyl window, they provide an R-value of 7.0, which is two to three times greater than that of a similar shade without sidetracks.
SlumberShades need not be limited to the bedroom. Install them in a media room to eliminate screen glare.
For more information about SlumberShades, visit www.comfortex.com.

A Mushroom That Heals? An All-Natural Alternative That Stimulates the Immune System

For years, researchers and practitioners have known that mushrooms are a powerful medicinal source. In the 1970s Japanese researchers were able to isolate a powerful extract in one mushroom in the form of a polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and found that it had strong, anti-tumor and anti-cancer capabilities. The Japanese government started providing it to patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Researchers linked the PSK extract directly to the stimulation and modulation of the immune system, showing surprising results in dealing with serious illnesses. In the 1980s Chinese researchers developed a more potent strain of a polysaccharide peptide (PSP). These developments sparked a series of over 400 medical studies around the world that has excited the medical community.

Women: Identify Your Migraine Triggers

<b>Women: Identify Your Migraine Triggers</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Migraines — those chronic, severe headaches that cause intense, crippling pain that is often accompanied by nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound — have triggers, or a variety of factors and events that make them more likely to occur.

Not every migraine sufferer has the same triggers, and the same migraine sufferer might not react to her triggers the same way every time. Sometimes, it’s not a single trigger, but a series of triggers that cause the migraine. For example, a woman might not get a migraine from skipping a meal, but might get a migraine from skipping a meal on a day in which she’s had inadequate sleep or too much caffeine.

Women are three times as likely to have migraines as men, and their triggers may be slightly different. According to the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, many women with migraines experience the following triggers:

* Too much or too little sleep

* Skipped meals

* Hormone changes during the menstrual cycle

* Stress

* Weather changes

* Alcohol (often red wine)

* Caffeine

* Foods that contain nitrates, MSG, tyramine or aspartame

* Bright lights

* Strong odors

The good news? Identifying migraine triggers can help women avoid migraines. Women experiencing migraines should start keeping a migraine diary. Every time they have a headache, they can write down where they were and what they doing, what they ate 24 hours before the attack, and what day of their period they were on when the headache started. This can help them identify patterns. For example, if a woman gets migraines whenever she has a hot dog with Diet Coke, she might be sensitive to nitrates, aspartame and caffeine.

Of course, women can’t always avoid migraine triggers like weather changes or too little sleep, so it’s a good idea to keep a migraine treatment on hand. One all-natural migraine remedy, Lipigesic M, uses feverfew and ginger to reduce the inflammation that causes migraine headaches.

For more information, visit www.lipigesic.com.

Snoring Warrants More Than Earplugs

<b>Snoring Warrants More Than Earplugs</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many couples accept snoring as an inevitable part of nightly life. But snoring warrants more than shrugging your shoulders and buying ear plugs — snoring may indicate serious health problems.

Snoring happens when the soft tissues in the back of your throat relax, so they vibrate as you breathe. If those tissues get too relaxed, they can actually block your airway, cutting off your breathing.

This condition, called “obstructive sleep apnea,” prevents quality sleep. The brain, not wanting to starve from lack of oxygen, wakes patients when they stop breathing, sometimes hundreds of times per night. According to the American Board of Internal Medicine, 50 to 60 percent of those who snore have sleep apnea.

Most patients are unaware of the problem, because they don’t remember waking up throughout the night. For this reason, it’s important to speak to a doctor if you experience loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, sore throat or high blood pressure.

Risk factors for sleep apnea include being male, being overweight, drinking alcohol and having a large neck or a history of nasal problems. The American Sleep Apnea Association provides a quiz that can help you determine your “Snore Score,” or the likelihood that you have sleep apnea. You can take the quiz at www.sleepapnea.org.

Obstructive sleep apnea isn’t just annoying. When you stop breathing, your heart beats faster, raising your blood pressure and increasing your chances of heart attack and stroke. Insufficient sleep can affect your job performance and ability to perform basic functions, like driving a car.

There are treatments for sleep apnea, ranging from simple lifestyle changes to breathing machines to surgery. Speaking to your doctor about snoring will not only improve your quality of life — it may help your partner get a good night’s rest, too.

For more information, visit www.sleepapnea.org.

10 Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene

<b>10 Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Between office meeting and errands, sports practice and studies, many people sacrifice sleep for a few more hours of productivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, fewer than half of Americans report getting adequate sleep every night.

But sleep deprivation results in more than just yawns. Inadequate sleep has been linked to depression, weight gain, hypertension, poor concentration and memory retention, and accidents.

Take driving, an activity that most Americans perform daily. In a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, 54 percent of respondents said that they have driven while drowsy. Twenty-eight percent confessed to falling asleep at the wheel. People know that alcohol impairs driving, but too few consider sleep deprivation’s effect on their motor skills. Drowsy driving causes thousands of accidents each year.

Setting aside seven to eight hours for sleeping isn’t a luxury -; it’s a necessity. The American Sleep Apnea Association offers 10 tips for better sleep hygiene:

1. Set a sleep schedule, and stick to it.

2. Don’t nap for more than 45 minutes a day.

3. Avoid excessive alcohol intake within four hours of bedtime. Do not smoke.

4. Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime.

5. Avoid spicy food six hours before bedtime.

6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.

7. Use comfortable bedding.

8. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature.

9. Block out noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.

10. Do not use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room.

If you feel tired even after sleeping eight hours, an undiagnosed sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, may be to blame. In sleep apnea, the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway. Sufferers wake up for a few seconds every time they stop breathing, sometimes hundreds of times a night. Visit www.sleepapnea.org to find out your “Snore Score,” or the likelihood that you have sleep apnea. The disorder can be treated, so it’s important to speak to a doctor if you experience excessive daytime fatigue.

Waking Up Tired? You May Have Sleep Apnea

<b>Waking Up Tired? You May Have Sleep Apnea</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans lead busy lives, often catching only a few hours of sleep a night. Seeing people yawn and cat-nap during the day hardly seems unusual. But if you feel excessively tired during the day, even after setting aside enough hours for sufficient sleep, you may be suffering from a common but serious condition — obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that occurs during sleep. Patients with sleep apnea stop breathing at night, sometimes hundreds of times, and for up to a minute at a time.

Obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused when soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, is the most common form of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is as common as diabetes — according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sleep apnea affects over 12 million Americans.

Risk factors include being overweight, male and over 40, but anyone can develop sleep apnea at any time. Because most people aren’t aware of sleep apnea or its symptoms, many cases go undiagnosed and untreated, to sometimes serious consequences.

Untreated sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, impotency, weight gain and headaches, not to mention poor work performance and automobile accidents caused by sleep deprivation. If you’re unsure whether you may have sleep apnea, get your Snore Score at the American Sleep Apnea’s Association’s Web site, www.sleepapnea.org.

If a doctor suspects sleep apnea, he or she will assign the patient a sleep study. Patients undergo full sleep studies at sleep study centers or sleep laboratories. There, a polysomnogram measures patients’ brain activity, eye movement, muscle activity, breathing, heart rate and oxygen levels to determine whether sleep apnea exists.

Several treatments can help sleep apnea patients. The most common treatment for Sleep Apnea is CPAP (or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy, which continuously blows air through the airway during sleep, creating a splint that keeps the throat open. Patients can also address their symptoms by losing weight, trying different sleeping positions or using oral appliances.

Stop Counting Sheep, Get Some Sleep!

<b>Stop Counting Sheep, Get Some Sleep!</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans lead busy lives — and the overscheduled often cut back on sleep. But sleeping five or six hours a night can carry severe health consequences. Studies suggest the adults need at least seven or eight hours of shut-eye — getting less can interfere with job performance, not to mention contribute to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

But what if you’re trying to sleep, but can’t fall asleep, or wake up still feeling tired? Stimulants like caffeine or nicotine, large meals or exercise right before bed, and disruptive sleep environments can all contribute to poor sleep. For as many as 12 million Americans, as estimated by the National Institutes of Health, the problem may be a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.

In obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses into the airway during sleep, cutting off oxygen to the blood. When patients with sleep apnea stop breathing, the brain rouses them, sometimes hundreds of times a night. The result? Fragmented, poor-quality sleep.

Sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, and most cases go undiagnosed. If you often feel tired, get your Snore Score at the American Sleep Apnea Association’s Web site (www.sleepapnea.org). If you answer “yes” to any of its six questions, you should ask your doctor about sleep apnea. Treatments are available and can greatly improve your quality of life.

If you’ve ruled out an underlying sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, but still find yourself counting sheep, try the following tips:

– Avoid stimulants. The caffeine in that cup of coffee will remain in your body for six to eight hours, so stop drinking coffee after lunch. If you really need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, try taking a brisk walk outside. Thirty to sixty minutes of sunlight exposure per day can help you sleep more soundly.

– Don’t take naps after three p.m. Late-afternoon naps will make it more difficult to sleep later.

– Take a hot bath before bed. The water will lower your body temperature, mimicking what happens during sleep. Keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature may also help.

– Lessen distractions before bed. Give yourself time to wind down with a book or relaxing music. Keep televisions and computers out of the bedroom — they provide too much stimulation. If you find that you can’t fall asleep, don’t lie awake in bed. Find a quiet activity to do for 20 minutes, then try again.

Oral Appliances Can Be Effective for Sleep Apnea

<b>Oral Appliances Can Be Effective for Sleep Apnea</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For those who snore and are at risk for sleep apnea, the dentist may be able to help.

That’s because oral appliances are recommended for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea. The Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recently endorsed new guidelines for this treatment option, as published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

An oral appliance can look like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. Worn during sleep, it keeps the airway open and unobstructed by repositioning or stabilizing the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate or uvula.

According to the guidelines, the severity of the problem should first be assessed by a sleep clinician who can then decide if a dental referral is needed.

The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea remains unclear. People with the condition may stop breathing hundreds of times during sleep, often for up to a minute at a time. Estimates are that 18 million people in the U.S. are affected.

The new guidelines affirm that continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP, should be considered as the first treatment option for sleep apnea, but for the first time state that oral appliances may be offered initially to people who prefer it to CPAP or who are intolerant to CPAP therapy. Research also suggests that oral appliances may be more effective than soft palate surgery.

“For many people with obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance is the best and most convenient treatment available,” said Dr. Kent E. Moore, president of the ADSM.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved 40 different types of oral appliances, currently available on the market. Patients are advised to schedule follow-up appointments with their dentist for evaluation and monitoring.

The field of dental sleep medicine is experiencing rapid growth. Statistics show a growing need to address sleep apnea problems and the best methods of treatment. Half of sleep apnea patients may have high blood pressure, and risk for heart attack and stroke may also increase.

While occasional snoring is almost universal, nearly 60 percent of Americans suffer from daytime sleepiness as a side effect of sleep apnea, according to the ADSM. And each year, sleep disorders add nearly $18 billion to the national health care bill.

To find a dentist who is trained in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, visit www.dentalsleepmed.org.