Category: Blog

Depression And Sleep In Young Women: A Dangerous Mix

depression-and-sleepWomen almost always have a lot going on. Whether it's dealing with various life issues like motherhood, working hard for half the pay your male coworker gets or cringing over taxes on feminine hygiene products (taxes haven't been removed on this everywhere yet!), it turns out the amount of sleep you get can impact your chances of developing or worsening depression. This is especially true for young women who are trying to balance life being a college or university student.

Like we said: as if you don't have enough going on.

Fret not! Just because you find out that there are links between certain sleep issues and depression doesn't mean all hope is lost:

One night of short sleep may lead to less depression the following day, but chronic short sleep is tied to greater depression overall for young women, according to a new study.

'The overall message that poor quality and insufficient sleep lead to poor mood, which, in turn, worsens sleep was not surprising,' said lead author David A. Kalmbach of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.

More noteworthy, he added, was that these relationships were evident in healthy, young women, not just insomniacs or depressed people.

The researchers studied 171 female college students for two weeks, beginning with an in-person questionnaire assessment of anxiety and depression levels and continuing with daily self-reported measures of mood and anxiety. The women also reported their total sleep time, time to fall asleep, and ratings of sleep quality each night.

On average, the women slept for seven hours and 22 minutes each night, taking 21 minutes to fall asleep. Overall, they rated their sleep quality 'fairly good.'

At the start of the study, a third of the women scored in the 'at risk' range for depression and 17 percent had clinically significant anxiety.

Women who averaged less sleep per night over the two-week period tended to report greater 'anhedonic' depression symptoms, or the inability to enjoy pleasurable things. But they also tended to report more of these symptoms the day after a night of particularly long sleep, as reported in Sleep Medicine.

One night of sleep deprivation may improve mood the following day. But unfortunately, 'therapeutic effects of a night of sleep deprivation are typically short-lasting, and because chronic sleep deprivation increases depression-risk, the therapeutic benefit of sleep deprivation on depression is modest at best,' Kalmbach said.


The important thing that you should do once you've identified a problem is figure out a way to fix it. It's possible you didn't know about this until someone told you, right? Now that you have the information it's your responsibility to do something about it.

If you think you may have a serious sleep disorder or suffer from depression you need to speak with your health care provider. The sooner you address the issue the faster you can manage it. Don't try to self-diagnose because, let's face it, Google is not a medical professional.

These people get paid the big bucks for a reason. Book an appointment and you'll begin your journey to sweet dreams.

Natural Remedies For Snoring: They’re Out There

natural-snoring-remediesSnoring can be a huge burden, and not just to those who snore. While the snorer is most likely getting a poor night's sleep their relationships with their partners and other members of their household tend to be strained and potentially at the point of breaking. There are many couples who have been together for years yet sleep in separate rooms because of one partner's snoring.

Snoring occurs when the airways are blocked. This can be due to congestion from sickness or allergies, relaxation of the tongue in the mouth or even just relaxation of the muscles in the throat. There are plenty of products on the market that can help you with your snoring such as nasal strips and mouthpieces. But if you're looking for something natural, these may not be for you. There are some natural options out there, but there are also things to consider first:

If your snoring drives your partner nuts'” or if you're victim of your loved one's snoozing'” this is for you.

Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the mouth is obstructed. There are a few things that can trigger snoring like colds, allergies, drinking alcohol, smoking and certain medications.

We recently got this tweet from a viewer:

My wife has a bad snoring problem and refuses to use any anti-snoring nasal gadgets. Are there any natural remedies that might help?

Chronic snorers can be at risk for serious health problems like sleep apnea, so you should always see your doctor to rule this condition out first. Dr. Mark Hendricks, the medical director of sleep services at HCA's Fairview Park Hospitalin Georgia said there are several ways to test for sleep apnea. Patients can stay overnight at a special sleep observatory where doctors can measure the number of times they stop breathing or have shallow breathing per hour, also known as apnea-hypopnea index (AHI).

'We can also do home sleep tests as well. Typically it is a small portable device where the patient has a sensor under the nose and on the finger to monitor air flow,' Hendricks told

Although the market is flooded with anti-snoring gadgets that claim they can reduce snoring, there are also effective natural remedies the can help.

  1. Proper sleep positioning
    Instead of sleeping on your back, lying on your side may help to keep the base of your tongue from collapsing into the back of your throat, which can obstruct breathing.


You'll find that there are five things to consider that are all natural and can help reduce or eliminate snoring. Naturally, we recommend one of our favorite mouthpieces, the Good Morning Snore Solution (read a review: None of these natural remedies involves anything outside your normal capabilities and you also don't have to enlist the services of a specialist. This makes them easy on the pocketbook and you'll have a better chance of actually trying these methods out.

Aren't you glad there are natural options out there aside from never sleeping again? Rest well, friend, and take solace in the fact that potentially; this too shall pass.




Aging And Sleep Issues: How to Fix Them

seniors-sleepingSome people will tell you that getting older is the worst thing that can happen to a person. Your body hurts, you can't sleep, and you begin to forget what you had for breakfast. Maybe your knee hurts every time it's going to rain or you find that you keep putting the peanut butter in the fridge instead of the cupboard.

As if getting older wasn't bad enough once you hit 50 you'll find that sometimes things will just get worse before they can get better. Put a hold on the pity party though; there are  things you can do to make climbing the hill of age a bit easier on yourself:

For the first time, older adults got their very own personalized sleep recommendations. The National Sleep Foundation concluded, after reviewing the scientific research on sleep duration, that adults 65 and up should aim for 7 to 8 hours a night, compared to adults 26 to 64, who should sleep between 7 and 9. The distinction might not seem like a huge deal at first, but it's a nod to what many older adults inherently know to be true: Sleep really does change with age.

'Our sleep changes throughout the lifespan,' says Natalie D. Dautovich, PhD, the NSF's environmental scholar and an assistant psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Many 50+ sleepers find it's easier to become awakened during the night, which is reflected in a little shorter sleep duration over all, Dautovich says.

It's not exactly a welcome change: The NSF found 71 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds report some sleep problem, including difficulty falling asleep, waking up still tired, or snoring.

Here are a few of the unique sleep situations facing you as you age.

'”Your bedtime and your wake-up time shift earlier.

Remember how all you wanted to do when you were 19 was stay up late and doze until noon? You weren't just exercising your laziest teenager muscles; our natural internal clocks, technically called our circadian rhythms, are delayed until our 20s, meaning we truly don't get tired until later at night and don't feel alert until later in the morning, Dautovich explains. After we grow out of this phase, though, our circadian rhythms keep advancing, and later in life we tend to become sleepy earlier and feel our most alert earlier in the morning, too.


If you read closely you'll see that there are six issues outlined in that article. Six can seem like a big number and a small number all at once. Instead of just throwing these issues at you and running away laughing, you'll find that some tips have been incorporated so that you can address these potential sleep disturbers.

Sleep is always going to be precious and depending on what your daily life is like you might find yourself getting less and less of it. If that's the case, it's even more important to make sure that the sleep you are getting is truly restful. You still need to function during the day and being a productive member of society.

Sorry, you don't get to laze about until you hit 80.

How This Single Device Could Change the Sleep Game

hypnos-sleepWe're busy people and we like to have things a certain way. We want to be able to eat when we need to, work when we have to and sleep when we'd like to. We also want all of these things to be easy to do.

If you suffer from a sleeping disorder such as snoring or sleep apnea, falling asleep can be a real challenge. Snoring is caused when the airways are blocked by either over-relaxed muscles or general congestion. This causes the sound television has taught us so much about. Sleep apnea is more severe in that not only are the airways blocked, but breathing is interrupted several times during the night. You read that right. You just stop breathing. If you suffer from either one of these conditions just the '˜simple' act of falling asleep could be difficult for you.

There are plenty of devices and products on the market to help you cope with the disorder, but what about actually falling asleep? It can be difficult when you're worried about how your disorder will impact your sleep that night or when you're trying to get used to a new device.

In comes this proposed, pretty cool, device:

The fifth annual International Space Apps Challenge which brings together teams from all over the world to try and solve specific NASA challenges is coming to a close. One of the top twenty-five teams has proposed an idea if implemented could relieve us from sleep deprivation problems. Their idea is a device that can help you sleep better called hypnos.”

“My roommate Thomas and I are currently researchers at the Harvard-MIT HST Division & Brigham and Women’s Hospital and both our projects involve a lot of overnight experiments which did cause sleep issues to some extent. I think this initial motivation for hypnos stemmed from this idea that sleep deprivation was affecting our cognitive function on a daily basis.” said Sachin Bhagchandani, one of the team members.

“With Aaron and Gabriel’s help at the NASA Space Apps Challenge happening at the Harvard GSD, we discussed about how although humans have leveraged light and sound in intuitive ways to better our existence by stimulating powerful psychological and corresponding physiological responses through communication or art, we have not given appropriate weight to the merit of using these media as clinical modalities to stimulate tunable physiological responses.” added Sachin.


If that doesn't sound pretty cool you need to read more science fiction. The fact that we are looking into options to essentially plug ourselves into a good night's sleep is pretty amazing.

If you read the article all the way you'll notice that you can vote for the project. If this sounds like something you would like to see become a reality, there's no time like the present to make your voice heard!

Sleep is previous and definitely needed. You don't want to be a zombie for the rest of your life. Wouldn't you like to be able to peacefully fall asleep like they do in the movies?

Yeah, we thought so.

Snoring And Heart Disease: Ugly Bedfellows

snoring-heart-diseaseSleep is supposed to be a wondrous thing. It's a necessity to living life: you have a great night's sleep and then wake refreshed and ready to take on the next day. The unfortunate reality for a lot of people is that sleep is not that magical elixir that renews their energy levels. Sleep disorders can make it almost impossible to get any semblance of rest.

Those who snore run the risk of waking their partners or even themselves. Those who grind their teeth or clench their jaw will wake up with splitting headaches. There are also those effected by sleep apnea, a disorder that causes interrupted breathing during sleep, that actually stop breathing several times a night.

Without true rest you can't function to the best of your abilities the following day. Lack of sleep leads to lethargy, reduced energy and terrible moods. While some sleep disorders can be affected by your everyday such as stress and overall health, sleep disorders can also worsen existing health concerns:

Scientists say they now have more evidence that sleep apnea might worsen heart disease.

Sleep apnea leads to interrupted breathing during sleep. In their study, the researchers found that patients with the condition who had a form of the heart procedure called angioplasty were much more likely to suffer heart attacks or strokes after their procedure.

The big difference held up even when the researchers adjusted their findings so they wouldn’t be thrown off by factors like obesity and high blood pressure, which are common in these patients.

While the study did not prove sleep apnea caused heart disease to worsen, the authors think the first one probably exacerbates the second one.

“For cardiologists inserting stents for coronary artery disease, it is important to screen the patients for obstructive sleep apnea,” said study author Dr. Lee Chi-Hang.

“And patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea should know about the strong relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease,” added Chi-Hang, a senior consultant in the department of cardiology at the National University of Singapore Heart Center.

For the study, the researchers tracked just over 1,300 patients from Brazil, China, India, Myanmar and Singapore who had undergone angioplasty with stents. In these procedures, surgeons thread catheters through vessels and clear blockages by implanting stents designed to keep arteries open.


It's no surprise that sleep apnea and heart disease may be connected. While scientists are still researching this issue the fact remains that obstructive sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing during sleep. Of course your heart is going to be affected by this.

While research is ongoing it's still beneficial to get yourself checked out by your medical or health care professional. It's important to keep yourself healthy and functional. If your sleep, or lack thereof, is impacting the quality of your life you should do yourself a favour and talk with someone.

Hopefully once scientists are able to better understand how these disorders affect each other they will also be able to create an action plan to combat them.



Atrial Fibrillation And Sleep Apnea: Linked?

human-heartWhen was the last time you got a good night's sleep? For some people the answer is simply '˜never'. There are several sleep disorders that make getting a restful sleep almost impossible. Snoring disturbs your partner and in some cases can be loud enough to wake yourself up. Insomnia, meanwhile, makes it impossible to just close your eyes and turn your brain off. Sleep apnea attempts to stop your breathing several times a night; in extreme cases, sometimes up to 100 times an hour.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airways are blocked in such a fashion that you literally stop breathing. In many cases this happens only a few times in the night and the lack of oxygen in the blood is enough to wake the sleep up and recirculate blood flow. In some instances the sleeper will wake up, but not enough to be aware of what is happening.

But what if you are suffering from more than sleep apnea?

Around 50 percent of those who have atrial fibrillation (AFib) also have sleep apnea. AFib is a condition where the heart beat is very abnormal; sleep apnea is a condition where breathing becomes very shallow or completely stopped during sleep. In the US, about 2.5 million people have AFib while about 18 million have sleep apnea. About 90 percent of those with sleep apnea are currently undiagnosed.

Abnormal electrical signals cause AFib '” chambers in the heart do not contract properly to pump blood out of the heart. Instead, they just quiver and allow blood to remain in the heart. This can cause a blood clot to form, break loose, and cause a stroke. The risk of stroke is five times greater in patients with AFib than in patients who do not have AFib.

Sleep apnea patients have an airflow that is either completely or partially blocked during sleep, causing the patient to wake up when the brain detects that there is too little oxygen in the blood. The brain does this by monitoring the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. When the patient wakes up, it may not be a complete awakening '” it may be only partial but may be enough to reopen the airway. This can and does occur several hundred times each night in many sleep apnea patients, but they are usually not aware that they are being awakened. They usually snore, but only know about this if others inform them. This is dangerous because many people do not have a bed partner to tell them they snore, or the bed partner has just gotten used to the noise and isn't aware. Sleep apnea patients often awake gasping for air or choking. Untreated sleep apnea can result in the increased risk of many dangerous medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and AFib.


Even when you discount other issues that can block sleep like stress, discomfort and personal circumstance, the reality is that most people are not getting the sleep they should. For some people, the fear of losing their life while sleeping is not a joke or movie plot; it is real.

It is important to be aware of your own personal sleep concerns and address them sooner, rather than later, with the help of a medical professional. Some issues like minor snoring can be battled with mouthpieces. More difficult issues like obstructed sleep apnea need to be dealt with by medical professionals.

Your doctor or health care provider is there to listen to your concerns and help you address them. You'll sleep a lot easier if you just talk to them.


Menopause And Sleep Apnea: A Toxic Mix

menopause-sleep-apneaSleep is a wonderful commodity that we never seem to have enough of. While this is true across all genders, women seem to get the short end of the stick on more than one occasion. If you're a mother, your sleep is interrupted by the constant cries of a small human you need to take care of. This doesn't seem to change as they get older, either. If you're not a mother, your sleep can still be disturbed by your partner, your own brain and your own snoring.

Then comes menopause.

Your hormones are already out of whack during this transition period in your life which can make certain conditions worse. Take sleep apnea for example. This sleep disorder is potentially life-threatening as it is caused by obstruction to the airway during sleep. This means you will stop breathing for a short period of time during the night. People who develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) will experience a stoppage in their breathing upwards to 100+ times a night. This is going to cause poor quality sleep which can lead to lethargy during the day. Menopause makes the chances of developing this condition higher:

The condition is most common in women and worsens in the post-menopause period as the phase marks the end of the reproductive period of a woman and brings about a lot of hormonal, physical and psychological changes in them.

“The levels of estrogen and progesterone (hormones which protect the airways from collapsing) released in the body declines during menopause, as a result of which, women become more prone to contracting obstructive sleep apnea in this phase,” said Vivek Nangia, director and HOD (Pulmonology) at Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj.

According to a recent study, 0.6 per cent of women in their pre-menopausal stage suffered from OSA, while the incidence of the same in post-menopausal women (who did not undergo the hormone replacement surgery) was as high as 5.5 percent.

Further, OSA puts post-menopausal women at high risk of developing high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

Such women usually remain awake at night and become lethargic as well as tend to fall sleepy during the day.

In addition, the prolonged periods of uncomfortable, disturbed sleep causes tiredness, irritability and mood swings, which may also hamper their various relationships.

“As many as 61 per cent post-menopausal women reported symptoms of insomnia,” Nangia added.

Menopause also reduces the focus and attention span at work and may yield them unproductive.


The stereotypical symptom of menopause is hot flashes, which is of course only part of it. Add in loud snoring and choking during sleep and the urge to visit the washroom frequently during the night and you're not going to get a good rest.

If you or someone you know has reached menopause you need to be informed. Your friend or family member needs to be aware of the serious effects of sleep apnea and how it can worsen post-menopause. Because these symptoms occur during sleep they can often go undiagnosed and untreated. A mouthpiece may be able to help. Here’s a good review of ZQuiet, a popular choice:

If you're noticing changes in personality and mood they could be caused by poor sleep. Open those lines of communication and get your important people the help they may need.


Didgeridoo: A Great Throat Exercise For Sleep Apnea?

didgeridoo-to-exerciseIn order to have a productive day at the office or in general, you need to get a proper sleep. This means sleeping for around 8 hours, consecutively, in a comfortable bed in a comfortable room. Achieving this balance of bliss can be near impossible for some people. There are several sleep disorders that can make getting those basic hours of sleep almost impossible. Whether you suffer from insomnia, snoring or sleep apnea you will undoubtedly face some hardships in achieving your desired sleep quota.

While there are various mouthpieces you can purchase to help curb your snoring and some medication you can take to ease your insomnia, it can be a bit difficult to combat sleep apnea without the use of a machine.

People with sleep apnea are at war with their windpipes. But they might be able to get some help from a different kind of wind pipe'”namely, the Australian Aboriginal instrument called the didgeridoo.

In sleep apnea, obstructed airways stop a person's breathing over and over at night. It's normal for the throat muscles to relax during sleep, but for sleep apnea sufferers this relaxation combines with other factors to make breathing impossible. Apnea leads to broken sleep, snoring, and exhaustion during the day. A device called a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine can treat sleep apnea, but it's pretty drastic, involving a mask hooked up to an air-blowing motor.

Alex Suarez, a didgeridoo instructor in Switzerland, noticed that his own sleep apnea symptoms lessened after several months of practicing the instrument. Some of his students experienced the same thing. So Milo Puhan, a doctor and professor at the University of Zurich, and his colleagues set out to test the didgeridoo effect.

The researchers recruited 25 non-obese adult subjects. All had moderate sleep apnea, with somewhere between 15 and 30 episodes per hour at night. (All of them also reported that they snored.)

In a series of lessons, the subjects learned proper lip technique and circular breathing (inhaling through the nose while continuously blowing on the instrument). They also had to practice at home for at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week.


While it may seem strange that practicing an instrument can help curb your sleep apnea, you need to remember what the basics of the instrument are. In this case, you are strengthening your throat muscles to play the didgeridoo. Your throat muscles are the main culprits when it comes to obstruction while you are asleep.

This is a great use of time, plus you get to learn a skill that you can show off at parties! On a serious note, addressing your sleep apnea will allow you to get that restful sleep you crave. Your body and mind both need rest and if the didgeridoo can help you get there, you should go for it.

Baby Won’t Sleep? A Patient Approach Can Work

baby-wont-sleepSleep: that magical five-letter word that seems to elude most of us, even on the best of nights. Sometimes you go to bed later than you expected. Maybe you stayed up a few hours later than you should have because you couldn't put down that book you were reading or you needed to finish the level you were playing. Or maybe you tried to go to sleep but were awoken by your own snoring. 🙂

If you snore, chances are you're using an anti-snoring device to help alleviate the disruption to your night. You've probably tried a lot of things like nasal strips and mouth pieces until you settled on the one that worked best for you. Good job!

So maybe things are going great in your world and you've finally got your sleep issues under control. But then, it happens.

You have a baby.

Say good-bye to eight consecutive hours of sleep or being able to go through the whole night without having your dreams interrupted. Having a baby is a total game-changer on many levels; sleep is usually the first thing that gets sacrificed when a baby enters the picture.

If it's the first time a child has become a member of your family, you're going to have a lot of adapting to do. Things can get complicated if your sweet little bundle of joy also has a sleeping issue:

Sleep problems are among the most common complaints that parents have about their young ones.

Needless to say, they can cause a lot of stress in the family. Kids end up tired and parents become exhausted from being up all night with the baby.

Typically, children with sleeping problems do not fall asleep easily and also wake up in the middle of the night. Whether a sleep pattern or habit is abnormal depends on the age of the child.

Sleep patterns in babies take time to develop into a normal sleep cycle (full night-time sleep and awake during the day).

Most newborns sleep an average of 16 hours a day. However, this can be one to two hours at a time, depending on the individual baby.

In fact, most babies do not develop normal sleep patterns until about four to six months of age. Most sleep problems develop when parents react too quickly to a child who is fussy at night, not realizing that baby, if left alone for a while, may indeed fall asleep by herself.


Just like you had to change your sleep schedule and routine in order to get the most out of your dream-time, so do babies. Now, you've learned a few tips and tricks to help your little one sleep better which should help everyone in your house sleep better.

See? It wasn't so hard. It's a learning experience for everyone, and that's okay.


Solving Sleep Problems With Athletes


If you’re an athlete, get a glass of shut-eye!

When you're an athlete, being in your best form isn't just an afterthought; it's a way of life. For major athletes it's also a livelihood in more ways than one. If you aren't getting a proper sleep you're not going to be performing at your best. Subpar performances can lose you points and, even worse, your career.

You've got to take care of yourself and getting a good night's sleep is one of those pieces of your battle plan that you really can't ignore. If you're a professional athlete the chances are you will have a team of subject matter experts who micromanage everything from what shoes you wear to what you had for breakfast. While there are many variables you can control in order to perform your best, sometimes there are parts you can't control; like your sleep:

Sleep disorders are so painfully common among the general population, but there's one demographic that suffers significantly more than the rest of us: athletes. A new study from Finland has some good news for this group, though. Researchers say that for the first time ever, they've shown just how treatable sleep disorders among athletes really are.

For the study, now published online in the Journal of Sports Sciences , researchers from the University of Eastern Finland had 107 professional athletes take a survey about their general sleep patterns. The survey revealed that one in four of the athletes involved in the study suffered from significant sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep, snoring, and issues with breathing, such as sleep apnea. Most of the athletes surveyed admitted to sleeping too few hours and one in six used sleeping pills.

Athletes who suffered from notable sleeping disorders were referred to a sleep specialist for an examination and an individualized treatment plan. Although many of the athlete's sleep troubles were classified as 'significant' the study showed that general sleep-related guidance and personalized treatment plans greatly improved their sleep, follow-up visits one, three, four, and 12 months later found.


If you suffer from a sleep disorder, such as snoring, there are solutions available to you. One of the most common solutions for those who suffer from snoring or issues with breathing during the night are mandibular advancement devices (MADs). MADs are simple mouth pieces that you can wear during the night that will perform in a few ways. A good example of a MAD is the Snore RX. (read our review: Some of these devices will push your lower jaw forward, opening up your airways as you sleep at night. This works to clear your airways and reduce, or eliminate, your snoring. Snoring is generally caused by your muscles in your mouth and jaw vibrating while relaxed and breathing.

Some mouthpieces also have a function that holds your tongue up so that it doesn't fall into the back of your throat, further blocking your airway and causing poor sleep. Depending on what your sport is, chances are you wear a mouth guard on a regular basis.

Don't delay! If you want to get the best sleep you can and your issues are snoring, it's time for you to do some research.