Category: Blog

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.


The Future of Anti-Snoring Is Here

Interesting new snoring treatmentWhile there are many people who snore, you'd probably be hard-pressed to find someone who actually enjoys the fact that they snore. Snoring is not only detrimental to a person's sleep; it can be disastrous to a relationship. Disturbed sleep can lead to unhappy mornings. This can impact the effectiveness of relationships on all levels: professional and personal.

For those who are looking to stop snoring, the options up until now have been primarily device-based. Basically, you have snoring mouthpieces  like either the ZQuiet or Good Morning Snore Solution, or you’ve got CPAP.

If you’ve ever used a CPAP, you probably know that this is not only extremely uncomfortable, it’s also seriously non-portable. If you travel, then, you’re simply out of luck.  While these issues may address the snoring and other medical concerns, chances are your sleep isn't going to improve that much.

In comes technology to save the day! Science has been at work to help addressing snoring concerns in a non-invasive, friendly way:

Brought into the country by Luminisce Holistic Innovations, a boutique skin and laser clinic located in Bonifacio Global City, this innovative treatment is non-invasive and patient-friendly, reduces the effects of sleep apnea and decreases the amplitude of snoring by means of a gentle, laser-induced tightening effect caused by the contraction of collagen in the oral mucosa tissue.

Unlike traditional treatments, the Fotona NightLase treatment from Luminisce does not require surgery, injections, or devices to be worn during sleep and does not involve chemical treatments. On the average, the procedure will only require 15 minutes – after which a 50 percent reduction in snoring is achieved after a single session.

According to London-trained doctor Kristina Cuevas-Reyes of Luminisce Skin & Laser Clinic, three 15-minute sessions done in the course of two months can provide optimum results – as seen not only in improved quality of sleep for the patient but more importantly, a better and healthier relationship.


If you've been looking for new options to address your snoring because maybe that snoring mouthpiece just isn't cutting it anymore, you should look into this. While it's going to take a trip to the Philippines to get this treatment, there's nothing wrong with turning a medical appointment into a vacation. Don’t get us wrong: this is a major expense, but because it doesn’t involve actual surgery, instead replacing it with a simple laser-job (much like what plastic surgeons do in the USA) that “shapes the neck”.

The more modern science improves, the more your options are out there. You've just got to look for them! For those who can’t afford it, however, you may want to read these reviews: