FOR WOMEN ONLY

What You Need To Know About Snoring and Poor Sleep!

 

Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is typically thought of as a sleep disorder that affects men and when we think about the typical sleep apnea patient, we often picture a man.

Contrary to popular belief, sleep apnea patients come in all shapes, size, genders, races, and can even have atypical symptoms of those common for sleep apnea. For example, not all sleep apnea sufferers snore, many are not obese or overweight and not all of them are male.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Obstructive sleep apnea affects both genders, but the ratio of men vs. women diagnosed with OSA is about 8:1. Clinicians believe that the ratio may actually be closer to 2 or 3 men with OSA for each woman who has the condition.

 

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Sleep apnea symptoms in women are different than in men. The common symptoms of sleep apnea such as snoring, gasping arousals and drowsiness are better predictors of sleep apnea in men than in women. One of the reasons why more women aren’t diagnosed with sleep apnea is that female sleep apnea sufferers do not present with symptoms that are considered classic symptoms for sleep apnea. Additionally, men are much less likely to complain about their wives snoring and doctors are much less likely to ask women about sleep related symptoms.

 

According to a study at The University of Chicago, “Sleep apnea presents itself differently for women, which may lead them to go undiagnosed. A woman may have sleep apnea even if she doesn’t snore loud enough to rattle the windows”.

Some of the symptoms to look for in women are:

Insomnia
Restlessness in legs
Tired or fatigue
Depression
Daytime sleepiness
Morning headaches
Fibromyalgia
Concentration or memory difficulties
Frequent urination at night
Heartburn at night
Night sweats
Lack of energy during day
Dry mouth on awakening
A feeling of being overwhelmed
Uncontrollable high blood pressure
Obesity

If women have bothersome symptoms like those listed above, treatment should be tried as many women with mild sleep apnea have better responses to treatment than men with more severe sleep apnea.

-Karin Johnson, M.D. (Sleep Medicine Specialist)

 

Tips for great sleep
The Real Truth About Beauty Sleep

Sleep does wonders for us, both inside and out. If you can imagine, sleep does even more than helping you to feel rested, protecting your health and immune system, improving your cognitive function, your memory and your athletic performance. Getting enough sleep every night can also help you look your best. To help get that great, healthy, all-over glow, make sure to get your beauty sleep.

 

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Beauty benefits of sleep
For your skin
You drink your recommended 8 glasses of water a day and make sure to moisturise. But all that could be for naught if you don’t give your skin cells time to repair and regenerate, which happens during sleep. Both Deep and REM Sleep have been linked to cell and tissue repair, so give your skin an extra boost by making sure you get your shut eye.
Bonus: A regular sleep schedule helps to keep your immune system in shape, which could help you fight any skin rash or irritation as well–not to mention wrinkles.

For your eyes
Got bags under your eyes? Chances are, if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, they’re slightly bigger—and maybe darker. Instead of relying only on that concealer stick , extra sleep can help reduce that swelling, discolored look your eyes get when you’re short on rest.

For your hair
Every now and then you need to just give it a rest: no flat iron, blow dryer, product, ponytail, nothing. Count your daily 7-9 hours of sleep as part of that hair break. Just don’t go to be with wet hair, or you might disturb your sleep!

For your shape
You’ve heard it before: sleep has a powerful effect on weight. You can count calories and exercise like crazy but if you try and cut corners on sleep you won’t get the full benefits, and you may struggle to keep weight off. Getting plentiful amounts of sleep, on the other hand, can keep your appetite in check, help you burn calories more effectively, and give you more energy for physical activity. Win? Win.

It feels good to look in the mirror and feel happy at what you see. Sleep can help you feel that way.

Snoring, Sleep and Women

Snoring May Be Bigger Threat to Women Than Men

THURSDAY, Nov. 29, 2018 —

The hearts of women who snore appear to become damaged more quickly than those of men who “saw lumber” at night, a new study suggests.

Evaluating nearly 4,500 British adults who underwent cardiac imaging, researchers also learned that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be vastly under-diagnosed among snorers.
This finding surprised study author Dr. Adrian Curta, who heads cardiac imaging at Munich University Hospital in Germany. …  Read More Here

How Sleep Affects Your Immunity 

When it comes to your health, sleep plays an important role. While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to a bad cold or case of the flu.  To keep yourself sniffle-free this season, here’s what you need to know.

Sleep and Cytokines

Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye.  Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.

Stock Up on Naps

To stay healthy, especially during the influenza season, get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This will help keep your immune system in fighting shape, and also protect you from other health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  If your sleep schedule is interrupted by a busy workweek or other factors, try to make up for the lost rest with naps. Taking two naps that are no longer than 30 minutes each —one in the morning and one in the afternoon—has been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system.  If you can’t swing a half-hour nap during the workday, try grabbing a 20-minute siesta on your lunch hour, and another right before dinner.

Other Healthy Tactics

Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting ample sleep. It’s also important to practice smart stay-healthy strategies such as washing your hands with soap regularly, avoiding close contact with people who are obviously under the weather, and talking with your doctor about getting an annual flu shot.  And remember: Even if you do come down with a case of seasonal sniffles, you’ll be able to bounce back faster if your body is well rested.

The Problem With Sleeping Pills

The benefits might be smaller, and the risks greater, than you expect

By Teresa Carr

Sleeplessness is complicated—but that hasn’t stopped millions of Americans from craving a simple chemical solution.

In a July 2018 Consumer Reports survey of 1,767 U.S. adults, nearly one-third of people who complained of sleep problems at least once per week said they had used an over-the-counter or prescription sleep drug in the previous year.

But many of those people don’t get the restful night’s sleep they seek. Only about a third of people who took sleep medications—either OTC or prescription—reported very good or excellent sleep on those nights.

And they often don’t wake refreshed: Nearly 6 out of 10 people taking sleep medications reported side effects such as feeling drowsy, confused, or forgetful the next day. Three percent admitted to dozing off while driving.

Among the most common reasons Americans gave for taking a sleep drug is that they thought it would work better than other approaches.         

But drugs aren’t the cure-all many people expect.

“In terms of improvement of total sleep time, the benefits of sleep medications are pretty modest,” says Michael Sateia, M.D., emeritus professor of psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Plus, some of the most commonly used drugs, notably OTC sleeping pills, should never be used long-term, and have little published research backing up even their short-term use, Sateia says.

And all sleep medications—including OTC products—have important and often underappreciated risks.

What’s more, our survey found that about 40 percent of people who take sleep aids use the drugs in potentially harmful ways—by, for example, taking them more often or longer than recommended, or combining them with other medications or alcohol.

Here’s what you need to know about the benefits and risks of the drugs, the situations when taking them makes the most sense, and how to use them safely.

 

 

Article Continued Here

How Sleep Drugs Work

Different types of sleep medications affect the brain and body in different ways.

All OTC sleep drugs rely on older antihistamines—diphenhydramine (Sominex, ZzzQuil, and generic) or doxylamine (Unisom SleepTabs and generic)—which have drowsiness as a side effect.

A wider variety of sleep medications are available by prescription.

The oldest type is anti-anxiety drugs, such as temazepam (Restoril and generic) and triazolam (Halcion and generic), from a class of medications called benzodiazepines, or “benzos.” These drugs make you feel drowsy or sedated by slowing activity of the brain and central nervous system.

The next generation of medications, the so-called Z drugs, including eszopiclone (Lunesta and generic), zaleplon (Sonata and generic), and zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist, and generic), target the same brain receptors. But they do so more selectively, which is thought to reduce some of the side effects, such as lingering grogginess and the risk of becoming dependent.

The newest type of prescription sleep drugs, ramelteon (Rozerem) and suvorexant (Belsomra), affects brain chemicals that regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Doctors also sometimes treat sleeplessness with an older type of antidepressant—most commonly trazodone—because it also has sleepiness as a side effect. Although the Food and Drug Administration has not approved trazodone for insomnia, doctors can legally prescribe a drug for any reason they see fit.

Limited Benefits

One thing all these medications have in common: limited benefits.
Sleep drugs can help people fall asleep faster or return to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night, but the benefits are usually modest, says Daniel Buysse, M.D., UPMC professor of sleep medicine and professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Most only increase total sleep time by about 20 to 30 minutes,” he says.

Buysse, along with Sateia and other researchers, reviewed 46 studies of sleep drugs for the most recent treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) (PDF), published in 2017.

Some drugs have even less benefit. For example, studies show that, on average, people taking ramelteon fall asleep 9 minutes faster than those taking a placebo; those taking suvorexant got only 10 minutes more shut-eye than those who took a placebo.

Most surprising: Some commonly used sleep drugs haven’t been shown to help at all.

Take OTC products, for example. About 1 out of 5 people from Consumer Reports’ nationally representative sample—which translates to about 50 million U.S. adults—reported using these in the past year. But these old-school antihistamines simply haven’t been studied for sleep.

“People think that because something is available over the counter it is safe and effective,” Buysse says. ”But there’s shockingly little evidence on the efficacy of these drugs.”

Similarly, although doctors commonly prescribe the antidepressant trazodone for sleeplessness, there’s little data to support that use.

Because trazodone and OTC drugs such as diphenhydramine have known risks and there’s little evidence of their benefit when used for sleep, the AASM treatment guidelines don’t recommend either type of medication for chronic insomnia.

The ‘Morning After’ Effect

All sleep medications have side effects—most commonly causing people to feel drowsy, dizzy, mentally less sharp, or unsteady the next day. More rarely, people taking sleep medications have reported sleepwalking, hallucinations, memory lapses, and odd behavior, such as eating or driving while asleep. With most medications, long-term use can be habit-forming and stopping the drugs can lead to a rebound effect, where insomnia actually gets worse.

In the Consumer Reports survey, one of the most common reasons people gave for taking OTC drugs is that they thought they were safe. But the sedating effects of OTC drugs frequently linger into the next day. In fact, 40 percent of respondents taking an OTC sleep drug said that they felt foggy or drowsy the next morning, compared with 32 percent of those taking a prescription drug. In addition, the older antihistamines used in OTC sleep drugs can cause confusion, constipation, dry mouth, and trouble urinating.

The side effects of sleep drugs—particularly excessive drowsiness, unsteadiness, and confusion—tend to worsen as people age. “Older people metabolize these drugs more slowly and so are at increased risk of impairment,” Sateia says. That’s particularly concerning when you consider that nearly 1 out of 10 respondents to the Consumer Reports survey who took sleep aids reported feeling uncoordinated, tripping, or falling.

Indeed, research shows that older people who take sleep drugs are more likely to fall and suffer broken bones and brain injuries. For example, a 2017 analysis of 4,669 people 65 and older found that, over a two-year period, people taking sleep drugs recommended by their doctor were 34 percent more likely to fall than those who weren’t.

Women may also be more susceptible to next-day drowsiness because they clear some drugs from their bodies more slowly than men. To address that difference, a few years ago the FDA required drugmakers to cut in half the recommended dosages of medications containing the Z drug zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, and generic; Edluar; Intermezzo; and ZolpiMist). The agency said that physicians should also consider prescribing lower doses for men. (Drug labels already called for lower doses in older people.)

But many doctors ignore these recommendations, according to a study in the September 2018 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers analyzed data on adults taking zolpidem from the U.S. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the largest publicly available national survey of prescription drug use. They discovered that about two-thirds of women and people 65 and older were taking higher doses of the drug.

The Risky Business of Sleep Drugs

The risks of sleeping drugs are magnified when the medications are misused. For example, combining sleeping pills with other sedatives, prescription pain drugs, or even alcohol “puts you at real risk for serious side effects such as dangerously slow breathing and mental and physical impairment that may linger into the next day,” Sateia says.

Buysse says that people should take warnings to use sleeping pills only as directed seriously. For example, most sleep drugs caution that you shouldn’t take them unless you can spend 7 or 8 hours in bed.

“I especially worry about people who take a sleep medication with 4 hours or less available to them to sleep,” he says. “After 4 or 5 hours, you can still have the drug circulating in your blood, so you will be less alert at precisely the time you need to be doing things that require your concentration.”

“It’s the exact same reason that people shouldn’t drink and drive,” Buysse says. “Even if you feel relatively alert, you could still be a danger to yourself and others.”

Research backs up that concern. People prescribed sleeping pills are nearly twice as likely to be in a car crash, according to 2015 study in the American Journal of Public Health (PDF) that looked at the medical and driving records of nearly 410,000 adults. The researchers estimated that people taking sleep drugs were as likely to be in a car crash as those driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Buysse says that he is also concerned by the number of respondents in the Consumer Reports survey who said that they exceeded the recommended dose, combined different types of drugs, or took sleep drugs with alcohol and other recreational drugs.

In our survey, one out of 10 Americans who take prescription sleep drugs reported taking an opioid to sleep, a drug that is especially dangerous when combined with other sedatives or alcohol. All these drugs can cause your breathing to become more slow and shallow, Buysse says, so “if you combine an opioid with a benzodiazepine or alcohol, you could stop breathing altogether.”

Article Continued Here

How Sleep Drugs Work

Different types of sleep medications affect the brain and body in different ways.

All OTC sleep drugs rely on older antihistamines—diphenhydramine (Sominex, ZzzQuil, and generic) or doxylamine (Unisom SleepTabs and generic)—which have drowsiness as a side effect.

A wider variety of sleep medications are available by prescription.

The oldest type is anti-anxiety drugs, such as temazepam (Restoril and generic) and triazolam (Halcion and generic), from a class of medications called benzodiazepines, or “benzos.” These drugs make you feel drowsy or sedated by slowing activity of the brain and central nervous system.

The next generation of medications, the so-called Z drugs, including eszopiclone (Lunesta and generic), zaleplon (Sonata and generic), and zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist, and generic), target the same brain receptors. But they do so more selectively, which is thought to reduce some of the side effects, such as lingering grogginess and the risk of becoming dependent.

The newest type of prescription sleep drugs, ramelteon (Rozerem) and suvorexant (Belsomra), affects brain chemicals that regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Doctors also sometimes treat sleeplessness with an older type of antidepressant—most commonly trazodone—because it also has sleepiness as a side effect. Although the Food and Drug Administration has not approved trazodone for insomnia, doctors can legally prescribe a drug for any reason they see fit.

Limited Benefits

One thing all these medications have in common: limited benefits.
Sleep drugs can help people fall asleep faster or return to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night, but the benefits are usually modest, says Daniel Buysse, M.D., UPMC professor of sleep medicine and professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Most only increase total sleep time by about 20 to 30 minutes,” he says.

Buysse, along with Sateia and other researchers, reviewed 46 studies of sleep drugs for the most recent treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) (PDF), published in 2017.

Some drugs have even less benefit. For example, studies show that, on average, people taking ramelteon fall asleep 9 minutes faster than those taking a placebo; those taking suvorexant got only 10 minutes more shut-eye than those who took a placebo.

Most surprising: Some commonly used sleep drugs haven’t been shown to help at all.

Take OTC products, for example. About 1 out of 5 people from Consumer Reports’ nationally representative sample—which translates to about 50 million U.S. adults—reported using these in the past year. But these old-school antihistamines simply haven’t been studied for sleep.

“People think that because something is available over the counter it is safe and effective,” Buysse says. ”But there’s shockingly little evidence on the efficacy of these drugs.”

Similarly, although doctors commonly prescribe the antidepressant trazodone for sleeplessness, there’s little data to support that use.

Because trazodone and OTC drugs such as diphenhydramine have known risks and there’s little evidence of their benefit when used for sleep, the AASM treatment guidelines don’t recommend either type of medication for chronic insomnia.

The ‘Morning After’ Effect

All sleep medications have side effects—most commonly causing people to feel drowsy, dizzy, mentally less sharp, or unsteady the next day. More rarely, people taking sleep medications have reported sleepwalking, hallucinations, memory lapses, and odd behavior, such as eating or driving while asleep. With most medications, long-term use can be habit-forming and stopping the drugs can lead to a rebound effect, where insomnia actually gets worse.

In the Consumer Reports survey, one of the most common reasons people gave for taking OTC drugs is that they thought they were safe. But the sedating effects of OTC drugs frequently linger into the next day. In fact, 40 percent of respondents taking an OTC sleep drug said that they felt foggy or drowsy the next morning, compared with 32 percent of those taking a prescription drug. In addition, the older antihistamines used in OTC sleep drugs can cause confusion, constipation, dry mouth, and trouble urinating.

The side effects of sleep drugs—particularly excessive drowsiness, unsteadiness, and confusion—tend to worsen as people age. “Older people metabolize these drugs more slowly and so are at increased risk of impairment,” Sateia says. That’s particularly concerning when you consider that nearly 1 out of 10 respondents to the Consumer Reports survey who took sleep aids reported feeling uncoordinated, tripping, or falling.

Indeed, research shows that older people who take sleep drugs are more likely to fall and suffer broken bones and brain injuries. For example, a 2017 analysis of 4,669 people 65 and older found that, over a two-year period, people taking sleep drugs recommended by their doctor were 34 percent more likely to fall than those who weren’t.

Women may also be more susceptible to next-day drowsiness because they clear some drugs from their bodies more slowly than men. To address that difference, a few years ago the FDA required drugmakers to cut in half the recommended dosages of medications containing the Z drug zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, and generic; Edluar; Intermezzo; and ZolpiMist). The agency said that physicians should also consider prescribing lower doses for men. (Drug labels already called for lower doses in older people.)

But many doctors ignore these recommendations, according to a study in the September 2018 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers analyzed data on adults taking zolpidem from the U.S. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the largest publicly available national survey of prescription drug use. They discovered that about two-thirds of women and people 65 and older were taking higher doses of the drug.

The Risky Business of Sleep Drugs

The risks of sleeping drugs are magnified when the medications are misused. For example, combining sleeping pills with other sedatives, prescription pain drugs, or even alcohol “puts you at real risk for serious side effects such as dangerously slow breathing and mental and physical impairment that may linger into the next day,” Sateia says.

Buysse says that people should take warnings to use sleeping pills only as directed seriously. For example, most sleep drugs caution that you shouldn’t take them unless you can spend 7 or 8 hours in bed.

“I especially worry about people who take a sleep medication with 4 hours or less available to them to sleep,” he says. “After 4 or 5 hours, you can still have the drug circulating in your blood, so you will be less alert at precisely the time you need to be doing things that require your concentration.”

“It’s the exact same reason that people shouldn’t drink and drive,” Buysse says. “Even if you feel relatively alert, you could still be a danger to yourself and others.”

Research backs up that concern. People prescribed sleeping pills are nearly twice as likely to be in a car crash, according to 2015 study in the American Journal of Public Health (PDF) that looked at the medical and driving records of nearly 410,000 adults. The researchers estimated that people taking sleep drugs were as likely to be in a car crash as those driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Buysse says that he is also concerned by the number of respondents in the Consumer Reports survey who said that they exceeded the recommended dose, combined different types of drugs, or took sleep drugs with alcohol and other recreational drugs.

In our survey, one out of 10 Americans who take prescription sleep drugs reported taking an opioid to sleep, a drug that is especially dangerous when combined with other sedatives or alcohol. All these drugs can cause your breathing to become more slow and shallow, Buysse says, so “if you combine an opioid with a benzodiazepine or alcohol, you could stop breathing altogether.”

When you’re young and in love, planning on building a life together, a little thing like snoring may not be on the top of your list of things to discuss before the wedding day. But the National Sleep Foundation survey found that nearly 25 percent of couples sleep separately as a result of sleep issues. For many of us searching for lasting love and intimacy, that doesn’t sound like a very romantic prospect.

But does snoring really affect marital happiness? The answer is, it can—but it doesn’t have to.

With some couples, snoring can cause real disharmony.

Snoring doesn’t unilaterally affect all couples the same way. Some snorers are married to deep sleepers, who might not even notice. However, for the others, the nighttime drama can be grating.

Julie Bane, a comedian, was pestered by her husband for years about losing sleep over her snoring. Constantly having to shake her awake so he could sleep was exhausting for both of them. And the issue spilled into the day, too. “. . . It made me irritable because I wasn’t sleeping well, and I’d be crabby the next day,” she remembers. Not to mention, the potential resentment built up from both of them constantly waking each other up.

Snoring can push our partners away, causing friction and spoiling intimacy. Phil Reames, a financial planner, says, “We spent years with my wife nudging me in the back and telling me to go sleep on the couch. Finally, I had enough and said, sorry you are such a light sleeper, but if it bothers you, you go sleep on the couch.”

While sleeping on the couch seems harsh, a new study from Ohio State University indicates that couples who get less than seven hours of sleep a night actually fight more. So, lying awake while your spouse snores could cause more than just frustration down the road.

But snoring doesn’t have to take a toll on marital intimacy—whether you are sleeping together or in separate beds.

Use this as a reason to team up and investigate the problem—together.

Choosing between losing sleep and sleeping apart can be difficult—but there is a third choice: to seek help together as a couple. If anything, having a spouse there to bring attention to repeated snoring, can actually help identify if there’s an actual health issue that needs to be addressed. So why not work on this problem, together?

David Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship expert, says that trying different remedies to end snoring “may improve the relationship more than any type of therapy or couples’ activity.” Asking your doctor about the possibility of sleep apnea or enlarged tonsils or adenoids causing obstructive sleep apnea may lead to a solution that doesn’t just make sleep better, but can bring you closer, too.

Bane, the comedian who struggled with snoring, decided to seek help by getting a sleep study. She was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and she notes, “My CPAP machine was a game changer. And my husband doesn’t have to spend nights shaking me to stop snoring or go sleep on the couch.” She and her husband joke that the machine is their marriage counselor.