Archive for the ‘Sleep’ category

Symptoms and Treatment of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

If you have restless legs syndrome you will notice a rather unpleasant feeling in your legs. This discomfort tends to increase when you lie down or it you’re sitting. You will also tend to find relief when you get up and start moving about. Unfortunately pain is often experienced at night when you are sleeping and the only way that you can deal with the problem is to waken up, get out of bed and start moving about. The reason restless leg syndrome is referred to as one type of sleep disorder is because the pain in your legs cause you to have an uncomfortable and disrupted sleep.  The pain doesn’t just occur in the legs however, you can also experience discomfort in your arms too. It can often be very difficult to describe the pain you experience however you will be able to deduce that it’s not the same feeling you get when you have muscle cramps. The best way to describe the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) would be tingling, burning sensation and prickling. You might even feel as if you’ve got creepy crawlies crawling underneath your skin. The symptoms are at their greatest at night and are caused because you’re not being active. You will also probably notice that your symptoms can subside for a length of time and then come back with different levels of intensity.

Another symptom often associated with the symptoms of RLS is what’s called Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS). You might have this condition and not even be aware of it because it happens when you are sleeping. However if you are a PLMS sufferer then you will find that you are unable to enjoy a really good deep sleep and it’s often the cause of a disrupted sleep for your sleeping partner. Restless legs syndrome is connected to the release of a certain chemical called dopamine which is responsible for the movement of your muscles. It is often an hereditary condition, actually 50% of patients find that it’s hereditary. If you are either stressed or pregnant then you will also find that the symptoms become aggravated. Other factors include a deficiency of iron along with diabetes and alcoholism as the latter two can damage the nerves in your hands and feet.

Unfortunately the diagnosis of restless legs syndrome isn’t always easy because the symptoms can be confused with other conditions such as nerves, stress and muscle cramps. Also many sufferers don’t bother to ask for any medical help. In the cases where RLS is thought to be the problem, your doctor will ask you various questions to make a diagnosis. The doctor will ask what you’re symptoms are along with the frequency in which the pain occurs. You will also be asked about what relieves your symptoms and what your sleeping patterns are. There are sleep clinics that have been set up to monitor you closely and therefore make the best diagnosis.  As mentioned earlier, moving about if often the best way to relieve your symptoms of restless leg syndrome. By walking and stretching along with other types of exercise you’ll be able to help a lot. Of course if it’s discovered that you have a nutritional deficiency then you should deal with this too so that these symptoms can cease.

Often certain lifestyle changes and medication is recommended for those who are dealing with the symptoms of restless leg. There are different medications available including muscle relaxants, antidepressants, medication that is normally given to those with epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease plus opiods. Because these treatments are designed to treat other medical conditions, their use as a treatment for RLS can have mixed results.

If you prefer to try alternative therapies first before trying any of the above medication you should look at yoga, massage, exercise along with hot or cool packs. This will all help you develop a more normal sleeping pattern with your restless leg syndrome.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Because sleep is so incredibly important to everyone, it’s essential that you look into all the different methods of getting a better night sleep.  If you have sleap apnea this is a condition which you can control as long as you are aware of how.  There are many sources of information on how to treat sleep apnea and these can include books and you GP.  Although there are many websites on health you should always seek advice from the best possible sources.  There are many websites with info written by people who have no real knowledge on the topic.

If you have very loud snoring you might think that you have sleep apnea but this isn’t necessarily the case which if why it’s important to talk to your doctor for a diagnosis.  Although snoring is often linked to apnea they don’t always have to go with each other.  If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea and you have a sleeping partner, that partner can help you make an initial diagnosis.

If you have a sleeping partner you should ask them if they would be so kind as to write down the number of times your breathing is interrupted during the night.  This is not very difficult because sleep apnea sufferers will either stop breathing or will make gasping, choking or snorting sounds when you try and get your breath back to normal.  Making notes about your snoring is also helpful. You can also get a tape recorder and put it on ‘Record’ while you sleep.

Normally sleep apnea occurs in men who are over 40 years old and are also overweight.  For those who fit this category and have other sleep apnea symptoms, it’s likely that the doctor will suspect that the problem is sleep apnea.  If in doubt, your doctor can look for obstructions in the nose and mouth and examine your throat and nose using either an endoscopy or an X-ray. A CT scan of the neck and head is another diagnosis tool.

If there is at all any doubts about what the problem is then spending a night in a specially set up sleep centre will allow your sleeping patterns to be monitored effectively.

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea then it is likely that the method of treatment suggested to you will be the use of the CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine.  The machine is set up in such a way that there is a mask which has a plastic tube that is several feet in length.  The mask will be positioned over your nose and/or mouth and as you sleep, you will be given a constant supply of pressurized air given through the tube and this allows the airway to be kept open.

Another method is a surgical one and this involved removing the tissue from your nose, mouth or throat which is the source of the problem.  Some patients may even find that their jaws need to be reconstructed.

If you are the sort of person who doesn’t like the idea of surgery or medication then there are ways that you can treat yourself once you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.  We all know that being overweight is not healthy and with the case of sleep apnea, this is very true.  If you lose 10% of your bodyweight you will make a considerable difference to your sleeping.  Another two things you should do, both for sleep apnea and general health, is to stop or limit your smoking and alcohol intake.  Sedatives are another thing that you should avoid taking. In addition, you should get yourself on a regular sleep schedule, one in which you can sleep during nighttime hours. If you prefer sleeping on your back, it’s time to switch to sleeping on your side.

You can also buy mouth pieces which help a lot of people with sleep apnea and they allow your airways to be opened and they realign your jaw or tongue.

There is no such thing as the perfect treatment so looking at all the different methods and discussing it with your doctor will allow you to choose which method you want yourself.  The simplest sleep apnea remedies will obviously be to lose weight and cut out cigarettes and alcohol.  Not only will you get a much better sleep but you’ll also feel healthier in general.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Did you know that approximately 18 million Americans suffer from a sleeping disorder called apnea? Apnea is a health condition which affects your breathing and it interrupts your breathing whilst you are asleep. These interruptions to your sleep can last for anywhere between 10 and 60 seconds, sometimes for even longer.

Obviously not being able to breath is a very serious condition and can severely affect your health. In order to be able to resume normal breathing, your brain has to wake up. The cycle of breathing disruption/brain awakening can repeat hundreds of times during a single sleep period.

When your body has to deal with sleep apnea, you will find that it gets deprived on sleep as well as oxygen. This situation will only get worse with time, unless you look for treatments. Many health problems can arise with sleep apnea including cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea can become so severe that it could endanger your life.

Symptoms of Apnea
– If you feel that you are groggy through the day then this could well be because of sleep apnea. If you keep finding yourself falling asleep during the day this can also be because of sleep apnea. This makes sense since a person with sleep apnea does not ever fall into a deep sleep.

There are many more symptoms to sleep apnea than just feeling tired and falling asleep all the time. When you are sleeping you may also sweat profusely, gasp and choke plus snore very loudly. You may also find yourself waking up suddenly during the night as your body gasps for breath.

When you are trying to work and concentrate you may find that it’s very difficult to do this because your concentration has gone and your memory suffers. Sleep apnea can also cause morning headaches and a sore throat or dry mouth upon awakening. With lack of sleep you can find that your attention span isn’t what it used to be and your judgement will become impaired. Mood swings along with depression can also be present along with weight gain and impotence.

If you don’t have your sleep apnea treated that you will then run the risk of causing driving related or machinery related accidents and you won’t be able to carry out certain tasks the way you would normally be able to. This obviously is putting your own life at risk along with the lives of other people. So if you suspect that you have sleep apnea, always contact your doctor as it isn’t just your own health you have to worry about.

Interestingly, the word apnea is a Greek word which means “without breath.” In one type of sleep apnea, the muscles inside the windpipe located at the back of the throat soften and as they soften, they relax, causing a blockage inside this airway.

Your muscle in the windpipe are what support the tongue, tonsils or uvula and these parts of your body can cause blockages too. When a blockage happens you will not be able to get enough supply of air entering. This most common form of sleep apnea is referred to as OSA or Obstructed Sleep Apnea.

Central Apnea Symptoms – A much less common type of sleep apnea is Central Sleep Apnea and with this type of apnea you actually don’t sufer from a blockage. Instead the problem originates from the brain as it isn’t able to send the necessary messages which tell the muscles how to work so that they can keep your breathing properly. Blocked airways and loss of brain control can also occur simultaneously resulting in a form of sleep apnea called Mixed Apnea.

There are a number of factors which can be responsible fro sleep apnia. Typically the most at risk category are men over the age of 40. Obesity is also something which doesn’t help and is often an aggravating factor along with alcohol, smoking and the use of sedatives. An irregular sleep schedule, a family history, nasal congestion, snoring and problems with the adenoids, tonsils, septum, tongue, chin, vocal cords and much more can all add to sleep apnea.

Homeopathic Remedies for Insomnia

There are thousands of people who cannot get to sleep at night. Their minds are racing about the day’s events, the plans for tomorrow and all the stresses of the week. While this can and probably has happened to most of us at one time, there are those who struggle with this every night. When sleepless nights occur often, it is called insomnia.

There are a number of over-the-counter, prescription, and herbal remedies for insomnia. All have the ability to help you sleep but some may carry side efforts.

Understanding Homeopathy

Before getting into what homeopathic remedies work for sleeplessness, it is important to understand what homeopathy is. Similia Similibus Curentur, or “Let likes cure likes” is a phrase that was used by Samuel Hahemann to describe this form of treatment. This form of therapy uses substances that would normally cause the symptom in a healthy person that the ill person is experiencing-In this case insomnia.

Homeopathic remedies are safe and have no side effects. They can be used on anyone of any age.

Remedies

Unlike modern medicines that have one drug for one ailment, homeopathy looks at the specific symptoms with the understanding that we all experience these differently. There are a number of reasons why certain people cannot fall asleep. It could be a mind that is forever thinking, or a body that aches. Whatever the reason is, the cure would be from a substance that induces like symptoms.

Here are a few examples of remedies that you may be given:-

Coffee – derived from the coffee bean, can be given in a very small dosage to a sleepless person. The idea being that coffee in large amounts would make a healthy person awake, so a person who is experiencing similar symptoms needs a “like” remedy to cure them.

Aconite - For those who have difficulty sleeping due to shock, fear, bad news or grief.

Cocculus - If you’re a shift worker such as a nurse or police officer then taking cocculus can help, also ideal for people who are over-tired.

Lachesis – For menopausal women

When trying to find a cure for symptoms you may be having, go to a doctor of homeopathic medicine. There they will be able to determine what will work best for you.

How to Stop Snoring Naturally

Thousands of people are awaken each night by a horrible rumbling noise. No, it’s not a train or a bear, it’s their spouse. Snoring not only affects the person doing the snoring, but also anyone sharing the room with them. Both suffer from a lack of sleep, with the snorer usually displaying a bruise on their shin from the non-snorer who spent half the time trying to get them to roll over.

Besides being loud and disruptive, snoring can also pose a serious health risk. Sleep apnea occurs when someone temporarily stops breathing.

What Causes Snoring ?

To put it simply, snoring is caused by a blocked airway. The blockage can occur when you are congested due to a cold or caused by over relaxed muscles of the throat and tongue. This relaxation can be brought on by the use of alcohol and drugs.

There are those whose soft tissue in the back of the mouth is large which helps to block the airway. Also, individuals that are overweight or have larger necks tend to snore more than others.

Sleeping on your back can also cause snoring. This is because while sleeping on your back, gravity pulls the tongue and jaw down which can cause the airway to be blocked.

Ways to Stop Snoring

First, let us start with the obvious. If you snore while sleeping on your back, try falling asleep on your side. If you have a cold or nasal congestion due to allergies, try taking a nasal decongestant.

Another way of keeping the airway open that does not involve over the counter medications is nasal strips. Nasal strips are applied to the nose and are designed to pull open the airway.

There are also mouthpieces that you have in your mouth that opens your mouth to allow air to flow and reduces the effects of soft palette vibrations in the rear of the mouth.

If snoring is caused by a dry nasal cavity, try a saline nasal spray.

Losing weight can also help with snoring. Individuals who are overweight tend to snore and have increased cases of sleep apnea.

Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol and drugs relax the muscles which can cause snoring.

Having the right pillow may also help. When the neck is at an incline, the airway becomes restricted. You want a pillow that helps keep your spine aligned and your head level with your body, not above it.

Surgery to Cure Snoring

It is said that a quarter of the population snores and that most everyone has snored at sometime. Most snoring can be remedied by a few simple things, changing your sleeping position or losing weight. However, there are individuals who may have exhausted all the simple and natural ways of curing their snoring. There is a surgery known as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. This surgery is done to remove excess tissue in the throat that causes snoring. Once the tissue is removed, the airway is open again which makes breathing easier. This will eliminate snoring and possibly the bruise caused by your partner.

How to Solve Sleep Problems

If you’re having problems getting a good night sleep then you may not realize that your sleeping environment can have a profound effect on you. Check out these tips to see if they can help you sleep better.

1# Noise Levels

Sleeping in a quiet room may seem pretty obvious but have you really scrutinized all the background noises. These may include barking dogs and outside traffic

How can you quiet the noise levels inside your bedroom? If you have wooden floors then one of the simplest things you can do is to buy a rug. Buy thick curtains to muffle any noises and if you only have windows with a single pane of glass, consider replacing them with double or even triple glazing. And if all else fails, consider wearing earplugs.

2# Room Temperature

Ambient temperature that is too warm or too humid can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Ideally, the room should feel slightly cool as this temperature more closely matches that of the body when it is in the midst of sleep.

Problems arise, however, when there is more than one person in the room. Some people love the temperature to be really toasty whereas others prefer to be cool. If you like to have an electric blanket on during the winter then you can shop around for one which has dual control. Alternatively wearing warmer clothes, and even socks, will help. Although you can use a heater or cooler you will need to find one which is quiet and won’t disturb you with the noise.

3# Bedside Clock

Depending on what type of bedside clock you own, there are two possible problems you can incur. The digital types with LED numbers can be a distraction in a dark room and can make you aware of how much time is passing.

Whereas the old fashioned wind-up clocks make a tick tock sound with can be very off-putting.

An alarm clock going off suddenly can also be a great shock to the body, so buying a “Sunrise Alarm Clock” will be much better. The National Institute of Health found that people respond better to a gradual increase in light instead of a sudden noisy beeping. Also these lights have been found to help with sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

4# Find the Perfect Bed

The size of your bed and the type of mattress on which you sleep can both impact the quality of your sleep. If your bed is too small and you feel cramped, you may not sleep as well as you could if you had room to stretch out. Likewise with the mattress.

Take a tip from Goldilocks and find a mattress which feels just right for you. There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable mattress.

Getting a new bed and/or mattress is a worthwhile investment if doing so helps you sleep better. Perhaps indulge in softer sheets and fluffier pillows too. Go ahead and splurge. You’ll definitely feel better in the morning.

5# Sleep in bed

Strange as it may seem, but if you sit in bed doing various tasks such as working on your laptop, your body can equate bed with activity instead of sleeping. Find some other place to watch television or pay your bills and use your bed for its intended purpose!

6# Lighting

Make sure that your room is as dark as possible. This may involve buying new curtains or blinds which specifically block out light. If you work a night shift then this should your top priority.

There are many different types of sleep disorders that you might also suffer from so it’s well worth reading up about this subject so you can have a better understanding.