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Sleep apnea may hold hidden dangers for women

March 12th, 2014 Raquel Rothe

Sleep apnea may hold hidden dangers for women

Monday 28 October 2013 – 3am PST

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Sleep apnea may hold hidden dangers for women

A new study on sleep apnea reveals there could be some hidden dangers – particularly for women who have the condition – where breathing is interrupted during sleep. Women with sleep apnea may appear healthy, but they have subtle symptoms so their sleep problem is often misdiagnosed.

Now, new research, led by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing, shows that the body’s autonomic responses, which normally control blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and other basic functions, are not as strong in people with obstructive sleep apnea, and even less so in women.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that happens when the person is asleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night. When it occurs, blood oxygen drops and eventually damages many cells of the body.

There are over 20 million adult Americans living with the condition, note the researchers, who explain that it is linked with several serious health problems and also early death.

Women are much less likely to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea than men.

Lead researcher Dr. Paul Macey says:

“We now know that sleep apnea is a precursor to bigger health issues. And for women in particular, the results could be deadly.”

Early detection and intervention needed

Dr. Macey and his colleagues describe their work in a recent online issue of PLOS ONE.

For their study, the team recruited 94 adult men and women, comprising 37 newly diagnosed, untreated obstructive sleep (OSA) patients and 57 healthy volunteers to act as controls.

The three groups had their heart rates measured as they went through three different physical challenges:

  • The Valsalva maneuver – where they had to breathe out hard while keeping the mouth closed
  • A hand-grip challenge – where they had to just squeeze hard with one hand
  • A cold pressor challenge – where the right foot is inserted into near-freezing water for a minute.

The team notes the main results:

“Heart rate responses showed lower amplitude, delayed onset and slower rate changes in OSA patients over healthy controls, and impairments may be more pronounced in females.”

Dr. Macey adds:

“This may mean that women are more likely to develop symptoms of heart disease, as well as other consequences of poor adaptation to daily physical tasks. Early detection and treatment may be needed to protect against damage to the brain and other organs.”

The team now intends to investigate if the usual treatments for OSA, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), help to improve the autonomic responses.

CPAP is where a machine helps the OSA patient breathe more easily while asleep.

Funds from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research helped finance the study.

In another study published recently, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, found that sleep apnea is linked to early sign of heart failure.

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American Heart Month Means Time to Get in Shape

February 6th, 2014 Raquel Rothe

María Simón

Celebrity fitness trainer, volunteer

So it’s February, and although resolutions are beginning to fade, they’re still there, shining dimly in the background of your mental to-do list. The determination to get back in shape is still alive, but already unforgiving schedules, nagging colds, and less-than-optimal weather conditions have gotten in the way.

Whatever you do, don’t give up… February is here to the rescue! What better time to get back on the wagon than during American Heart Month! Whether your goal is to lose weight, lower your blood pressure or simply become more active, the path is clear and, contrary to what the negative voices in our heads are saying, these goals are attainable.

I’m all for vanity as a great motivator to get healthy, but let’s not lose sight of the most important goal: to live longer and stronger. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, even more than all cancers… combined! Obviously, excess fat is a contributing factor, and dropping a few pounds greatly improves heart health. Nevertheless, losing weight shouldn’t be the only focus. After all, in case you haven’t heard, strong is the new skinny! It is important to be informed and have realistic goals.

Research by the American Heart Association has shown that visceral (abdominal) fat is directly related to higher incidences of heart health issues. But before you throw yourself to the floor in a frantic attempt to do as many crunches as humanly possible, know that six-pack abs are no more healthier than those with reasonable height-to-weight ratios. The American Heart Association recommends a waist circumference that is less than 35 inches for women. However, this is relative to height. Therefore, a waist circumference that is less than half of one’s height is another guideline toward procuring a healthy size, as opposed to going by the air-brushed model on the cover of your favorite magazine.

By now, we’ve been bombarded with every lose-weight-quick diet tip and get-flat-abs-quicker exercise routine. Fitness professionals, like myself, are forever searching for exciting exercise combinations in order to motivate our clients. But between you and me, the truth is, simple is best. Sometimes, just finding the time (and a wearable sports bra) is complicated enough.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30-45 minutes of any exercise to achieve a healthier lifestyle. The keyword here is “any.” You don’t have to be drenched in sweat and feel like you’re about to die in order to have accomplished a good work-out, but if you’re determined, a lot can be done in just 30 minutes.

Start with a casual warm-up, jogging in place for a minute, increase to sprinting for another minute, and add jumping jacks for yet another minute. You can go back to sprinting, then jogging to bring your intensity down before stopping. Add some arm circles and leg swings for dynamic stretches while keeping your heart rate somewhat elevated.

Now that you’re all warmed up, let’s use your home as a gym. The bottom two steps of any stairway can be used as a “stepper” to do alternating step-ups, adding knee raises to work the quadriceps and then heel lifts to work the hamstrings and glutes. Use a dining room chair for tricep dips, and you can even sit in the chair, hold on to your seat (literally), bring your knees into your chest and extend your legs for a great abdominal workout.

Finally, take it to the floor and add some planks to the mix, going from elbows to hands to make it a little more interesting (if not entertaining) for an effective core and upper body exercise. Spend a couple of minutes at each of your homemade stations, take a one-minute water break, and repeat three times. End your at-home exercise routine by holding a few static stretches and you are good to go!

Find out more information about Health Benefits of Weight Training for Women,Abdominal Exercises that Strengthen Your Core and other heart-healthy routines by visiting Go Red For Women.

This blog post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post andlesscancer.org, in recognition of both World Cancer Day and National Cancer Prevention Day (both Feb. 4), and in conjunction with lesscancer.org’s panel oncancer in Washington that day. To see all the other posts in the series, clickhere. For more information about lesscancer.org, click here

Alcohol’s Effect on Nighttime Breathing

April 26th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Alcohol’s Effect on Nighttime Breathing

In general, alcohol is a substance that may have significant impacts on your health. You may not have realized that it may also affect your sleep, especially if you have sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea.

Alcohol can decrease your drive to breathe, slowing your breathing and making your breaths shallow. In addition, it may relax the muscles of your throat, which may make it more likely for your upper airway to collapse.

The Consequences of Alcohol in Sleep Apnea

As the result of alcohol use, apnea events occur more frequently in someone who is predisposed to them. In addition, the drops in the oxygen levels of the blood (called desaturations) become more severe. This may lead to increased carbon dioxide levels in the body, a condition called hypercapnia. Therefore, the consequences of sleep apnea may become more pronounced with alcohol use.

If You Have Sleep Apnea, Should You Avoid Alcohol?

If you have sleep apnea, the best advice would be to abstain from all alcohol use. At the very least, alcohol should not be used in the several hours prior to bedtime to minimize the effects overnight.

You should also keep in mind that it is important to set up your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) under typical sleeping conditions. Therefore, if you drink alcohol daily but abstain prior to your titration study, the pressure may not be adequate to maintain your airway when you drink. If you wish to maximize your therapy, consider the role that alcohol use plays in treating your sleep apnea.

Eat to Dream: Study Shows Dietary Nutrients Associated with Certain Sleep Patterns

April 18th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

Eat to Dream: Study Shows Dietary Nutrients Associated with Certain Sleep Patterns

First Nationally-Representative Analysis Reveals People Who Eat a Varied Diet Have Healthier Sleep Duration

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA — “You are what you eat,” the saying goes, but is what you eat playing a role in how much you sleep? Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. With the increasing prevalence of obesity and its consequences, sleep researchers have begun to explore the factors that predispose individuals to weight gain and ultimately obesity. Now, a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows for the first time that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration and that people who report eating a large variety of foods – an indicator of an overall healthy diet – had the healthiest sleep patterns. The new research is published online, ahead-of-print in the journal Appetite.

“Although many of us inherently recognize that there is a relationship between what we eat and how we sleep, there have been very few scientific studies that have explored this connection, especially in a real-world situation,” saidMichael A. Grandner, PhD, instructor in Psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn. “ In general, we know that those who report between 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night are most likely to experience better overall health and well being, so we simply asked the question “Are there differences in the diet of those who report shorter sleep, longer sleep, or standard sleep patterns?”

To answer this question, the research team analyzed data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NHANES includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions. The sample for the survey is selected to represent the U.S. population of all ages and demographics. For the current study, researchers used the survey question regarding how much sleep each participant reported getting each night to separate the sample into groups of different sleep patterns. Sleep patterns were broken out as “Very Short’’ (<5 h per night), ‘‘Short’’ (5–6 h per night), ‘‘Standard’ (7–8h per night), and ‘‘Long’’ (9 h or more per night). NHANES participants also sat down with specially trained staff who went over, in great detail, a full day’s dietary intake. This included everything from the occasional glass of water to complete, detailed records of every part of each meal. With this data, the Penn research team analyzed whether each group differed from the 7-8 hour “standard” group on any nutrients and total caloric intake. They also looked at these associations after controlling for overall diet, demographics, socioeconomics, physical activity, obesity, and other factors that could have explained this relationship.

The authors found that total caloric intake varied across groups. Short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, followed by very short sleepers, followed by long sleepers. Food variety was highest in normal sleepers, and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

In a statistical analysis, the research team found that there were a number of dietary differences, but these were largely driven by a few key nutrients. They found that very short sleep was associated with less intake of tap water, lycopene (found in red- and orange-colored foods), and total carbohydrates, short sleep was associated with less vitamin C, tap water, selenium (found in nuts, meat and shellfish), and more lutein/zeaxanthin (found in green, leafy vegetables), and long sleep was associated with less intake of theobromine (found in chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (a saturated fat) choline (found in eggs and fatty meats), total carbohydrates, and more alcohol.

“Overall, people who sleep 7 – 8 hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that short and long sleep are associated with lower food variety,” said Dr. Grandner. “What we still don’t know is if people altered their diets, would they be able to change their overall sleep pattern? This will be an important area to explore going forward as we know that short sleep duration is associated with weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Likewise, we know that people who sleep too long also experience negative health consequences. If we can pinpoint the ideal mix of nutrients and calories to promote healthy sleep, the healthcare community has the potential to make a major dent in obesity and other cardiometabolic risk factors.”

Other authors for Penn include Nicholas J. Jackson and Jason R. Gerstner, PhD.
This research was supported grants from National Institutes of Health (T32HL007713, 12SDG9180007 and P30HL101859)

Inadequate sleep can lead to overeating, weight gain in as little as a week: U.S. study

April 12th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

By Elizabeth Foster

Losing a few hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain, a new study has shown, and effects can be seen after just a week

Losing just a few hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain, a new study has shown, and effects can be seen after only a week’s worth of bad rest.

The findings, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, outline the connection between insufficient sleep and overeating.

Hit the gym or toss & turn: Sleep quality tied by ‘compelling association’ to exercise levels: U.S. experts

On the heels of news that Canada’s adult obesity rates have reached historic highs, a new study offers some extra incentive to hit the gym: a better night’s sleep.

Researchers have discovered a “compelling association” between weekly physical activity and improved sleep quality – including reduced incidences of sleep apnea and insomnia – according to a report released Monday. The relationship is so strong, in fact, they say simply adding 10 minutes of walking to your day is likely to improve your Zs.

“There is a relationship there, and it’s sequentially greater as people exercise more,” said Max Hirshkowitz, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and a sleep researcher with more than three decades in the field. “Really, it confirms what should be common sense.”

Researchers from the University of Colorado studied 16 healthy men and women for a two-week period. The subjects’ eating habits, metabolism and sleeping patterns were tracked in a completely controlled environment. By documenting every mouthful of food and wink of sleep, researchers were able to determine that losing just a few hours of sleep for a few nights a week can lead to significant weight gain.

In the study’s first week, half of the subjects were given a nine-hour sleep schedule. The other half were given only five hours of sleep each night. All of the subjects were given unlimited access to food.

In the second week of the study, the subjects’ schedules were flipped. Those that had been getting a full night’s sleep were put on the five-hour schedule and the sleepier subjects were switched to nine-hour nights.

Researchers found that when subjects were sleep-deprived, they ate far more than their well-rested counterparts. At the end of the first week, the subjects getting just five hours of sleep each night had gained an average of two pounds. During the second week of the experiment, the group that was switched from nine hours of sleep to five hours also gained weight.

‘We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep, they overeat carbohydrates’

Kenneth Wright, the director of the university’s sleep and chronobiology laboratory, told the New York Times that the change in eating habits that takes place when we’re tired is partly attributable to behavioural factors, and partly to biological ones.

“We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep, they overeat carbohydrates,” he said. “They ate more food [in total], and when they ate food also changed. They ate a smaller breakfast and they ate a lot more after dinner.”

He concludes that the lack of sleep changes subjects’ internal clocks, similar to the effect of jet lag.

“They were awake three hours before their internal nighttime had ended,” Wright said. “Being awakened during their biological night is probably why they ended up eating smaller breakfasts.” That change led to late night snacking, and a 6% overall increase in caloric intake.

Researchers were confident the connection between loss of sleep and weight gain would carry over to the real world, although the results may be less pronounced outside of the experiment’s carefully controlled environment. They said further research is needed to determine the connection between long-term sleep deprivation and weight gain, and especially how a lack of rest can affect our eating habits.

Couples Who Sleep Apart are Healthier?

February 26th, 2013 Raquel Rothe
By Irmina Santaika
“Want the dream marriage? Then sleep in separate beds”dailymail.co.uk, 2009 August 1, 2012, L ifestyle My Joy Online The secret to a long and happy marriage could be having separate beds, an expert on sleep claims.
Not only will a couple escape arguments over duvet-hogging and fidgeting, but they will have a proper night’s rest.
This will have a huge impact on both their health and the relationship as poor sleep increases the risk of stroke, heart disease and divorce, said Dr Neil Stanley.
The consultant, who set up sleep laboratories at Surrey University, said: ‘Poor sleep is bad for your physical, mental and emotional health. There is no good thing about poor sleep.
‘If you sleep perfectly well together, then don’t change. But don’t be afraid to relocate.’ If a husband or wife snores, twin beds might not be an option either, and they should sleep in separate bedrooms, he told the British Science Festival.
Dr Stanley, who follows his own advice and sleeps in a different room to his wife, said that double beds are just not conducive to a good night’s sleep.
He said the tradition of the marital bed began with the industrial revolution, when people moved into cities and found themselves short of living space.
Before the Victorian era it was not uncommon for married couples to sleep apart.
He said that now the British way is to have a 4ft 6in double bed. ‘A standard single bed is 2ft 6in or 3ft, that means you have nine inches less sleeping space in bed than your child does in theirs.
‘You then put in this person who makes noise, punches, kicks and gets up to go to the loo in the middle of the night, is it any wonder you are not getting a good night’s sleep?’ He added:
‘Poor sleep increases the risk of depression, heart disease, stroke, respiratory failure and increases the risk of divorce and suicidal behaviour.’
A recent large- scale Japanese study concluded that seven and a half hours of sleep a night is optimal for good health.
A third of British adults regularly have fewer than five hours. Dr Stanley’s advice follows studies at Surrey University on the impact of tossing and turning on sleeping partners.
When one partner moves in his or her sleep, there is a 50 per cent chance the other will also change position.
Despite this, couples are reluctant to sleep apart, with just 8 per cent of those in their 40s and 50s bedding down in different rooms.
Separate bedrooms are much more common in old age, with more than 40 per cent of those aged 70-plus sleeping apart.
This could be because long-established couples feel more secure in their relationships.
They may also find it easier to bring up the touchy topic of one moving out of the marital bed and could also be more likely to have a spare room than a younger couple.
Dr Stanley said the argument that it is comforting to sleep beside someone else holds little water.
He said: ‘Sleep is the most selfish thing we can do. People say that they like the feeling of having their partner next to them when they are asleep. But you have to be awake to feel that.
‘We all know what it is like to sleep in a bed with somebody and have a cuddle. ‘But at one point you say, “I’m going to go to sleep now”.
‘Why not at that point just take yourself down the landing?
‘Intimacy is important for emotional health. But good sleep is important for physical, emotional and mental health.
‘Getting a good night’s sleep is something we should all aspire to.

Will Changing My Diet Help Me Sleep Better?

February 18th, 2013 Raquel Rothe

New studies have claimed links between the way we eat and the way we rest at night

A good diet and a sensible bedtime certainly won’t do any harm. Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

We are what we eat, and now researchers are saying that our diet affects how we sleep. A study, published in the journal Appetite, found differences in the diets of people who slept for seven to eight hours a night compared with those snoozing for five. Since less sleep is associated with high blood pressure, poorer blood-glucose control (increasing the risk of diabetes) and obesity (as is more sleep in some studies), shouldn’t we eat the foods that are most likely to help us sleep a healthy amount? And does anyone know what foods these are?

The solution

The study in Appetite used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that those who slept the standard seven to eight hours ate the greatest variety of foods. Those who slept the least (less than five hours) drank less water, took in less vitamin C, had less selenium (found in nuts, meat and shellfish) but ate more green, leafy vegetables. Longer sleep was associated with more carbohydrates, alcohol and less choline (found in eggs and fatty meats) and less theorbomine (found in chocolate and tea). The researchers took into account other factors such as obesity, physical activity and income, and still found these differences in diet.

They concluded that both long (nine hours-plus) and short sleep are associated with less varied diets but say they don’t know if changing diet would affect how long we sleep for. The study shows only an association, although the link with short and long sleep both being “unhealthy” holds true with a 2011 review of evidence about the length of sleep and risk of heart disease.

The evidence on what diet would help us sleep best isn’t clear. It is also not evident how much individual preferences for sleep – some like to sleep longer than others – affect these results. But there is more research on the relationship between sleep and weight, with studies showing the shorter the amount of sleep a person has, the hungrier they feel.

German study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior last year showed that after just one night of sleep disruption the volunteers in the study were less energetic (so used up fewer calories) but hungrier. The researchers said their volunteers also had raised blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone linked to the feeling of hunger. A commentary a few months later in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association backed this association, saying that while encouraging a weight-loss regime of eating less, moving more and sleeping more might be too simplistic, diets were helped by good amounts of high‑quality sleep

So while no one knows what foods will stop you waking up at 5am, you won’t go wrong with a more varied diet and a sensible bedtime.

Disease and Sleep poster

December 19th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/disease-and-sleep-recent-studies-find-new-links/2012/12/03/003ef1ba-3d9e-11e2-bca3-aadc9b7e29c5_graphic.html

Driving Drowsy Prevention Week-National Sleep Foundation

November 14th, 2012 Raquel Rothe

Young People More Likely To Drive Drowsy

November 9, 2012

National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® Provides Tips to Prevent One in Six Traffic Fatalities

WASHINGTON, DC, November 9, 2012 – In recognition of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, (November 12-18), the National Sleep Foundation is joining with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to educate drivers about sleep safety. A recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation found that young people are more likely to drive drowsy.  Specifically, one in seven licensed drivers ages 16-24 admitted to having nodded off at least once while driving in the past year as compared to one in ten of all licensed drivers who confessed to falling asleep during the same period.

A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that teens and adults in their twenties reported less sleep satisfaction and roughly one in five rated as “sleepy” on a standard clinical assessment tool that determines whether sleepiness impairs daily activities.

“Young Americans are sleepy, and this affects their health and safety,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “It’s important to get the word out that it’s dangerous to drive drowsy. This could save thousands of lives.”

Using an analysis of previous data, the AAA Foundation estimates that about one in six deadly crashes involves a drowsy driver. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll found that among those who drove, about one-half (52%) indicated that they have driven drowsy, with more than one-third (37%) doing so in the past month.

Sleepiness can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information. In fact, studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the legal limit in all states. It is also possible to fall into a 3-4 second microsleep without realizing it.

Feeling sleepy? Stop driving if you exhibit these warning signs.

The following warning signs indicate that it’s time to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over and address your condition:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping reveries or daydreams at bay
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive.

Here’s what you can do to prevent a fall-asleep crash:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. You’ll want to be alert for the drive, so be sure to get adequate sleep (seven to nine hours) the night before you go.
  • Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination. Many drivers try to maximize the holiday weekend by driving at night or without stopping for breaks. It’s better to allow the time to drive alert and arrive alive.
  • Use the buddy system. Just as you should not swim alone, avoid driving alone for long distances. A buddy who remains awake for the journey can take a turn behind the wheel and help identify the warning signs of fatigue.
  • Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours. Do something to refresh yourself like getting a snack, switching drivers, or going for a run.
  • Take a nap—find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap, if you think you might fall asleep. Be cautious about excessive drowsiness after waking up.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness as a side-effect.
  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
  • Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.

For more information about drowsy driving, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s drowsy driving website at www.DrowsyDriving.org.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®

In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and to save lives, the National Sleep Foundation is declaring November 12-18, 2012 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®. This annual campaign provides public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Improves Blood Pressure in Men

October 31st, 2012 Raquel Rothe