• Snoring and Sleep Apnoea: 12 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

    Restless Nights due to Snoring, Sleep Apnoea and Sleeplessness

    Snoring and Sleep Apnoea is becoming a challenge for many seeking a good night’s sleep.

    With an estimated 5% of Australians suffering from sleep apnoea; for many Aussies getting a regular good night sleep is just a dream. Pardon the pun!

    Research by the Sleep Health Foundation has found 33 to 45 per cent of adults sleep either poorly or not long enough most nights, leaving them to face the new day with fatigue, irritability and other side effects of sleep deprivation.

    For a growing number of couples, snoring and sleep apnoea have unfortunately become part of their routine nocturnal activity and is contributing to a serious lack of quality shut eye across the country.

    Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) involving repeated episodes of airway obstruction during sleep, due to relaxation of the tongue and airway-muscles is commonly associated with snoring.

    Today more than ever, the quantity and quality of our sleep is vital to our general health and wellbeing and our ability to stay alert, safe, and productive at work.

    12 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep from Your Dentist

    Whether you suffer from snoring, sleep apnoea or often just struggle to sleep well, there are some things you can do to help.

    1. Cut down on caffeine to sleep better

    For many of us our morning cup of coffee is an absolute must for starting off the day. However, there is evidence to suggest that caffeine promotes alertness by inhibiting chemicals in the brain that promote sleep.

    For suffers of OSA, current research is underway to confirm recent findings that suggested that caffeinated soft drinks make the symptoms of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) more severe.

    Image courtesy of Sleep Review Magazine – http://www.sleepreviewmag.com

     

    Reducing the amount of caffeine you consume by avoiding caffeinated food and drinks (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, ice cream) close to bedtime can lead to a better night’s sleep.

    There are some other surprising sources of caffeine that could be giving you a much bigger boost than you realise. Things like weight-loss tablets, pain relief pills, breath fresheners and energy drinks usually contain caffeine.

    2. Get enough shuteye for your sleep needs

    Sufferers of sleep apnoea understand the fatigue of not getting enough sleep. Where the challenges with falling asleep and then remaining asleep are an everyday experience.

    For others, whether you get enough sleep may be more of a lifestyle situation.

    Recent research shows that our need for sleep changes depending on our age. For example a new born baby needs a lot more sleep than an adult.

    Sleeping too much or not enough – both cause problems for getting a quality night’s sleep.

    Check the chart below to find out if you’re in the right zone for your age.

    National Sleep Foundation sleep hours demographic

    Image courtesy of National Sleep Foundation – https://www.sleepfoundation.org/

     

    Be aware that you and your family will all have different needs when it comes to sleep. For parents, that means making sure your children are getting to bed at a time that guarantees them the right number of hours. For carers of elderly people, it’s understanding that less sleep isn’t always insomnia.

    3. Have a regular sleep-wake pattern

    Keeping a regular sleep pattern can help with the quality of sleep you get.

    Going to bed and waking up at about the same time each day makes a difference to how refreshed you feel on waking and the quality of sleep you get.

    It’s unrealistic to expect you to be able to change your sleep schedule overnight. The most effective and lasting tactic is to make small changes slowly.

    Let’s say you are trying to go to bed at 10:00pm, so that you’ll be asleep before 10:30pm. When you are usually still awake at midnight, for example.

    Try this: For the next few nights, go to bed at 11:45pm. Once you’ve managed to do this for four straight nights, start going to bed at 11:30pm.

    Keep adjusting your sleep schedule in this way until you get to your targeted 10:00pm.

    By reducing in 15-minute increments, your body will have a much easier time adjusting to your changed bed time.

    Once your night time sleep pattern is better suited (and gives you the right number of hours sleep for your age), you can tackle the challenge of waking up. This is if your body doesn’t automatically adjust!

    Image courtesy of Sleep Matters – https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-new-ways-of-sleeping-that-could-end-your-sleep-deprivation

     

    4. Switch off your tech to get off to sleep sooner

    A Harvard research paper published in 2015, was the first to really demonstrate the problems associated with mobile phones and sleep.

    Nowadays it’s common knowledge in the medical and healthcare industry that it is good for sleep when you turn computers and phones off at least an hour before bed.

    The device screens and app designs on your phone, computer and tablet promote wakefulness – using colours and brightness to get and keep your attention.

    Image courtesy of Tech Insider – https://www.businessinsider.com/how-smartphone-light-affects-your-brain-and-body-2015-9

     

    Avoid developing a habit of using these devices when you are in bed.

    Sleep specialists recommend, if you really need to have your phone nearby for emergency phone calls, then be prepared to sit up and swing your legs off the side of your bed before hitting the answer button.

    5. Minimise stimulation before bedtime

    Avoid too much stimulation from about 8pm and onwards. This is when your melatonin levels are meant to be naturally rising.

    Relax for at least an hour before going to bed. If you find that you’re “too hyped up”, try having a bubble bath, reading, listening to quiet music, doing yoga, meditating or stretching. These are all great ways to assist with relaxing.

    Sufferers of sleep apnoea often struggle with feeling safe at bed time, as fears and thoughts flood their mind about the possibility of not wake up again.

    A trick for those with busy minds is to write in a journal before bed or simply to note down all the things that are on your mind.

    6. Not too hot, not too cold, just right for sleeping

    From scientific research we now have a general rule – a room between 16 degrees to 20 degrees is perfect for great sleep.

    16 degrees is pretty cold but there is a very important reason for it. When you’re preparing for sleep your body temperature goes down. It starts to warm up towards the end of your sleep as a signal to wake up.

    So if you sleep in a cooler room, you are more likely to be more comfortable and ready to sleep, less likely to wake up during the night and generally get a better night’s sleep.

    Even in a cool room there can be times when you feel a little too warm and flustered in bed. Sleep researchers suggest that sticking a foot out from under your blankets will help you cool down fast so you can get that well earned forty winks.

    7. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet for snoozing

    Where you can, make sure your bedroom is sufficiently darkened and quiet.

    We know from movies that creating sleep deprivation by keeping lights on and making lots of noise is a form of torture. Something that is actually backed up by science!

    New research is finding that having a dark room for sleeping may be good in other ways too.

    “Light exposure overnight during sleep has been shown to disrupt sleep, but these data indicate that it may also have the potential to influence metabolism.” – Ivy Cheung Mason, PhD at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

    “Results show that a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the diminished ability of cells to respond to insulin action transporting glucose out of the bloodstream and precedes the development of type 2 diabetes”.

    8. Make sure you feel safe and secure before hopping into bed

    Feeling safe is vitally important when it comes to being able to fall asleep.

    First, start by making sure and that you are going to sleep on a good mattress using a good quality pillow and you feel safe in your sleeping environment.

    Remember when you were a child and there was a bedtime routine?

    Image courtesy of BitsnGiggles – https://bitzngiggles.com/printable-bedtime-routine-charts/

     

    Just because you’re now an adult doesn’t mean you can’t have or create your own bedtime routine.

    If you have worries or concerns, have strategies for dealing with them before you get into bed and turn that into a checklist that you follow every night.

    Skip the horror and crime movies, shows or books. They are likely to stimulate your imagination to create a false sense of being unsafe.

    Consider having your pet sleep with you. Not only will they help reduce your stress, but they can be a trusted guard that will watch out so you don’t have to.

    If you have a genuine reason to feel unsafe with no option for moving somewhere where you could feel safe. Consider a security system, door locks or nightly security routine, where you check all locks, windows and entries before you go to bed.

    Personal security duress and panic alarms are also widely available to help you feel that help is within reach easily. Other personal technology for monitoring sleep are also easily found online.

    9. Reduce H20 before going to bed

    Limit the amount of fluids you drink before bed. Everyone’s bladder capacity is different, so as a helpful tip, avoid drinking what would be a large amount of fluid for you, close to bed time; no matter what age.

    When your bladder isn’t overly full, there’s no urgent need for you to be woken up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break!

    10. Exercise regularly for better sleep

    Regular physical activity is great for promoting better sleep.

    Right now researchers don’t actually know how exercise helps with sleep, and there is still a lot of debate about when the best time to exercise for a good night’s sleep is.

    Most experts in sleep research recommend finding out what works best for your body and doing that.

    For those that definitely know that exercising at night makes them restless and unable to sleep. Changing when get your dose of exercise will help.

    Image courtesy of Somnology – https://www.somnologymd.com/exercise-for-insomnia/

     

    11. Avoid alcohol just before going to bed

    Avoid alcohol close to bedtime as it can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night.

    There’s an urban myth about the benefits of alcohol in helping you get to sleep.

    While alcohol can be a reasonable sedative, it turns out that alcohol actually interferes with your sleep-wake regulator. This then creates long-term challenges for your sleep patterns and circadian rhythms.

    12. Seek help for snoring and sleep apnoea

    If you or your partner are snoring regularly this is likely to be having an impact on the quality of sleep for both of you.

    Image courtesy of Science Based Medicine – https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/dental-management-of-obstructive-sleep-apnea/

    It is advised that you seek assistance. The team of highly experienced and caring dentists at Dental Care Professionals in Adelaide and Brighton can support you and your partner with sleep concerns including snoring and sleep apnoea and offer a variety of options to suit your needs.

    Untreated sleep apnoea is associated with a decreased quality of life and other serious medical conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

    You don’t have to suffer any longer, call us on 8232 3280.

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