Sleep Apnea and Insomnia
Diagnosing sleep apnea used to be expensive and an inconvenient process requiring an overnight stay in a qualified sleep center. Today sleep test technologies exist that are simple to use and allow you to take a sleep test in the comforts of your own home, in your own bed.
Benefits of Home Sleep Test (HST)
- Convenient – It’s on your own schedule. You don’t have to make an appointment to get tested. You don’t need to drive to a strange center to sleep or miss work or time with family.
- Cost Effective – Testing at an overnight lab could cost upwards to $1000.00. With a fraction of the cost, covered by insurance, a HST is highly accurate and an inexpensive alternative to a facility sleep testing.
- Comprehensive – The HST is a complete profile of your breathing during sleep. It collects and integrates physiological and physical data to determine the presence and severity of the apnea.
- Comfortable – The HST used in our offices is one of the most comfortable devices created, very easy to use, and you can sleep in any position, and in your own bed.
We understand the importance of proper rest and the critical role healthy sleep plays on overall health. The Active Transformation Program addresses sleep apnea and the other conditions associated with improper rest or sleep. Our goal is to raise your awareness about the importance of proper sleep, and prevent or treat sleep disorders and the issues that are impacting your sleep. This will improve and enhance your health, and you will live a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing and/or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses last from a few seconds to a few minutes. These pauses in sleep often occur 10 – 40 times or more per hour. Sleep Apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition and can be deadly. When your breathing is disturbed, your brain moves out of deeper stages of sleep. This results in poor sleep quality and will make you tired during the day. Sleep Apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Sadly, Sleep Apnea often goes undiagnosed. Most doctors usually can’t diagnose the condition during routine office visits. Most people who have Sleep Apnea don’t know they have it. Because it only occurs during sleep, they are usually unaware. It is usually the family member or bed partner who notices the signs of Sleep Apnea. They will observe that the person seems to quit breathing.
The most common type of Sleep Apnea is chronic Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This means the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. The blockage causes shallow breathing or pauses in breathing. The air that squeezes past the blocked airway can cause loud snoring. Untreated, Sleep Apnea can increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.
The Active program, coupled with lifestyle changes, Cranial Facial Release (CFR), specialized mouthpieces, and/or breathing devices, can successfully treat Sleep Apnea without surgery. When you’re awake, throat muscles help keep your airway stiff and open so air can easily flow into the lungs. However, when asleep, these muscles become more relaxed. Normally, the relaxed throat muscles fail to keep your airway open to allow air into your lungs.
Your airways can be blocked or narrowed during sleep because of the following:
- Nasal Passages narrowed or blocked
- Lack of mobility of the skull plates
- Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal.
- Your tongue and tonsils are too large compared to the opening into your windpipe.
- Excess fat tissue can thicken the wall of the windpipe, thereby causing the opening to narrow and making it harder to stay open.
- The shape of your head and neck (bony structures) may cause a smaller airway in the mouth and throat.
- As we age, the nerve signals from the brain to the throat weaken and keep the muscles contracted during sleep.
- Not enough air flow into your lungs causes snoring and a drop in your blood oxygen levels.
Facts about Sleep Apnea
- 40 million Americans suffer from sleep issues.
- 50% of suffers are overweight
- More common in men
- One out of 20 middle-aged men
- One out of 40 middle-aged women
- More common as you get older
- More likely after menopause
- African Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop Sleep Apnea than Caucasians.
- Family traits – Family related
- Small airways in their noses, throats, or mouths also are more likely to have sleep apnea.
- Smaller airways may be due to the shape of these structures, allergies, or other medical conditions that cause congestion or inflammation in these areas.
- Enlarged tonsil tissues increase risk
- Risk factors include smoking and high blood pressure
- Related to stroke or heart failure.
What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Fatigue after sleep or drowsiness
- A dry mouth upon awakening
- High blood pressure
- Change in personality
- Difficulty concentrating (ADHD)
- Excessive sweating while asleep
- Loss of libido
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Restless sleep
- Obesity (rapid weight gain)
Sleep Apnea is Serious
Sleep Apnea is a potentially, life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical intervention. The risks of undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnea include heart attacks, strokes, impotence, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition, Obstructive Sleep Apnea causes daytime sleepiness that can result in dangerous accidents, lost productivity and interpersonal relationship problems. The severity of the symptoms range from mild to severe.
The goals of the Active Transformation Program are to:
- Re-teach your body to properly sequence breathing to restore normal breathing during sleep.
- Relieve symptoms such as loud snoring and daytime drowsiness and sleepiness.
- Help with our apnea-caused conditions like obesity and high blood pressure.
- Reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Active healthy sleep tips
- Active Airway Restoration Protocols
- Lifestyle Changes
- Cranial Facial Release
- Stop Smoking
- Functional Dentistry Mouthpieces
- Breathing Devices
- INSPIRE Surgery (as a last resort)
If you have trouble falling asleep, maintaining sleep, awaken earlier than you wish, feel unrefreshed after sleep or suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day or when you wish to be alert, you should consult a physician. The following tips will help you sleep better.
- Tape your mouth shut
- Create a sleep-friendly environment
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows (Intellibed)
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex
- Finish eating at least 2 hours before your regular bedtime
- Exercise regularly (minimum of 3 times per week)
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol close to bedtime
- Maintain a regular sleep and wake time
Insomniacs have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Specifically, they can exhibit: delayed sleep onset; frequent prolonged arousals during the night; early morning awakenings; or low quality sleep. Most people have experienced insomnia during temporary periods of stress in their life. This is termed acute or short-term insomnia and is usually resolved on its own. However, if the problem persists for more than four weeks, professional advice should be sought.
Are there different types of Insomnia?
An individual can exhibit either primary or secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is typically associated with stress and is not associated with any other mental or physical problems. Secondary insomnia is the result of underlying problems such as anxiety, mood disorders or medical conditions such as Restless Legs Syndrome or Sleep Apnea.
With 40 million Americans suffering from this horrible condition, it is not surprising that the number one cause of insomnia is stress. The Active program is so successful treating insomnia because the proprietary protocols directly address stress. Insomnia might also be a symptom of an anxiety or mood disorder or even a medical condition such as chronic pain.
While sleeping pills can be very effective for short-term insomnia, they are not recommended for a long-term sleep problem. For chronic insomnia, there is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) where patients learn to manage their own symptoms. This approach is generally more effective and the beneficial results tend to last longer.
Some Myths and Facts about Insomnia:
- The older you get, the less sleep you need. FALSE
We recommend that people get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Our sleeping patterns change as we age, the amount of sleep needed generally does not. Older individuals wake more frequently throughout the night and usually get less nighttime sleep, but they require the same amount of sleep as younger adults.
- A one hour nap during the day may interfere with nocturnal sleep. TRUE
Brief naps that last 20 to 30 minutes, and are scheduled at regular times as a daily routine, can be useful in maintaining wakefulness. However, napping longer then 30-40 minutes can affect your nocturnal sleep patterns.
- Stay in bed if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. FALSE
Waking up in the middle of the night, and not being able to go back to sleep is one of the most common symptoms of insomnia. Various relaxation techniques, such as The LOIS Breathing Method or guided visual imagery, may help induce sleep. Such methods are more effective than counting sheep or counting backwards from 100. Most experts agree that if you cannot fall asleep with 15 to 20 minutes, then you should get out of bed and engage in some relaxing activity, listening to music, reading, or painting. Return to bed only when you are feeling sleepy, and above all, avoid watching the clock!