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SLEEP: Lack of It Could Kill You...

At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic long-term sleep problems.

Sleep deprivation from sleep disorders interfere with work, driving, and even social activities. They also represent an estimated $16 billion dollars in medical costs each year.

Left untreated sleep problems such as: Sleep Apnea, Snoring, Insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome and Narcolepsy can lead to even more serious long term debilitating health problems such as Stroke, High Blood Pressure, Obesity and Even Diabetes.

Scroll Down To Keep Reading or Click The Arrow To Your Right To Begin The Brief Video Introduction We Have Prepared For You.

What is Sleep?

Sleep was long considered just a uniform block of time when you are simply not awake. Thanks to many sleep studies done over the past severeal decades.

It is now known that sleep has very distinctive stages that cycle throughout the night and each one has very important functions that are critical to our long term health and well being.

One of the most important of these sleep stages is the stage known as REM or (rapid eye movement) Sleep. REM Sleep is considered the deepest level of sleep.

Your Body May Sleep But Your Brain Doesn't!

Your brain actually never shuts down or rests, even during what we normally call sleep. The brain stays active; but rather than engaging in its regular daytime activities the brain shifts its focus to what is going on inside your mind and body.

For instance, certain stages of sleep are needed for us to feel well- rested, and energetic the next day, while other stages help us to learn, process information, daily events and emotions and to actually make memories.

"In short: A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help us to maintain good health and enable you to function at your best throughout the day."


Sleep Disorders:

Lack of sleep and sleep related disorders affect far more than just your energy level and your ability to focus and pay attention.

In fact, the "National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes" report that...

Sleep and Sleep Related Disorders play a major role in a large number of human dysfunctions and affect almost every field of medicine.

For Example:

Problems like stroke and asthma attacks tend to occur more frequently during the night and early morning, perhaps due to changes in in hormones, heart rate and other characteristics associated with sleep

Source: Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes(NINDS)

Sleep Apnea FAQ:

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Treatments:

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep Apnea Tests/diagnosis

For Patients - Important Information About Sleep Anea

For Health Professionals

From Medical Authorities

Alternative Medicine
: Safe, Effective and Natural Solutions For Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep 3 or more nights each week. You often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep when your breathing pauses or becomes shallow.

This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can't detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, there are no blood tests for the condition.

Most people who have sleep apnea don't know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member and/or bed partner may first notice the signs of sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea - The most common type of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. The blockage may cause shallow breathing or breathing pauses.

When you try to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea happens more often in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone.

Central Sleep Apnea is a less common type of sleep apnea. It happens when the area of your brain that controls your breathing doesn't send the correct signals to your breathing muscles. You make no effort to breathe for brief periods.

Central sleep apnea often occurs with obstructive sleep apnea, but it can occur alone. Snoring doesn't typically happen with central sleep apnea.

Untreated Sleep Apnea Can increase The Risk For:

  • high blood pressure,
  • heart attack,
  • stroke,
  • obesity,
  • diabetes
  • Increase the risk for or worsen heart failure
  • Make irregular heartbeats more likely
  • Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents

Sleep Apnea Treatments: Learn More About Proven, Safe, Effective and Natural Treatments for Sleep Apnea Click Here

Causes/Risk Factors: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

When you're awake, throat muscles help keep your airway stiff and open so air can flow into your lungs.

When you sleep, these muscles are more relaxed. Normally, the relaxed throat muscles don't stop your airway from staying open to allow air into your lungs.

But if you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airways can be blocked or narrowed during sleep because:

  • Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal.
  • Your tongue and tonsils (tissue masses in the back of your mouth) are large compared to the opening into your windpipe.
  • You're overweight.
    The extra soft fat tissue can thicken the wall of the windpipe. This causes the inside opening to narrow and makes it harder to keep open.
  • The shape of your head and neck (bony structure) may cause a smaller airway size in the mouth and throat area.
  • The aging process limits the ability of brain signals to keep your throat muscles stiff during sleep. This makes it more likely that the airway will narrow or collapse.

Not enough air flows into your lungs when your airways are fully or partly blocked during sleep. This can cause loud snoring and a drop in your blood oxygen levels.

When the oxygen drops to dangerous levels, it triggers your brain to disturb your sleep. This helps tighten the upper airway muscles and open your windpipe. Normal breaths then start again, often with a loud snort or choking sound.

The frequent drops in oxygen levels and reduced sleep quality trigger the release of stress hormones.

These compounds raise your heart rate and increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and irregular heartbeats. The hormones also raise the risk for or worsen heart failure.

Untreated sleep apnea also can lead to changes in how your body uses energy. These changes increase your risk for obesity and diabetes.

Symptoms: Do You Suffer From Any Of These?

The most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that you may notice include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, which is falling asleep when you normally should not, such as while you are eating, talking, or driving.
  • Waking with an unrefreshed feeling after sleep, having problems with memory and concentration, feeling tired, and experiencing personality changes.
  • Morning or night headaches. About half of all people with sleep apnea report headaches. Heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth at night.
  • Swelling of the legs if you are obese.
  • Getting up during the night to urinate (nocturia).
  • Sweating and chest pain while you are sleeping.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea That Others May Notice Include:

  • Episodes of not breathing (apnea), which may occur as few as 5 times an hour (mild apnea) to more than 50 times an hour (severe apnea). How many episodes you have determines how severe your sleep apnea is.
  • Loud snoring. Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
  • Restless tossing and turning during sleep.
  • Nighttime choking or gasping spells.

Older adults may normally have periods when they stop breathing during sleep, making it hard to know whether they have sleep apnea. Short lapses in breathing during sleep usually do not cause a large drop in the blood oxygen level.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms In Children

In children, symptoms of sleep apnea depend on how old the child is:

  • In children younger than 5, symptoms include snoring, mouth breathing, sweating, restlessness, and waking up a lot.
  • In children 5 years and older, symptoms include snoring, bed wetting, doing poorly in school, and not growing as quickly as they should for their age.

    These children may also have behavior problems and a short attention span.

Children who have sleep apnea nearly always snore. But they may not appear to be excessively sleepy during the day (a key symptom in adults).

The only symptom of sleep apnea in some children may be that they do not grow as quickly as they should for their age.

Although rare, in children sleep apnea can cause developmental delays and can cause the right side of the heart to get bigger (cor pulmonale).

Other conditions with symptoms similar to sleep apnea include an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and other sleep disorders, such as suddenly falling asleep (narcolepsy) or an intense urge to move the legs (restless legs syndrome).

Treatments For Sleep Apnea:

Self-help treatment for sleep apnea

  • Minor sleep apnea is responsive to self-help remedies, or “behavioral treatments.”

    Some of the following self-help treatments for sleep apnea may work for you.
  • Lose weight. Overweight individuals who lose even 10% of their weight can reduce sleep apnea during the night and dramatically improve the quality of their sleep.
  • Eliminate the use of alcohol, tobacco, and sedatives such as sleeping pills. Avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco, and sleeping pills can reduce the likelihood of airway closure during the night.
  • Sleep on your side. People who experience sleep apnea only when they sleep on their backs can benefit from special pillows or folk remedies that encourage side-sleeping, such as the “tennis ball trick” (putting a tennis ball under you to make back-sleeping uncomfortable).
  • Regularize your sleep hours. Irregular sleep hours can throw off your sleep cycles and lead to breathing problems during the most important sleep stages.

    Stabilizing bedtime hours and eliminating disturbances to your sleep can reduce sleep apnea.

Treatment for sleep apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Positive airway pressure, the most widely recommended treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, entails wearing a mask-like device while you sleep that supplies pressurized air, which helps prevent the airway from collapsing.

The most common of these devices is called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which provides constant air pressure regardless of whether you are breathing in or out.

While CPAP works very well in preventing apnea symptoms, many people find the apparatus uncomfortable and difficult to use. Luckily, recent advancements to CPAP technology have made these once cumbersome devices much lighter and quieter. Newer styles provide options, so that users can find one that works best for them.

Recent refinements include options such as “bilevel PAP”, which switches from higher to lower air pressure during the exhalation, making breathing easier for some, and “AutoPAP”, which uses an internal regulator that adjusts pressure rather than remaining at one fixed setting.

CPAP can be cost-prohibitive – the devices can cost up to $1000 or more - but they are usually effective when used correctly.

Unfortunately, many people don’t receive proper coaching and guidance for using these breathing devices, and give up on them quickly.

The following tips may help you use CPAP more comfortably and successfully:

  • * Don’t “self-medicate” with CPAP. Your doctor should help you in obtaining the device, and will probably suggest a night at a sleep lab where experts can adjust air pressure for your individual needs. The mask needs to fit correctly and be used in specific ways, and your doctor can help achieve optimal results.
  • Irritation can be soothed. Some find that the mask irritates the skin or nose. There are special skin moisturizers for CPAP users, and nasal pillows can be worn in the nostrils to relieve pressure on the nose.
  • Find out if you’re a mouth breather. For those who breathe through the mouth rather than the nose at night, a full-face mask will work better that the normal CPAP, which just covers the nose.
  • Take your time. Adjusting to the CPAP takes time. Try wearing it for just a few hours per night, and increase the time incrementally every night.
  • Talk to your doctor about specific issues, as most problems can be addressed. For example, some find the constant air pressure makes it difficult to breathe.

    Rather than giving up on CPAP, you doctor can switch you to a bilevel device, which lowers air pressure when you exhale. This treatment is effective enough to give it your best shot – keep trying until you adjust to wearing the device.

Dental appliances, oral devices, and lower jaw adjustment devices

Most dental devices are acrylic and fit inside your mouth, much like an athletic mouth guard or orthodontic appliance. Some others fit around your head and chin to adjust the position of your lower jaw. Two common oral devices are the Mandibular Repositioning Device and the Tongue Retaining Device. These devices open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep.

While oral devices are less cumbersome than CPAP and relatively simple to use, they are only effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea. There are also a number of troubling side effects from using this type of treatment – soreness; damage to/permanent change in position of the jaw, teeth, and mouth; saliva build-up; and nausea. It is vitally important to get fitted for these devices by a dentist that specializes in sleep apnea, and continue to see the dentist on a regular basis to monitor for any dental problems that may occur.
Surgery as treatment

Certain types of surgery can increases the size of your airway by surgically removing tissues. The surgeon may remove tonsils, adenoids, or excess tissue at the back of the throat or inside the nose. Or, the surgeon may reconstruct the jaw to enlarge the upper airway.

Surgery may be an effective option for some, and can even provide permanent relief from symptoms. However, any surgery carries risks of surgical complications and infections, and in some rare cases, symptoms have worsened after surgery. If you have exhausted other apnea treatment options, or find the non-surgical treatments intolerable, you may want to discuss surgical options with your doctor or sleep specialist.
Find a Sleep Apnea Specialist

For treatment of sleep apnea, see a doctor specializing in sleep problems. Sleep centers are clinics with such specialists. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides a Sleep Center Locater.

For dental devices, The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine provides “find a dentist” who specializes in dental sleep medicine.


For Patients

For Health Professionals

From medical authorities

Alternative Medicine

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Problem FAQ

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Problem FAQ

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Restless Leg Syndrome FAQ

Problem FAQ

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Narcolepsy FAQ

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Testimonials/case histories about how AOM/M-B Successfully Treated Problem
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Click The Arrow To View A Special Introduction To Sleep Disorders By
Solana Beach Sleep Specialist David L.Snyder, L.Ac. C.Ht. Dipl. O.M

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"Natural Solutions To Sleep Problems"
What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You!

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