Study Shows Tongue Size May Affect Snoring at Night

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Health Effects of Snoring, Snoring 101

 

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Study Shows Tongue Size May Affect Snoring at Night  

Snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder that can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, stroke and diabetes. It can also raise your risk of having an accident while driving or working. Researchers have been trying to understand the association between sleep apnea and snoring better in order to come up with more effective treatments. In a recent study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have discovered that tongue size might affect snoring.

Behind the Study

The study involved having high-resolution upper airway MRIs done on 90 obese adults diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and 31 obese control subjects with no history of sleep apnea. Researchers specifically looked at the size and distribution of fat deposits in each subject’s tongue. They found that the obese subjects with sleep apnea had greater amounts of tongue fat, particularly near the base of the tongue, than the obese control subjects. Researchers controlled for other factors that might affect these findings, such as gender, body mass index, age and race.

The Effects of Tongue Size on Snoring

The researchers who conducted this study believe that having a larger amount of tongue fat might prevent the muscles that connect the tongue to bone from working properly and keeping the tongue from blocking the airway. This could result in regular snoring and sleep apnea, where paused breathing episodes lasting from a few seconds to minutes occur during sleep.

Tongue Size and Sleep Apnea

The results of the tongue size study could lead to improved treatment methods for sleep apnea. The researchers involved in this study have recommended additional studies on the effectiveness of reducing the amount of tongue fat in sleep apnea patients by having them lose weight, perform upper airway exercises or undergo surgery. By removing tongue fat, snoring might decrease, leading to sleep apnea that is better controlled.

The Link between Obesity and Snoring

Researchers included weight loss as a potential method of reducing tongue fat due to the association between obesity and snoring. Those who are obese have a higher tendency to snore and potentially develop obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, a higher body weight is a main risk factor for this type of sleep apnea. Losing weight can significantly decrease the risk of snoring and developing sleep apnea.

With these new research findings, which are the first to demonstrate a link between tongue size and sleep apnea risk, researchers are one step closer to better understanding how to treat sleep apnea more effectively.

To learn more about the correlation between tongue size and sleeping problems, visit your doctor or consult a sleep center.  You can find a sleep center near you by searching our sleep center directory.

 

The Dramatic Correlation between Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Sleep Disorder News & Research

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It’s a viscous cycle: Weight gain and obesity can cause you to lose sleep. Loss of sleep can trigger weight gain and contribute to high blood pressure depression, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

There are 2 hormones that are affected by sleeplessness that affect weight gain. Ghrelin triggers appetite and food preferences. Leptin tells your body when you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, ghrelin production increases, even as leptin is reduced. The appetite kicks into high gear. Worse, your body craves foods high in fat, sugar, carbs and salt—junk food.

It’s estimated that as many as 40 million Americans are suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation. Kids are at even greater risk than adults of long term weight gain. Sleep deprived children are 2.5 times more likely to become obese than those who get the recommended daily sleep, according to recent findings by Massachusetts General Hospital. Though the hormonal changes from sleep deprivation in children is the same as those in adults, fat acquired in childhood is much harder to lose and can foster a lifetime of weight gain.

Daily exercise can restore hormonal balance and help lose the unwanted poundage, but the sleep-deprived are often too exhausted to exercise.

Sleep Apnea

One of the most profound effects of obesity or weight gain can be obstructive sleep apnea, which causes airway collapse and blockage during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea repeatedly closes the muscles in throat’s airway passage, triggering breathing pauses or shallow breathing. Sleep apnea prevents a deep restful sleep, and further contributes to weight gain.

Remedies

Sleep apnea surgery of the jaw or tissues attempts to correct night time breathing. But it’s only about 40% effective, improving the condition but not eliminating it, notes Dr. Belen Esparis of Mt. Sinai’s Sleep Center.

There are ways to treat sleep apnea without invasive surgery. These begin with a physician’s referral to a medical sleep remediation center, such as those at Mt. Sinai, the University of Miami or one of the Baptist Sleep centers. The patient spends the night, during which his sleep time status is monitored and his breathing pattern, limb movement and blood oxygen levels are analyzed. The recommended treatment is often a CPAP mask, which delivers properly regulated bursts of air into the airway during sleep, keeping it open. “They have become lighter and smaller,” notes Dr. Esparis.

The best cure, he advises though, is the one that “breaks the vicious cycle and normalizes the metabolism” — creating lifestyle changes that promote weight loss, restore hormonal balance and ensure a good night’s sleep.

 

Poor Sleep Kills Brain Cells

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Health Effects of Snoring, Snoring 101

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If your bed partner snores keeping you up through the night, you may also be burning out vital brain cells.

A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience established loss of sleep destroyed brain cells in mice making scientists/doctors suspect the same affect on humans.

The study conducted by the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania (in collaboration with Peking University) showed staying awake too long damages a brain cell which plays a key role in keeping us alert, sharp and awake. In the study mice were forced to mirror sleep conditions of late night or shift workers. Conclusion: agitated circadian rhythms led to the destruction of locus ceruleus brain cells.

This is the third study published within the past 12 months linking changes in the brain and lack of sleep.

Warning: Sleep Deprivation Risks Good Health

No one seems to be listening to the warning signals. College students encouraged to do “all nighters” in the library, young professionals feeling the pressure to work until 10PM to compete with their peers, workers volunteering for double shifts—all work longer hours at the expense of sacrificing sleep.

According to the Center of Disease Control (“CDC”) lack of sufficient sleep in America has reached “epidemic” proportions.

A CDC survey showed:

  1.     Of approximately 75,000 respondents 35% averaged less than seven hours of sleep per day and
  2.     48% admitted to snoring (often related to poor sleep).

If your partner’s snoring is keeping you awake at night, suggest a sleep study. Its time we recognize sleeping one or two additional hours per night will help us achieve healthier and more productive lives.

Poorly Funded Commutes Create Stress, Disrupt Sleep

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Beyond Snoring, Snoring 101

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In spite of throwing millions of dollars at potentially pointless projects, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has been reluctant to spend any money on the extremely popular Metro-North commuter line, according to a statement from State Senator Kevin Kelly. Recently, the governor announced a $10 million improvement effort for the line, but for the 60,000 commuters who spend hours each day getting from Connecticut to New York, this figure is not nearly high enough. In fact, it equates to a mere $166 per rider.

Long Grueling Commutes Affect Quality of Life

In a letter to the Darien Times, Elliot Royce, a frustrated commuter, explains how he quit his New York City job in exchange for a lower paying one in Darien, simply so that he would not have to commute on the dilapidated system. He explains that the long and relatively unsafe commute was keeping him away from his family in the evenings, and that arriving home so late prevented him from attending any local events. For Royce and thousands of other commuters, the extra strain caused by a long commute bleeds into the rest of their existence, and it negatively affects the overall quality of life.

Sleep Patterns Vulnerable to Stress

According to research from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, the long commute is especially hard on middle aged men whose sleep patterns are particularly vulnerable to stress. The stress from the commute can easily lead to insomnia, a common sleep disorder. The Franklin Institute reports that sleep disorders like insomnia are about more than just tossing and turning in the middle of the night. Sleep disorders are actually linked to serious problems like the following:

  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Schizophrenia

When paired with snoring, the stress caused by the North-Metro commute can really wreak havoc on a person’s emotional and physical life. The commute takes many workers so long that they have no time to exercise either before or after work. This, of course, leads to fat buildup and loss of muscle tone, two things that are linked to sleep apnea, a serious and potentially fatal condition related to snoring.

Families are Suffering

Sadly, the effects of a long, unfunded, and dangerous commute aren’t just felt by the commuter–they are felt by the entire family. For example, children who wait up past their bedtime to see their commuting parents also lose sleep, and whether they snore or not, lack of sleep in children is related to behavioral difficulties and emotional problems. Improving the North-Metro line will improve the quality of life of commuters, their children, and the community at large.

 

The Link between Snoring and Heart Disease

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Health Effects of Snoring

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From the rumbling snore to the rasping snore, snoring affects more than 90 million American adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF.) It affects men and women alike and can become more prevalent with age. The NSF reports that, “The two most common adverse health effects that are believed to be casually linked to snoring are daytime dysfunction and heart disease.” Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Link between snoring and heart disease

2013 study conducted by otolaryngologists at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital has determined that snoring actually is a bigger risk factor for heart attack or stroke than other common risks such as smoking, high cholesterol and obesity. Research doctors Robert Deeb and Karen Yaremchuk discovered that for some people, snoring can indicate carotid arterial damage. The carotid arteries transport oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Snorers may suffer changes in the carotid artery due to the inflammation/trauma inflicted by the vibrations of snoring, states Science Daily.

Snoring, sleep apnea and heart disease

During sleep, some snorers will stop breathing for brief moments. This is known as sleep apnea. Someone suffering from nightly snoring and sleep apnea may stop breathing as many as 30 times per hour, often waking the sleeper. Sleep apnea causes restless sleep and is linked directly to heart arrhythmia, stroke, high blood pressure and even heart failure, states the American Heart Association.

Snoring remedies and cures

For many snorers, their nocturnal noisiness is an annoyance. However, because of its link to heart disease it may be beneficial to consider various remedies or cures for snoring. Two of the easiest ways to reduce nighttime snoring is to limit your intake of alcohol and to lose weight. Other snoring remedies and/or cures include:

  • Use of a mouthpiece during sleep to open the airway allowing easier breathing
  • CPAP mask use: wearing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask can help alleviate moderate to severe sleep apnea
  • Switch from sleeping on your back to sleeping on your side
  • Elevating the head at least four inches to ease breathing constriction and allowing your tongue to fall forward keeping the airway clear

Lifestyle changes may also help with reducing nightly snoring. Don’t drink caffeine or eat heavy meals before bed and consider running a humidifier in the bedroom if your home is dry. Remember that snoring can be a serious issue and indicator of other health issues. Talk to your doctor about any concerns regarding your snoring.

 

Can Singing Be a Remedy for Snoring?

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Natural and Home Remedies

 

Throughout time there have been countless remedies for snoring however those who suffer from snoring still toss and turn night after night. ABC News points out that “snoring affects an estimated quarter to half of Americans.” Singing, the vocal exercise that typically generates wonderful sounds, is now being touted as a new cure for snoring. According to the Smithsonian article in January 2014, “The Cure For Snoring Is…Singing?,” vocal exercises used by singers have shown they can reduce snoring. Could singing in the shower or before bed time be the best medicine for snoring victims and their bed mates?

“Singing for Snorers”

Snoring is an illness that is bothersome at best, and it can have deadly consequences in terms of sleep apnea sufferers. However, thanks to choir director Alise Ojay, who was tired of hearing her husband Frank snore the nights away, there is now a promise in the field of music for treatment of snoring. In 1997 Ojay invented a revolutionary new music focus method called “Singing for Snorers,” which features a CD of vocal gymnastics. Particular sounds and pitch changes are practiced by snorers as a way to develop and strengthen their throat muscles. Ojay used the premise that the soft palate was too lax and allowing for loud vibrations, aka snores, to come out with every breath. By toning the palate the goal is to limit the amount of air breathed into the snorer’s passageway, thereby cutting back on the sounds of snores.

Other Remedies for Snoring

While “Singing for Snorers” uses exercises for internal muscles to reduce snoring, other remedies for snoring have been on the market for years. Breathing strips that look like thin strips of masking tape are applied to the outside of the nostrils to help hold them open during night. There are also sleep apnea machines that help patients with extreme snoring symptoms to get enough oxygen throughout the night, so to reduce the instance of snoring as well as sleep apnea.

Other remedies include sprays and washes that intend to expand the passageway of the nostrils, yet these typically come with warnings recommending not to use these nightly. While singing is one goal for treating a floppy palate, if this isn’t effective, the road to recovery doesn’t end quite yet. More severe treatment plans for a floppy palate as it relates to snoring is through laser surgery involving burning or cutting away from excessive skin. Before you resort, however, to such extreme measures, why not give “Singing for Snorers” a chance? At the very least, you may improve your singing abilities.

 

How to Stop Snoring On an Airplane

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Snoring 101, Snoring and Your Bed Partner

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Having to listen to someone snore is never fun. However, if that person is a stranger seated next to you on a trans-continental or trans-Atlantic flight, it’s even worse. You probably also don’t want to be the one snoring and offending all of the people seated in your cabin. How do you avoid snoring on an airplane? Below are a few tips:

 

 

How to avoid snoring on a plane

1. Consider an over-the-counter solution. There are a myriad of other-the-counter products that can assist with snoring. Some of the most effective and unobtrusive of these are Breath Right strips, plastic strips that fit snugly over the bridge of your nose and help to open up your nasal passages. Also helpful is SnoreEclipse, a small plastic band that attaches to the base of your nose and also helps to open up your nasal passages.

2. Stay well-hydrated. Airplane cabins have dry, recycled air that dries out a person’s nasal passages, making snoring worse. Avoid this by making sure to drink plenty of (non-alcoholic) fluids.

3. Keep your head elevated. Another way to help to keep from snoring on an airplane is to keep your head from drooping, not all that easy in today’s cramped airline seats. One product that can help with this is an anti snoring pillow. This device is easy to pack; easy to inflate and fits loosely around your neck, helping you to sleep more comfortably as well as avoid snoring.

4. Don’t recline. Keeping your head elevated also means reducing the degree to which you recline your seat. The more you recline your seat, the greater the chance that you’ll end up snoring. When you recline, your tongue can fall back and partially block your air passage, causing you to snore. You probably don’t want to sit upright for a six-hour flight. However, realize that the more you recline, the more you’ll probably snore.

5. Plan to stay awake. As a last resort, plan on staying awake during your flight. Bring books to read, correspondence to catch up on and/or DVDs to watch. You might be surprised how calm and peaceful a full plane can be when the majority of your fellow travelers are asleep.

Snoring on an airplane doesn’t have to be a concern. With a little planning and a few snoring aids, you can be assured that you–and those sitting around you–will get the rest they need while you jet through the sky.

 

The 10 Most Common Sleep Disorders

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Beyond Snoring

According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorder Research, it’s estimated that as many as 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders and an additional 20 to 30 million experience occasional sleep disruptions. There are several types of sleep disorders, and the causes and treatments vary for each one. Here’s a look at the 10 most common sleep disorders:

Insomnia

Insomnia is perhaps the most common sleep disorder, which simply consists of difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. There are many sub categories of insomnia, such as primary – where health conditions aren’t associated with it – or secondary insomnia – where health conditions are responsible for it. Insomnia can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic).

Restless Legs

Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, occurs in 2 to 5 percent of adults. It’s characterized by itching, aching and burning of the legs while falling asleep, creating discomfort.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when one’s upper airways are obstructed during the night, causing a temporary lapse in breathing. About 4 percent of men and 2 percent of all women suffer from sleep apnea, which can have dire health consequences.

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Narcolepsy

Although rare, narcolepsy is arguably the most dangerous sleep disorder. It occurs when someone experiences extreme sleepiness during the daytime hours, causing them to fall asleep without warning.

Sleep Walking

Sleep walking occurs mostly in children and consists of episodes of literally walking while still sleeping. It typically occurs within the first three hours of sleep and most episodes last 10 minutes or less.

Nocturia

Most common in older populations, this disorder is characterized by the sudden awakening during the night due to a sudden urge to urinate.

Sleep Talking

Also known as somniloquy, sleep talking is, well, when a person talks during their sleep. It’s a common disorder that’s typically not a medical concern. Sleep talking episodes usually last 30 seconds or less.

Bruxism

Bruxism is when one grinds their teeth as they sleep.

Circadian Rhythm Issues

Jet lag, shift work and pregnancy can all cause circadian rhythm issues, which are disruptions to a person’s internal body clock that regulate their daily cycle of activity.

REM Sleep Disorder

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, or RBD, occurs when normal activity that should be occurring during REM sleep is absent, thereby causing a person to act out – sometimes in violent fashion – his or her dreams.

Learn more about the effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders in our Snoring articles section!

Restless Leg Syndrome and Sleep Disorders

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Sleep Disorder News & Research, Snoring 101

How Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome Are Related to Sleeping Patterns

One of our goals here at Snoreworld has been to educate you about the dangers and health risks associated with snoring. Once you really begin to understand more about snoring, it’s overwhelming to think about all of the potential health implications – from strokes and cardiovascular issues, to diabetes, erectile dysfunction, cancer, and alzheimers. And that’s just for starters. Snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea also, a serious health condition. Our hope is that the more you know about snoring, the better off you’ll be.

How A Sleep Center Can Help You Battle Sleep Disorders

Written by Manny Erlich. Posted in Sleep Disorder News & Research, Snoring 101

In response to people becoming more aware of the serious health risks associated with sleep related breathing disorders (ie, sleep apnea) sleep centers are rapidly being built across the country to meet the growing demand.

A sleep center or sleep disorder clinic helps those suffering from sleep related problems. Patients will usually spend a night’s time at the center in order for trained physicians to diagnose any sleeping problems.

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