Alaska Sleep Education Center

Benefits Of Using Sleeping Aids To Improve Your Quality Of Rest At Night

Posted by Guest Blogger on Mar 30, 2020 10:17:02 AM

Sleep is essential, but not everyone can easily fall and stay asleep every night. In fact, over 70 million people in the United States suffer from at least one sleep disorder. This can become the reason why they regularly lose sleep and, eventually, damage their overall health and wellness. 

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Topics: insomnia, sleep disorders, melatonin, sleep aides

Narcolepsy: Definition, Symptoms, & Treatment

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Mar 14, 2020 10:01:00 AM

Most of us go through our daily lives within one of two states of consciousness: sleep and wakefulness, with little overlap between the two. We may periodically become tired or rundown during the day, and need a little nap to refresh us. We may even doze off occasionally during a boring lecture or a dull movie. But for the most part, when we're awake, we're awake, and when we're asleep, we're asleep.

Now try to imagine what it would be like to live with a condition in which you rarely ever felt fully awake and hardly ever felt fully asleep; existing in a perpetual state where your life always feels caught in between the two, and without a moments notice may suddenly slip from one to the other. For sufferers of the sleep disorder narcolepsy, this is daily life.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, sleep disorders, Narcolepsy, tired

5 Strange and Terrifying Sleep Disorders

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Mar 2, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Sleep is supposed to be that blissful part of our day where we allow our bodies and minds time to relax so that they can repair themselves leaving us energized and ready to tackle the next day. For some people with certain rare sleep disorders however, strange things happen during sleep. Things so strange that they can be at best terrifying for the sufferer, and at worst, deadly.

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Topics: sleep disorders

Sleep Disorders and Aging

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Feb 5, 2020 7:44:00 AM

Sleep disturbances are very common in older people.

Are you one of millions of seniors in the US who think life would be pretty good... if you could just get some sleep?

Changes in sleep patterns may be a normal part of aging, but many other factors common in older people contribute to sleep problems. These include physical illness or symptoms, medication side effects, changes in activity or social life, and death of a spouse or loved one. 

Sleep disorders decrease quality of life in older people by causing daytime sleepiness, tiredness, and lack of energy. Poor quality of sleep also can lead to confusion, difficulty concentrating, and poor performance on tasks. Sleep disorders also are linked with premature death. The biggest sleep problem in older people is a feeling of not getting enough sleep (insomnia) or not being rested.

  • Many take longer to fall asleep than they did when younger.
  • Elderly people actually get the same amount of sleep or only slightly less sleep than they got when younger, but they have to spend more time in bed to get that amount of sleep.
  • The sensation of insomnia often is due to frequent nighttime awakening. For example, older people tend to be more easily wakened by noises than younger people.
  • Daytime napping is another cause of nighttime wakefulness. Older people are more likely to be sleepy during the day than younger people, but too much sleepiness during the day is not part of normal aging.

Normal sleep has different stages that cycle throughout the night. Sleep specialists classify these as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep.

  • REM sleep is the stage in which muscles relax most completely. Dreaming occurs during REM sleep.
  • Non-REM sleep is subdivided into stages. Stages 1 and 2 constitute light sleep and stage 3 is called deep sleep. Deeper sleep generally is more refreshing.

Sleep changes with age. Older people are less efficient sleepers and have different patterns of sleep than younger people.

  • The duration of REM sleep decreases somewhat with aging.
  • The duration of stage 1 sleep increases, as does the number of shifts into stage 1 sleep. Stages 3 decreases markedly with age in most people, especially men. In people aged 90 years or more, stage 3 may disappear completely.

Among older people, women are more likely to have insomnia than men. More than half of people older than 64 years have a sleep disorder. The rate is higher among long-term care facility residents.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, sleep disorders, seniors

5 Most Effective Central Sleep Apnea Treatments

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Jan 18, 2020 1:10:00 AM

Unlike sleep disorders that are easier to diagnose and understand, central sleep apnea (CSA) can be baffling.

CSA patients might not snore, may be at their ideal weight, and may have not had a history of sleep disorders yet still find themselves with the condition characterized by pauses in breathing many times during the night.

Central sleep apnea is a neurological condition—in other words, the brain is not sending the correct signals to the respiratory system to keep breathing while the patient sleeps. Sometimes another medical condition causes CSA; sometimes, pain medication can lead to it; and sometimes, the apnea occurs for no known reason.

Whatever the cause, treatments are available for central sleep apnea. Here five of the most effective ways to help the CSA patient:

Central Sleep Apnea Treatments

  1. Treating the medical condition that is also causing central sleep apnea. Congestive heart failure or the aftermath of a stroke can interfere with night-time breathing and lead to CSA. The solution here is simple: Treat the heart failure or the stroke and the apnea will likely subside.
  2. Cutting back or eliminating the use of opiods. Studies have proved that more powerful pain medications such as morphine, codeine and oxycodone can cause central sleep apnea. Reducing the dosage or not taking them altogether can help, but discussing this option with your doctor and with a sleep specialist is important. Pain medications do just that—help with pain, and trying to fix the apnea might not be worth additional suffering when you are awake.
  3. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). More commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a CPAP device can also help CSA sufferers, particularly those who are recovering from heart failure. With this treatment, the patient wears a mask that continuously delivers a constant pressure of air to the lungs, thus countering any inclination the body might have to pause breathing.
  4. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP). This is another treatment used for OSA sufferers that can be effective for central sleep apnea patients. Similar to a CPAP mask, a BPAP device adjusts the amount of air delivered to the lungs depending on whether the patient is inhaling or exhaling.
  5. Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). Yet another device that uses a mask, ASV goes one step further by continuously detecting and adjusting to the patient’s breathing needs and delivering the correct amount of oxygen. If the user is breathing fine, the device reduces the air it provides. It the patient’s breathing begins to pause, ASV increases the oxygen.
  6. Phrenic Nerve Stimulation.  Phrenic Nerve Stimulation is a new FDA-approved therapy for moderate to severe central sleep apnea in adult patients.  Phrenic nerve stimulation is delivered by a pacemaker-like implantable device that stimulates a nerve in the chest (phrenic nerve) to send signals to the diaphragm to control breathing.  It monitors respiratory signals while you sleep and helps restore normal breathing patterns. Because the device is implantable and turns on automatically during sleep, it does not require wearing a mask.


    Phrenic nerve stimulation allows normal breathing to resume by stabilizing carbon dioxide, preventing apneic events and the subsequent period of rapid breathing.


     

    Of course, the most effective treatment will vary from patient to patient, so discussing these options with a sleep specialist is crucial in determining how best to alleviate central sleep apnea.

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Topics: obstructive sleep apnea, sleep disorders, CPAP, BPAP

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