Sleep health is not just about sleep latency and insommnia.

Sleep health is very important in general health. We repair our bodies, sort our memories, retreat from everyday troubles.

Difficulty getting to sleep (sleep latency increased) and staying asleep get people complaining. Obstructive sleep apnea (apnoea in Australia) gets their partner complaining. It can be rather disturbing waiting for your loved one to start breathing again, wondering if it will happen.

Maybe they should complain more, as obstructive sleep apnoea is mostly undiagnosed.

One reason is that hypopnea episodes aren't as dramatic and account for a lot of the problem.

Obstructive sleep apnea indicators.

Are you a slow starter in the morning? People with OSA can be very slow starters, plus tend to drop off to sleep during the day very readily.
The Epworth sleepiness scale is commonly used to check on the latter.

High blood pressure is quite often caused or aggravated by OSA.

The wide range of conditions helped by the Patakara lip trainer shows how much trouble is caused by mouth breathingĀ¹.

They noted improvement in mouth breathing at night, various types of mouth and throat discomfort, snoring and OSA, peridontitis and loose teeth, asthma, facial wrinkles and double chin.

If you look in a mirror with your mouth open as widely as possible but tongue behind your lower teeth, what can you see? The Friedman tongue position grade describes this. If all you can see is the roof of your mouth, that is in keeping with OSA. If you can see the finger-like uvula dangling down in the midline, any OSA is likely to be less severe.

Testing for sleep health disorders at sleep centers.

This is hardly conducive to a good nights sleep, in an unfamiliar bed hitched up to all sorts of recording apparatus. It is the best way of testing however, and can reveal all sorts of disturbances in the different stages of sleep through the night.

It is expensive, so most people opt for wearing a more limited range of recorders for one night at home. The EEG is not included.

This is just testing for OSA, the most important disorder.

Lots of phone apps are now available to track sleeping.

When to consider having a test for sleep disorders.

Unrefreshing and restless sleep, especially if you snore.
Waking suddenly with a choking sensation.
Getting up at night to pass urine.
Sweating at night.
Muddled thinking in the daytime.
Feeling depressed.
Palpitations or chest pain at night.
High blood pressure.
Sexual dysfunction.
Your partner has heard you stopping breathing at night.

Lots of things are affected by lack of sleep.

Things like motor vehicle accidents2 and adolescent sports injuries3 are more frequent with less sleep. It would be a very long list.

A very thorough article on OSA can be read at the University of Maryland site.

Improving bodily repair processes during sleep

Breaking down of worn components of cells and replacement of whole cells, involve autophagy (disassembly of dysfunctional proteins) and apoptosis (programmed cell death.)

Eating early, getting to bed well before midnight and drinking water during the night if you wake, or immediately on awakening in the morning, can help these processes.

Preparing for sleep

Installing and using dimmer switches in living areas, installing f.lux on home computers, wearing blue blocker glasses in the evening can all help some people make the melatonin they need to get to sleep.


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References

1. Noro Akio et al Basic and Clinical Subjects of Myofunctional Therapy Using a New Oral Rehabilitation apparatus. Part 2 Evaluation of Chronological Changes of "Labial-Closure-Strength" from Youth to Adults. Japanese Journal of Conservative Dentistry 45 (5) 2002: 817-828

2. Risk of motor vehicle accidents is higher in people with sleep apnea.

3. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes.

Reduced breathing to the point where oxygen in the blood diminishes is called hypopnea as opposed to apnoea where breathing stops.



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EEG stands for electro-encephalogram, measurement of electrical record of brain activity via scalp electrodes.

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