Effective Solutions for Snoring

A woman giving a frustrated look to a snoring man next to her in bed.Snoring is a common occurrence for millions of people while they sleep. Many people might not even realize how often they snore, or that they do so at all. For most, snoring is harmless; however, it can potentially be disruptive for anyone who’s trying to sleep in the same room as someone who snores, depending on how loud or frequent it is. Additionally, snoring can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. 

If you snore, the first thing you should do is mention it to your doctor to rule out any potentially related medical problems. In certain cases, it can be linked to sleep apnea, which causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep. This can cause you to feel as though you didn’t sleep enough, even if you got a full night’s sleep. People who have sleep apnea also generally snore more loudly than people who do not. Other factors that can contribute to snoring include: 

  • Obesity
  • Nasal congestion
  • Alcohol and certain medications
  • A deviated septum
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Being assigned male at birth
  • A family history of snoring

If your doctor has ruled out the possibility of a serious underlying medical condition, there are several steps you can take to make your snoring quieter, less frequent, or both. Some of these approaches include:

  • Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Decreasing your consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Changing your sleeping position

If any medical issues are contributing to your snoring, talk to your doctor to determine whether these solutions may help you:

  • Cold and allergy medications
  • Nasal strips
  • Mouth guards designed to keep your jaw in its proper position while sleeping

If you’re concerned that your snoring may be a sign of a medical problem, you can receive treatment from the ear, nose, and throat specialists at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7110.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Insomnia

woman having difficulty sleeping Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall or stay asleep.  According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, It is estimated that 30% of adults living in the United States experience symptoms of insomnia.

Insomnia can be categorized into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is not linked to any other health conditions. In contrast, secondary insomnia can be caused by underlying health conditions or medication side effects.

Symptoms of insomnia may vary and can last for a short time ( a few days or weeks), or they can be chronic occurring at least three times per week and lasting more than three months.   Insomnia symptoms can include:

  • Having a hard time falling asleep at night
  • Trouble staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Tiredness or sleepiness during the day
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

Longterm sleep deprivation caused by severe or chronic insomnia can lead to the development of complications such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Stroke

Getting good quality sleep is crucial for our mental and physical health.  There are a few things that we can do to improve our quality of sleep. They include:

  • Setting and following a sleep schedule
  • Avoid using electronic devices before bed
  • Avoid eating heavy meals late in the day
  • Avoid the consumption of foods or beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine before bed

If you are experiencing long-term insomnia symptoms that are affecting your ability to do daily activities, you should speak with a doctor. A sleep specialist can conduct a series of tests to determine the cause of sleep deprivation and create a treatment plan.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sleep Awareness Week

The keys to a healthy lifestyle are eating right, exercising, and getting adequate sleep. While we give a great deal of attention to the first two, the importance of a good night’s sleep is often overlooked. March 12th through the 18th  has been designated Sleep Awareness Week, the 25th Anniversary of this event.  Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) want to raise awareness and educate the community about how important sleep is to each and every one of us. 

There are many health benefits that sleep can provide. Sleep aids our heart, brain, lungs, and muscles to function properly.  Additional benefits include:

  • Improved immunity
  • Decreased pain
  • Increased alertness
  • Lower risk of injury
  • Improved memory
  • Better mood

The NSF recommends that adults receive seven to nine hours of sleep each night. They also provide the following tips to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule with the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritualTry to separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress, or anxiety; a lot of which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Napping may help you during the daybut it can interfere with your ability to sleep at night
  • Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages at least five to six hours before bed.
  • Exercise dailyVigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
  • Evaluate your sleep environmentRemove any noisy distractions, eliminate bright lights, and set a comfortable temperature to optimize your sleep.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and  Make sure your mattress is supportive.

If you still have trouble falling asleep or getting a restful night’s sleep, you should speak with your doctor as there may be an underlining medical issue. Jamaica Hospital operates a state-of-the-art sleep center that can help diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders. For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Blue Light Affect Sleep?

Devices such as smartphones, laptops, and smart televisions emit blue light, which is a color on the light spectrum that’s visible to the human eye. Blue light also contains the highest level of energy on the light spectrum.

While blue light may offer benefits when utilized during the day, such as helping to boost attention and mood, it can cause several problems when used at night. The most common is interfering with our sleep cycles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to blue light emitted from devices used at night can make it difficult for us to fall asleep or can wake us up too early.

Blue light has this effect because light plays an essential role in aligning circadian rhythms, which is the body’s internal clock that helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles. The CDC explains that the “body’s circadian clock responds to light, as a signal to be awake, and dark, as a signal to fall asleep.”

Blue light stimulates the part of our brain that makes us alert and it suppresses the body’s secretion of melatonin; the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Exposure can trick our brains into thinking it’s daytime even when using devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops at night.

To prevent this problem, and reduce the risk of blue light exposure, the Sleep Foundation recommends:
• Turning off electronics two to three hours before bedtime
• Dimming the lights on electronics or using night mode
• Using smartphone or computer applications designed to reduce the emission of blue light
• Using an eye mask to sleep if you are unable to turn off or dim certain light sources

Creating a healthy sleep environment can help us to achieve the rest our bodies need to reenergize and heal. This involves making sure that lights do not interfere with our sleep.

To learn more about creating a healthy sleep environment, or to speak with a specialist about sleep-related health problems you may be experiencing, please schedule an appointment with Jamaica Hospital’s Sleep Center by calling 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of sudden unexpected infant death, typically affecting babies between one month and one year of age. The cause of SIDS is unknown, but it occurs most frequently in children aged between one and four months, typically while they’re sleeping.

It can be difficult to properly diagnose SIDS as a cause of death in many cases due to the fact that it’s often only determined once other potential causes of death have been ruled out. Although its frequency has drastically decreased in recent years, it still remains a serious threat to newborn children.

Most SIDS deaths occur in boys during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons. Babies that are most often affected are also premature or underweight, have a sibling that died due to SIDS, live in a household with people who smoke, and often sleep on their stomach or side on a sleeping surface that’s too soft. Many of these babies may also overheat during sleep.

Additionally, certain risk factors are linked to a child’s mother, including childbirth at under 20 years of age, smoking while pregnant, and receiving minimal prenatal care.

The best way to prevent SIDS is to eliminate as many of these risk factors as possible. You can:

  • Make sure the baby sleeps on their back
  • Remove soft surfaces, such as fluffy blankets and toys, from sleeping areas
  • Prevent smoking in the presence of the baby and the household in general
  • Breastfeed your baby or provide the closest possible alternative, such as donated milk or formula

If your baby becomes unresponsive during sleep, please dial 9-1-1 to get emergency medical assistance immediately.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Melatonin Sleep Aids: Risks and Benefits

The use of melatonin sleep aids has grown in popularity.  Although taking these supplements for short-term use and in accordance with a doctor’s guidance is generally safe- misusing them can lead to harmful health effects.

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies to help regulate our sleep-wake cycles.  However, some people may choose to take lab-made melatonin as supplements because their bodies do not produce enough of the hormone, or they are having difficulty falling asleep or staying awake.

When taken safely, melatonin can offer multiple health benefits.  Research suggests that melatonin supplements may help provide relief from several sleep problems such as insomnia, jet lag or shift work sleep disorder.

Melatonin supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); therefore, there is not much information available on safe or best dosages.  This is why it is highly advised to consult a physician before using melatonin due to the risk of developing potential side effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Mild tremors
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Low blood pressure

Certain medications are known to interact with melatonin and pose health complications.  Interactions can occur with the following types of drugs:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Contraceptive drugs
  • Epilepsy medications
  • Diabetes medications

Before taking melatonin as a sleep aid, please speak with your doctor. If you are experiencing problems sleeping such as insomnia or other disorders, a sleep specialist can help you to explore the best treatments for your health.  To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Importance of Sleep in Children

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of children (4 months- 17 years) living in the United States, get less sleep than what is recommended for their ages.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:

• Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours

• Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours

• Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours

• Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours

• Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours

A lack of sleep can affect children in several ways. Children who do not receive adequate sleep are at a higher risk for developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, and obesity.  Sleep deprivation can also contribute to the development of behavioral or academic problems.

There are several ways parents can help children achieve a good night’s sleep. This includes:

  • Turning off devices at least an hour before bedtime
  • Ensuring beds are comfortable
  • Creating a consistent bedtime routine (changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Establishing and keeping a consistent sleep schedule (This includes weekends and vacations)
  • Keeping children from going to bed hungry or too full
  • Avoiding scary movies, books or television shows before bed
  • Helping to alleviate bedtime fears or anxieties by talking about them and providing comfort

It is important that children receive adequate sleep as it is beneficial for their overall health and development. If your child is consistently having problems falling or staying asleep despite practicing healthy sleep hygiene, you should consult a doctor.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Holiday Stress Affects Sleep

There are countless things we need to get done during the holidays. In our minds, we are constantly checking off items on our lists and thinking about future tasks to tackle.  Often our stress levels increase as a result of trying to juggle it all.

Elevated stress levels can have a negative effect on our health, specifically our quality of sleep. Stress causes many people to lose hours of much-needed rest, as they lie in bed worrying. Lack of sleep, in the short term, can affect concentration, mood, and increases the risk of serious accidents and injury. Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Getting a good night’s sleep can reduce the effects of stress. Here are a few tips to help you manage holiday stress and get some rest:

  • Eat a healthy diet- During the holidays we tend to indulge in foods that are unhealthy. Foods that are rich in fat and sugar can make us feel lethargic and make our bodies less capable of combatting stress. Additionally, what you eat during the day can affect how you sleep at night. High- fat and high-sugar meals can lead to indigestion and a night of tossing and turning.
  • Delegate responsibilities- Sometimes our holiday to-do lists are overwhelming. Ask friends and family to help you by taking some of your responsibilities off your plate.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques- Practicing techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help you to relax and improve sleep.
  • Exercise- All forms of exercise help the brain to release feel-good hormones such as endorphins which can help combat stress.  Studies have shown that exercise also improves sleep.

The holidays are a busy time of year; however, it is highly advised that you carve out time to get adequate sleep.  Getting your daily recommended amount of sleep not only helps you to reduce stress but also benefits your overall health.  If a lack of sleep is affecting your health, you should speak with your doctor. To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital, please call, 718-206-5916.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips To Properly Maintain Your CPAP Machine

For those living with sleep apnea, the decision to get a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device is a valuable investment in your health.

Jamaica Hospital, sleep center, sleep apnea, CPAP machine

A CPAP machine works by sending a constant flow of airway pressure to your throat to ensure that your airway stays open during sleep, effectively treating the spontaneous pauses in breathing.

Although these machines can improve your quality of sleep and overall health, it is important to keep in mind that failure to properly maintain them can increase your chances of developing other types of illnesses.

Your CPAP machine consists of a cushioned mask, tubing or hoses, humidifier chamber and filter. You directly breath in air that’s circulated through it, so failing to clean each of these components regularly will not only decrease how well it functions, but can also lead to health complications, such as:

  • Bacteria exposure
  • Mold exposure
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Possible increased risk for sinus infections or pneumonia

Cleaning your CPAP machine is fairly easy and inexpensive. The following are some tips to help you properly maintain it.

  • Before cleaning any parts of your CPAP device, be sure to unplug it.
  • Clean the mask and cushion – the parts that touch your face – daily with warm water and mild dishwashing detergent. The mask should then be left to air dry before reusing.
  • Replace the water in your heated humidifier chamber daily. Do not allow this water to sit for extended periods of time, as bacteria love a warm, wet place to grow.
  • Only use distilled water in your humidifier to avoid hard mineral deposits.
  • Take apart the machine and thoroughly clean all components, including hoses, filters, and the chamber at least once per week.
  • Read the manufacturer’s recommendations for filter replacement

Following these guidelines will not only extend the life of your device and improve its effectiveness, but more importantly help keep you healthy.

If you think you have sleep apnea and would like to make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Sleep Center, please call 718-206-5916.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What Is Sleep Apnea

America’s expanding waistline may be responsible for another growing problem in our country – sleep apnea. Approximately 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and many of them are overweight or obese. In fact, the most common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in adults is obesity.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep. People with this condition often have trouble staying in a deep sleep because their throats close, blocking their airways. As a result, they partially awaken to start breathing properly. They don’t realize they’re waking up and may become very sleepy during the day.

Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even death. People with sleep apnea are also at an increased risk of work and driving-related accidents, due to inadequate sleep at night.  It’s important that anyone with signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea — especially loud snoring, repeated nighttime awakenings and daytime sleepiness speak with a physician.

Fortunately, sleep apnea is treatable. Making an effort to lose weight is the best way to help people sleep better. Recent studies have proven that weight loss can significantly improve and potentially eliminate obstructive sleep apnea symptoms in obese individuals. If, however, weight loss attempts are not successful, a common and effective treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), where patients wear a mask connected to a machine that blows air into the throat, keeping it open while they sleep at night.

If you believe that you have sleep apnea, it is imperative that you get tested. Speak with your doctor and request a referral to a sleep center so experts can perform an overnight sleep study. Jamaica Hospital operates a three-bed, fully private, sleep center. For more information, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.