Snoring And Apnoea Blog

A New Study Finds That Sleep Deprivation Slows Down Your Brain

Posted on Mon, Feb 26, 2018

girl-2771936_960_720.jpgDid you know that feeling tired slows down our brain? Many doctors and researchers from across the world have been trying to uncover the mystery of sleep but how does sleep really affect our brain activity?

A study by Tel Aviv University finds that sleep deprivation causes individual neurons to slow down, leading to a delayed reaction time and eventually affects the brain's visual perception and memory associations.

This study led by Dr. Yuval Nir of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience; Prof. Itzhak Fried of UCLA, TAU and Tel Aviv Medical Center; and sleep experts Profs. Chiara Cirelli and Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that sleep deprivation results in a local interruption of sleep-like waves that disturb normal brain activity when performing tasks.

The study has recorded the brain activity of 12 epilepsy patients who had been kept awake all night. They were shown pictures of famous people and places and were asked to identify them as quickly as possible. Over 30 image experiments were conducted by the research team and revealed that 150 out of 1,500 neurons have clearly responded to the images. The data revealed that the tiredness from lack of sleep indeed slows down the responses of individual neurons, which leads to the brain giving slow, weak and sluggish responses.

Signs of sleep deprivationpexels-photo-269141.jpeg

Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can be harmful not only to you but to others as well. Here are some signs of sleep deprivation:

  • You’re always hungry
  • You’ve gained weight,
  • You’re making more impulsive decisions
  • You’re forgetful
  • You’re procrastinating more,
  • Your balance is way off,
  • You’re overly emotional,
  • Your immune system isn’t what it used to be

 

If you’re not getting 7-9 hours’ sleep each night, it’s important to identify the cause and do something about it. Try changing your lifestyle habits or visit your local GP to discuss sleeping problems or disorders. If you think the reason for your lack of sleep is more serious, take our free sleep self-assessment questionnaire.

Tags: sleep deprivation, brain

How Sleep Affects Male Fertility

Posted on Fri, Feb 09, 2018

pregnancy-pregnant-mom-dad.jpgDid you know that not getting enough sleep can greatly affect your sperm count? Studies have shown that sleeping in long and short durations are one of the major factors that affect male fertility.

A recent study by Medical Science Monitor has investigated the effects of sleep duration on 981 men aged 18-50 years. For 3 months they were monitored and analyzed and it was discovered that going to bed later than expected can actually reduce sperm count, motility, and survival.

Not only that, Journal of Sleep Research also revealed that the period of sleep may also affect the integrity of sperm DNA. The study has shown that men who had over 9 hours sleep a day had 41% of sperm with abnormal chromatin while men who had 6.5 hours or less sleep a day had 30% proportion of sperm with abnormal chromatin.

You see, sleep problems can cause a huge problem to your fertility and now is the time to finally put a stop to it. Do something about your sleep health and increase your fertility by doing the first step; finding out what’s the cause of your sleep problem.

 Factors that may cause sleep deprivation:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Hormone Imbalance
  • Illness
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Disordered Breathing - If you’re waking up every night, you probably have sleep apnea. Use our questionnaire to help you identify if this is the case.

Visit your local GP to find out the reason and solution for your difficulty in sleeping. You can also check out our tips to help improve your sleep or visit your doctor for advice.

Tags: sleep deprivation, fertility

OH&S Tips to Help Fight Sleep Deprivation at Work

Posted on Wed, Feb 07, 2018

sleep-deprivation-workOccupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is the key to a great environment in the workplace. It helps both employers and staff in decreasing injuries, illness, accidents and even death while working. But, did you know that sleep deprivation is also a major problem that your employees are facing today?

Not getting enough sleep can lead to low communication levels, poor performance, distractions, mistakes, bad moods and poor memory of your staff. Basically, it can greatly affect your employee’s productivity and your bottom line.

So, are your employees getting enough sleep? Well, you can help improve their sleep and wellbeing with these OH&S tips:

3 Tips to Help Your Employees Sleep More

  1. Lessen their workload

Try putting yourself in your employee’s shoes and ask yourself if their workload can be completed within the given working hours. Assess everything that can be done differently. 

  1. Set limitations

If possible, try to encourage your employees to go home on time or have a break. Let them enjoy their work by respecting their time off. Put a limit on overtime hours. And, check with your staff and lend a helping hand by assisting them or guiding them with their tasks. It can make a big difference.

  1. Encourage employees to seek help

If a staff member is struggling with sleep deprivation, sleep disordered breathing, insomnia, anxiety, depression or any other illness, encourage them to see a doctor.

So, try these tips in your workplace today. These seemingly small actions can help improve not only your employees’ work performance but also their wellbeing. And, helping them get even just an hour of extra sleep may make a big difference and lead to a happy and healthier bottom line.

Tags: sleep deprivation, oh&s

Sleep More Valuable Than Painkillers

Posted on Mon, Dec 03, 2012

Just two hours extra sleep per night can significantly reduce a person’s sensitivity to pain, according to a new study.

The findings, published in the journal ‘Sleep’, also revealed the effect was greater than was seen in a previous study where volunteers were given 60mg of codeine. 

Researchers studied 18 volunteers over four nights and found that those who slept for 10 hours were able to keep their finger on a heat source for 25 seconds longer than those who had eight hours or fewer.

The results, combined with data from previous research, suggest increased pain sensitivity in tired people is the result of their underlying sleepiness.

Dr Timothy Roehrs, of Henry Ford Hospital in the United States, said: "Our results suggest the importance of adequate sleep in various chronic pain conditions or in preparation for elective surgical procedures.

"We were surprised by the magnitude of the reduction in pain sensitivity, when compared to the reduction produced by taking codeine."

Researchers say this study suggests extended and good quality sleep reduces one's sensitivity to pain.  On the other hand, sleep deprivation increases an individual's sensitivity. 

Yet another good reason to give your sleep a high priority.

If you suffer from a sleep disorder or know someone who does, arrange a diagnostic sleep study (polysomnogram) to determine the nature and severity of the condition.  Call on 1300 246 637 or click below to talk with a friendly treatment coordinator.

Tags: Sleep and pain, sleep duration, sleep deprivation

Help Me Sleep!

Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2011

"Help me sleep!"  It's one of the common requests we hear patients make. 

In many cases, we find that the reason for their poor sleep is because they have an underlying and usually undiagnosed 'sleep disordered breathing' condition.  Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) includes conditions ranging from snoring (which in itself is a loud, clear signal that the airflow into the body while asleep is impaired) right through to very serious medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea (where the patient stops breathing frequently while asleep).

People suffering from SDB conditions, particularly the more serious ones, often complain of feeling tired when they wake and also during the day.  In many cases, the level of sleepiness is so great that they will regularly fall asleep in front of TV or when sitting around.  In some cases this happens during meetings.  In other cases it happens while sitting at the office desk.  In particularly worrying cases, it happens while the person is driving or operating machinery.

When SDB is the cause (as it very often is), the reason for the tiredness / sleepiness is because the body never properly rests and recuperates during the sleep period.  Snoring alone is enough to reduce blood oxygen levels, raise blood pressure and cause extra strain on the heart.  More severe conditions, such as sleep apnoea, lead to dramatic drops in blood oxygen levels and extraordinary strain on the heart -- which is why ischaemic heart disease is clearly linked to sleep apnoea.

Sleep apnoea, where the sufferer stops breathing for at least 10 seconds and up to 2 minutes at a time, happens many times per hour -- but the sufferer is never aware of the condition because it happens while they are asleep.  After each 'apnoeic event' the sufferer will experience a 'micro arousal' where they will wake very briefly while the body starts breathing again, but they will have no conscious awareness of ever having woken.

As a result, the undiagnosed SDB sufferer might think they're getting a solid 8 hours sleep through the night (for example), but the reality might be that they've actually experienced a hundred or more micro arousals during that time.  As a result, instead of getting solid, restful and regenerative sleep, the person is instead having a high number of very short and shallow naps. 

Waking tiredness is one of the first obvious indications of this problem.  By rights, we should wake feeling more rested and refreshed than we will feel at any other time of the day.  If we have had a sufficiently long period of sleep, but wake feeling tired, this indicates the quality of the sleep is poor.

Interestingly, when people go to their doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare providers and say "Help Me Sleep!", the typical solution (sleeping pills or some other type of sedative medication) often exacerbates the problem.  The problem is the sedative (whether it's prescribed, herbal or something like alcohol) will lead to a greater degree of relaxation in the muscles which keep our upper airway open.  As a result, the soft tissue of the upper airway (the tongue, soft palate, uvula and pharyngeal walls) can collapse into the airway -- thus causing the snoring noise or the apnoea.

Ultimately, if you find yourself saying "Help Me Sleep" or wishing for better quality sleep, the best first step is to arrange a diagnostic sleep study.  This can be done in the privacy and comfort of your own home and will determine whether an SDB condition exists, what type of condition it is, and what form of treatment would be best to deal with it.

To discuss or arrange a sleep study, call today on 1300 246 637.

If you have a question or comment to make about this issue, leave a note in the 'Comments' box below.  We'd love to discuss the topic with you.

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Tags: lack of sleep, sleepless, insomnia, can't sleep, help me sleep, sleep deprivation