Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sleep-disordered breathing & intimacy

Obstructive sleep apnea affects more than 12 million people nationwide. Daytime sleepiness and weight gain are usually the first symptoms that come to mind. Intimacy problems are an oft-overlooked aspect of untreated sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep apnea can cause erectile dysfunction in men and a loss of libido in women.

A recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine looked at the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in women with sleep apnea. A sample of 80 women diagnosed with sleep apnea and 240 women without the disorder completed questionnaires about sexuality. Findings show female patients with sleep apnea had much higher rates of sexual problems.

A similar study conducted in 2009 used questionnaires to examine the prevalence of erectile dysfunction and sexual problems in men with sleep apnea. Almost 70 percent of men diagnosed with sleep apnea had erectile dysfunction, compared to 34 percent without the sleep disorder.

Sexual dysfunction may be linked to sex hormones such as testosterone. These hormones rise with sleep and drop when sleep duration or quality is insufficient. Brief wakings from sleep apnea secretly wreak havoc on your sleep quality, which can lower hormone levels.

Before you turn to that ubiquitous little blue triangle for help, find out if sleep apnea is causing your sex problems. The easiest way to know for sure is by getting an overnight sleep study at an AASM-Accredited Member Sleep Center. Common treatments for sleep apnea such as CPAP or oral appliance therapy can improve your sleep quality and intimacy so you won’t need to take a pill every time you want to be intimate.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rock-a-bye Baby: Bedtime Advice for Moms

Moms have a new source of help for putting baby to sleep – the Internet. A yearlong review of the online Customized Sleep Profile shows that the advice given out there worked. Babies and toddlers – and their mothers – were able to sleep better as a result.

The Customized Sleep Profile has a database of sleep information stored in its memory. The information is separated into categories based on a child’s age. When a mom accesses the online program, she fills out a series of questions about her child and her child’s sleep habits. The program analyzes mom’s answers and finds comparable examples in its database.

Suggestions for improving the child’s sleep are based on these examples. The suggestions include things like following a regular bedtime routine, stopping night feedings, and answering fewer cries in the night.

The Customized Sleep Profile is available for free from Johnson & Johnson at 
http://www.johnsonsbaby.com/sleep .

To test the effectiveness of the Customized Sleep Profile, researchers sent surveys to 264 mothers who were using the online program. After three weeks, 90 percent of the moms said the Customized Sleep Profile was helpful and that they planned to continue using it. Their children were sleeping longer and waking up fewer times during the night, the moms said.

The moms also reported less tension, depression, fatigue and confusion because their babies were sleeping better.

A year later, researchers followed up with 171 of the moms still using the program. Their study was published in the Oct. 15 edition of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The results show that the Customized Sleep Profile continued to be a valuable resource.

Read more about this study, or additional blog posts about infants and toddlers. The AASM has more about children’s sleep needs on the Your Sleep website.

Photo By: David Clow

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Restless legs syndrome could up blood pressure in women

If you are a middle-aged woman with restless legs syndrome (RLS), you may be at a greater risk of high blood pressure.

A new study shows that women with RLS were 20 percent more likely to have high blood pressure. This risk increased with the frequency of RLS symptoms. High blood pressure was 41 percent more likely in women who reported having restless legs symptoms at least 15 times per month.
Results of the RLS and high blood pressure study were published online last month in the journal Hypertension.

RLS is classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. It involves an intense urge to move the legs. And it often involves other burning, prickly, itching or tingling sensations in the legs.

These symptoms begin or worsen during periods of rest or inactivity. And the sensations worsen or only occur in the evening or at night. Partial or total relief occurs by moving the legs, stretching or walking.

Find out more about treatment for restless legs syndrome. Read more about restless legs syndrome on the blog.

Photo By: Chapendra

Monday, October 10, 2011

Childhood obesity and bedtime preference

Childhood obesity rates are on the rise, as many children prefer video games and internet use to sports and other physical activities. Sleep habits can predict which children will spend more time in front of a screen.

A study published in the October issue of the journal SLEEP found a link between lack of physical activity and bedtime. Kids with late bedtimes and wake times have a higher risk of becoming obese, and are half as likely to engage in physical activity. This group is about three times more prone to exceed the recommended screen time for children.

Researchers examined the sleep habits of more than 2,000 Australian children from ages 9 to 16. Over four days, researchers observed the children’s weight and use of free time. Even though the subjects had different bedtimes, each received about the same amount of sleep per night.

“Scientists have realized in recent years that children who get less sleep tend to do worse on a variety of health outcomes, including the risk of being overweight and obese,” said study co-author Carol Maher, PhD. “[The study] suggests that the timing of sleep is even more important.”

The authors noted that mornings are more suited for physical activity, while night offers prime-time programming and social networking opportunities.

Teenagers tend to prefer late bedtimes because of a shift in the timing of their circadian clocks. Combined with early school start times, night-owl tendencies can also lead to sleep deprivation, behavioral problems and lower grades and test scores.

Learn why teens sleep habits are unique and how your circadian rhythms change as you age.

Image by Husin Sani

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Review: I See the Animals Sleeping

The Sleep Education blog invited Vicki Rakowski to review I see the Animals Sleeping: A Bedtime Story, a children’s picture book published in 2011 by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Vicki is assistant director of youth services for the Lisle Library District in Lisle, IL.

How does a lion sleep? A red fox? How about an elephant? With this new title from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, young readers will learn exactly how their favorite animals go about getting their rest.

The information is delivered simply – charmingly illustrated scenes of sleeping animals and their habitats juxtaposed with a four-line rhyme and a fact box. From flamingoes to platypuses, the scenes are elegantly done, but never overly arty -- it’s impossible not to smile at illustrator Roberta Baird’s rendition of a dozing sea otter.

The “Sleep Fact!” boxes offer lots of points for discussion -- the differences in the ways many animals prefer to sleep, as well as their ideal habitats, and wonderful details about the animals themselves, but this information is never overwhelming.

While the majority of the rhymes are pitch-perfect for both the audience and the subject matter, readers may find themselves stumbling here and there over a few forced lines. This book, however, offers solid, engaging nonfiction for toddlers and preschoolers about one of their favorite subjects: the animal kingdom.

This makes a great addition to any children’s collection, and will be a terrific support to early childhood educators in their lesson plans and circle time. Recommended for toddlers and preschoolers.

I See the Animals Sleeping: A Bedtime Story can be purchased from Amazon or directly from the AASM. Also available from the AASM is The Animals Sleep: A Bedtime Book of Biomes. Learn more about these books and find other educational resources at SleepEducation.com.