Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Study Shows That Changes in Your Sleep Schedule May Help You Lose Weight

A study led by Bruce Bailey, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young, followed 300 female college students ages 19 to 26 who were given activity trackers to monitor their movements and activities including waking and sleeping times. The participants were assessed for body composition before and after the one-week study period. Although previous research has shown that not sleeping enough can have an effect on weight, the new study found that consistency in sleeping times can influence body fat.
Researchers found that:
  • Less than 6.5 hours of sleep or more than 8.5 hours of sleep was linked to higher body fat
  • High quality sleep was associated with lower body fat, while poor sleep correlated with higher body fat
  • Consistent wake times and going to sleep at the same time every day (particularly the consistent wake time) were most strongly linked with lower body fat
The study also suggested that "better" sleep - periods of sleep characterized by efficiency, consistency and duration - is associated with more routine physical activity. Katz cautioned, however, that this study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between sleep and weight.

 The difference in body weight was greater with more variation in sleep pattern. Women whose sleep patterns varied by 90 minutes a night had higher body fat than those whose sleep varied by 60 minutes or less on average. Body fat also varied with sleep quantity; women who slept between 8 and 8.5 hours a night had the lowest body fat. The greatest effect was seen in women who woke up at the same time every morning seven days a week.

Although this was a small, short duration study with study participants selected from a limited pool (only young, only college educated, etc.) and was not blinded or controlled, other studies have shown that sleep has an effect on physical activity, appetite, and the hormones that control appetite and metabolism. According to those studies skimping on sleep boosts production of ghrelin, (a hormone that controls food cravings) and decreases production of leptin, (a hormone that helps prevent over-eating). A body of research conducted over the last few years that ties quality and quantity of sleep to weight loss and better weight control included a randomized trial published in the journal Obesity which found that among overweight and obese women ages 35 to 55 engaged in a weight loss programs, getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep increased the chance of weight loss success by 33 percent.

While  researchers don’t know exactly how sleep schedules affect body mass and fat, consistent sleep patterns are part of good sleep hygiene. Click here to learn more about improving your sleep and the importance of sleep hygiene.

The report was published online in the November issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Forbes;Change Your Sleep Schedule To Lose Weight, Study Shows; Melanie Haiken,11/21/2013
Steady Sleep Schedule May Help Keep Weight Off;; Steven Reinberg, 11/21/2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Don't let Snoring Break Your Heart!

For years people have thought of snoring as nothing more than a simple annoyance during the night: snoring is so common that we do not view it as a medical problem. Recent statistics suggest that this seemingly simple noise problem may in fact increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and daytime sleepiness.

Snoring typically occurs when the tongue and throat muscles relax during sleep causing the airway space in the back of the throat to narrow. Breathing through a narrow airway causes a vacuum that pulls on the throat's soft tissue causing it to vibrate, which creates the snoring sound. This vacuum in the throat also spreads to the chest where the heart is located, causing a strain on the heart and the possibility for oxygen in the bloodstream to drop to dangerously low levels. When these factors occur night after night, year after year, they instigate the problems listed above. Additionally, new studies have also shown OSA causes increased insulin resistance resulting in poorly controlled diabetes.
Studies have demonstrated that in many people, snoring can cause an increase in chest pressures which can influence blood flow in the heart and lungs. This may be the cause of some of the medical problems in people who snore.

CSMA's sleep centers throughout Greater Houston provide treatment to patients sufferering from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea disorders. For more information on how to stop snoring and obtain help for sleep apnea call us today at (281) 407-6222.

Many people who snore have another problem known as sleep apnea. Apnea is a Greek word, which means, "want to breathe." People with obstructive sleep apnea have pauses in their breathing while asleep. These pauses in breathing occur when the airway collapses during sleep. After a few seconds the person briefly awakens, frequently producing a grunting, gasping, or snorting sound.
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in obese people and more common in men, but it is not just obesity that can cause this problem. People with a small jaw, large tongue, or large tonsils are at higher risk of having this problem as well. In fact, any condition which can narrow the opening in the back of the throat or possibly the nasal passages can increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
It is important to know the consequences of this problem if left untreated. Some of the more common problems associated with obstructive sleep apnea are excessive daytime sleepiness and an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke.

What can someone do if they want to know if they have Sleep Apnea?

See your physician and ask about being referred to a sleep disorders center. This is a special testing facility that evaluates people for sleeping problems. If your doctor does not feel this is necessary, don't be discouraged. Most physicians have not been taught very much about sleep medicine in medical school and therefore may not recognize this problem in their patients. Be persistent. You can be seen by a sleep specialist and, if needed, a sleep study can be performed on you during the night.

What can be done if a person snores or has Sleep Apnea?

The most effective treatment to date for sleep apnea is called nasal CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). An individual wears a mask on their nose at night that administers air pressure, keeping the upper airway open. This allows the individual to breathe throughout the night without repetitive awakenings. If a person only snores and does not suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, then CPAP is not the appropriate treatment.
Dental appliances have been used for snoring. Sometimes these devices can also prevent apnea as well. Studies have demonstrated that dental appliances work for snoring and sleep apnea, but not in all patients. Surgery has been used to treat these problems. The most frequently performed surgery is a procedure where the soft tissue in the back of the throat including the uvula is cut away or reduced in size with a new microwave needle or a laser. Although this may work well for snoring, unfortunately most patients who have sleep apnea are not adequately treated with these procedures. There are other more extensive surgeries that can be performed for sleep apnea.

A sleep specialist who is very familiar with these procedures should explain them to you. If you snore at night and think you might have sleep apnea, contact your doctor. If your doctor is not familiar with this type of problem, have him or her contact us directly.
For more information on Snoring, Sleep Apnea and treatment options in the greater Houston area, visit