Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mothers and Sleep

Most mothers would agree that their sleep habits are a lot different than they were before having children. Lazy weekend mornings are a thing of the past and most find fewer hours to catch some shut-eye during the week, too. Sonia Cannon, of Jackson, can relate. Erin, her 7-year-old daughter, takes up most of her time in the evenings. “During the school year, after helping Erin with homework, preparing dinner and putting her to bed, I feel like my night has just begun for relaxation,” says Cannon. “Sleep is the last thing on my mind.” Moms are not alone. According to recent studies, Americans in general are getting less sleep than ever before. Up to one-third of Americans have symptoms of insomnia; sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are also common. Most untreated sleep disorders are associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and psychiatric problems. “Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep per night,” says Dr. Michael Rack, medical director for Somnus Sleep Clinic in Flowood. “That doesn’t change. Once we reach adulthood, our sleep needs remain the same.” Rack says that one hot topic in the news lately is the relationship between sleep and obesity. “Sleep deprivation defined as less than six hours of sleep per night, has been linked to weight gain,” adds Rack. Many moms have accepted lack of sleep as a fact of life. So how do you know if you have a real problem? Dr. Alp Baran, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, says that sleep disorders are more common than we think. “I tell people all the time that snoring is not normal,” he says. “If you snore, see your doctor for treatment.” Sleeping longer on weekends can be another sign of a possible problem. A mother of two teenagers and two college kids, Teresa Adams, of Madison, runs a busy household, volunteers at church and juggles graduate school every day. “I don’t get much sleep and my body is used to it now. I know it’s not a healthy lifestyle,” she says. Cannon says, “I have to make sure all of my daughter’s needs are met on a daily basis even if I’m tired from a long day at work.” Both women admit that a cup of coffee is often the only way they can jump-start the day. It can be quite a challenge to find time for those much-lauded eight hours between careers, carpool and mealtimes. Rack says set a sleep schedule and stick to it. “Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends, is important.” Both Baran and Rack agree that avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day, forgoing a heavy meal or strenuous exercise before bedtime, and banishing the television from the bedroom can also help women get to sleep faster and more restfully. Rack does note, however, that exercise earlier in the day can actually contribute to a good night’s rest. Additionally, Baran reminds moms that getting kids into a good bedtime routine will help moms rest easier. Rack and Baran also suggest that married couples ask their partners what they are doing during the night — snoring, tooth grinding, etc. “Share this information with your doctor to help him/her get to the root of the problem,” Rack adds. Most sleep disorders can be easily treated with medication, counseling, behavioral therapy or a combination of treatments. So rest easy!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thumb Ring for Sleep Apnea

I just learned that a reflexologist in Jackson MS is using "thumb rings" to treat sleep apnea. I found this add for "The Anti Snor Therapeutic ring" on the web:
From Florence Cardinal,Based on acupressure
Guide Rating -
The Anti Snor Therapeutic ring uses the concepts of acupressure to improve sleep. It's designed to reduce snoring, sinus problems and restless sleep.
Acupuncture/acupressureAcupuncture has been around for hundreds of years. Acupuncture without needles is called acupressure. Both work on the many meridians that run throughout the body carrying energy. The use of acupuncture or acupressure is said to clear stoppages of this energy.
The Anti Snor Therapeutic ring uses the concepts of acupressure to improve sleep. It's designed to reduce snoring, sinus problems and restless sleep. This is accomplished by wearing a ring that's crafted with tiny silver balls that apply light pressure to the base of the little finger of the left hand.

How the ring worksThis pressure stimulates acupressure points which, in turn, stimulate the meridian that leads to the small intestine, through the body to the heart. This meridian continues up the arm the face, jaw and head.
Stimulating this meridian frees the energy in the small intestine and heart meridians, and has a calming effect on the entire body. The It's excellent those suffering from stress induced insomnia

I don't think that it works.

Monday, August 14, 2006

CPAP use by Children

SAN JUAN, P.R. — Continuous positive airway pressure can be effective for obstructive sleep apnea in children, but parents must be persistent to ensure children's acceptance of the treatment, Dr. Ann C. Halbower said at a meeting sponsored by the American College of Chest Physicians.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is present in 2%–3% of children, and peaks at 3–6 years of age—which is also the peak age for adenotonsillar hypertrophy. The presentation depends on the age of the child: In the infant, it might present as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Toddlers with OSA will have hyperactivity, school-age children will have failure to thrive and poor school performance, and adolescents may present with obesity and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Adenotonsillectomy is the first-line therapy for children with OSA. When that is not successful, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can promote more ordered breathing during sleep and relieve OSA.
CPAP can be problematic in children, however. “It's very hard to take. Little kids don't like it, but there are things parents and physicians can do to help make CPAP more palatable,” said Dr. Halbower, who serves as medical director of the pediatric sleep disorders program at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Dr. Halbower recommended introducing the device slowly to minimize the fear factor. Put on the mask while the child is awake and doing an activity that is fun and pleasurable, she said.
The worst thing you can do is put the mask on while the child is asleep. “If they wake up and find themselves wearing the mask, they'll panic,” Dr. Halbower said
Another trick that can be used to make CPAP part of the child's normal bedtime routine, along with brushing the teeth and a bedtime story. Other children who use CPAP are wonderful ambassadors for the device and can help relieve anxiety with a show-and-tell. Videos are good for this as well.
Despite these efforts, some children will do everything to resist attempts to put on the mask. Many parents will remove the mask in response to their child's distress.
That is a big mistake, Dr. Halbower said, because it just strengthens the child's escape and avoidance behavior. Eventually, the parent gives up.
Behavioral training can help parents block or prevent their child's avoidance behavior by using brief verbal prompting, redirection to a specific task, and if necessary, physically blocking escape while gently guiding the child to remain in the situation.
The child's attempt to remove the mask must be physically interrupted and the mask replaced immediately every time the child removes it. She said these behavioral techniques are used in her clinic under the guidance of Keith Slifer, Ph.D., a behavioral psychologist. [The techniques] “have proved very successful,” Dr. Halbower said.
Parents should also plan for safety in children who cannot remove the mask during emergencies, Dr. Halbower cautioned.
Use a nasal mask instead of a full-face mask, or have an emergency pull string that can disengage the mask to prevent aspiration or asphyxiation if the child vomits.
It is important for parents to establish a consistent bedtime routine that lasts about 30 minutes, Dr. Halbower explained. Such a routine includes soothing activities, and it always ends with the child putting on the CPAP mask, lying down, and going to sleep.
“Persistence and patience are key,” she said.

Adenotonsellectomy usually cures childhood obstructive sleep apnea. However, many obese children with OSA will end up needing CPAP.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Traveling with CPAP

... tips to help CPAP users increase compliance while traveling:
Inform the airline about using CPAP therapy while onboard. Many airlines have strict policies regarding using CPAP therapy while in flight, but by calling beforehand, CPAP users can minimize the hassle that is sometimes involved with using a CPAP device while flying.
Use a battery-powered CPAP device
Bring an extension cord. Travel with extra filters.
Pack distilled water for humidifiers. Keeping a small bottle of distilled water in a container is an easy way for CPAP users to carry along the water needed for humidifiers, Larkin said.
From Sleep Review Magazine . I tried to find a picture of someone wearing CPAP on an airplane to illustrate this post, but apparently there is no picture like this on the internet.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Valerian for Insomnia

Valerian is a medicinal herb that may be useful in the treatment of insomnia. It is thought to increase the level of GABA in the synaptic cleft.
The National Sleep Foundation reports:
Herbal remedies are used around the world for a variety of ailments, including sleep disorders. For many years, sleep researchers have studied herbal compounds such as valerian in hopes of finding new treatments for insomnia and other sleep problems. Sold in the United States as a dietary supplement and loosely regulated by the FDA as a food substance, valerian is available in the form of a tea, tincture, capsule, or tablet. People try valerian as a natural sedative for nervousness and insomnia. With so many Americans suffering from insomnia - 54% report symptoms at least a few nights a week or more, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll – it’s no wonder that insomnia sufferers would seek out remedies.
But does valerian really work? The latest word comes from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in their recently updated and thorough fact sheet on valerian for the treatment of insomnia. It states that while evidence from some clinical studies suggests that valerian may be useful for insomnia, others do not. Also, in its State-of-the-Science Conference Statement on Manifestations and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults, NIH found that only non-benzodiazepine medications and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have evidence for safety and efficacy to support their use for the treatment of insomnia. This report also found that insomnia often occurs in association with other disorders, in which case, seeking medical treatment would be recommended over the use of self-treatments such as valerian.
NIH also warns, "Like drugs, herbal or botanical preparations have chemical and biological activity. They may have side effects. They may interact with certain medications. These interactions can cause problems and can even be dangerous. Before taking an herb or a botanical, consult a doctor or other health care provider-especially if you have a disease or medical condition, take any medications, are pregnant or nursing, or are planning to have an operation. Before treating a child with an herb or a botanical, consult with a doctor or other health care provider."

Here is the NIH fact sheet on valerian.