Sleep and your memory

We cannot stress enough, the pivotal role sleep has on a person’s overall fitness and health levels. This is not just limited to physical health – sleep also has a great impact on mental wellbeing.

Research suggests that the average adult should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep, every night. And if they do so – not only can they expect to see a boost in their energy levels and mood, and benefits to their heart and weight; they can also expect to see an enhancement in their memory and mental capability.

According to researchers, people were better at remembering faces and names, they were seeing for the first time, when they got eight hours of quality sleep.

This research further supports the emphasis that should be placed on identifying and treating sleeping disorders, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

Although a person may think they are sleeping for 8 hours every night, they are not achieving the deep, quality sleep that is vital for our body’s rest and recovery. This is because throughout the night, an Obstructive Sleep Apnoea sufferer – will experience a number of apnoeas (breathing pauses) and hypopneas (breathing restrictions), which occur when their airway becomes obstructed. These pauses and reductions in a person’s airflow are preceded by snoring, and often followed by a choking/gasping sound – which indicates the brain is reacting to a drop in oxygen and is momentarily waking up. This can happen up to 100 times an hour across the night – and therefore a person experiencing this will never reach the deep, quality sleep that they need and will wake up feeling exhausted.

If you recognise any of the above issues in yourself, or a close friend or family member – then head to Intus Healthcare’s website, where they have invaluable information about Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, and the most effective treatment available, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).

How to stop snoring?

You or a partner are kept up throughout the night. You’re exhausted all day, every day. You have headaches and are often irritable. Well, your snoring is not something you should ignore. It could be an indication of something more serious going on.

Snoring occurs when the airway of the person sleeping narrows, and therefore the air that is passing through vibrates the tissue in the back of the throat. Sometimes, a person’s throat can narrow so much that the airway becomes completely obstructed (see picture) causing them to stop breathing altogether, sometimes hundreds of times per night. This is called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).  As well as extreme fatigue and irritability, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea has been linked to a number of other health conditions, including diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression and ADHD. If you snore, and experience similar issues to those stated above – do not ignore it – and take some steps to get to the root of the issue.

causes-of-snoring-normal-snoring-osa-intus-healthcare There are a number of steps that can be taken, with the aim to reduce snoring and symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
    People that are overweight, are far more at risk of experiencing and developing snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. This is because with an increase of weight, there is an increase in tissue – which will further add to the pressure, and potential obstruction, on a person’s airway. It is also worth mentioning, that maintaining a healthy weight, will also bring about a number of other health benefits.
  • Sleep on your side
    Sleeping on your side with relieve a lot of pressure from the back of your throat. Although it may not reduce the snoring altogether, it can often make the snoring a lot quieter, and easier for a bed partner to deal with.
  • Say NO to alcohol before bed
    Drinking alcohol will further cause the muscles and tissue in the back of the neck to relax, increasing the chance of snoring. Additionally, alcohol can also prevent a person from reaching the deep level sleep required to restore and repair. Although alcohol may help you nod off – it will harm the quality of sleep you achieve.
  • Clear your nasal passages
    Particularly during winter months, or if you are susceptible to colds, flu or hay-fever – the congestion in your airways could be contributing further to your snoring. There are a number of treatments available to help clear your passages before going to bed – and therefore reducing the risk of snoring. One of these treatments is called SinuPulse – which will clear out the nasal passage of mucus, bacteria and particles, using a saline solution.

In order to get tested for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – there are three options you can take.

  • Get diagnosed and treated by the NHS.
    While this is free, there are usually extremely long wait times for an initial sleep study, the results and the process to receive the CPAP equipment
  • Go to a private sleep clinic.
    They will assess you, give you a sleep study, and provide you with the CPAP equipment. Prices vary, but expect to pay between £1,000 to £2,000 for everything.
  •  Purchase an in home Sleep Study.
    You can purchase an in home Sleep Study from Intus Healthcare, for as little as £99. Results of these sleep studies take between 7-10 days, and once received – you are able to purchase relevant CPAP equipment. The Intus Healthcare team can also be with you every step of the way for advice and support.ihl_finger_pulse_oximetry_hand_on.jpg

Snoring and the associated health conditions – are increasingly becoming more and more recognised. Snoring can dramatically hinder the quality of sleep you achieve – which is vital to a person’s physical and mental functionality. Follow the above advice and see if you can find a solution to snoring – for your, and your bed partner’s sake!

How many hours of sleep do I need?

It is bizarre how much emphasis humans put on achieving a balanced diet and exercising regularly, in order to be considered a healthy human being. Yet, ensuring we achieve quality sleep – is always overlooked. Sleep should be prioritised as much, if not more, than a balanced diet and exercise; as a lack of quality sleep can hinder both your diet, and ability to exercise.

We need sleep to survive, and to perform simple daily tasks and functions.

Technology is sky rocketing, we are becoming more dependent on stimulants such as coffee and diet drinks, day to day life is becoming more and more instant and fast paced, and therefore, we need to make a conscious effort to ensure we, and the younger generations after us, are successfully achieving good quality sleep.

 Here is a general guide for the number of hours of quality sleep you should be getting every night:

  • New-borns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months):Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years):Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
  • Pre-schoolers (3-5):Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
  • School age children (6-13):Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17):Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25):Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64):Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+):Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

As can be seen, the number of hours of sleep required by a human, changes as they get older; but it cannot be argued that in this booming, fast-paced technology era – most of us are probably sleep deprived, and cannot even recognise the signs, and have little memory of what it felt like to be well rested.

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as interrupted breathing, snoring, sleepiness during the day, extreme fatigue, anxiety, depression, lack of sex drive, irritability, and frequent visits to the toilet during the night or waking with a dry mouth – there could be an underlying condition preventing you from achieving the quality sleep you crucially need – such as sleep apnoea.

What is Sleep Apnoea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is when breathing pauses and breathing restrictions repeatedly occur as your upper airway becomes obstructed. This is due to the relaxing of muscles and the subsequent collapse of the tissue surrounding the passageway. Generally preceded by snoring, these pauses and reductions in airflow are often followed by a gasping/choking sound as the brain reacts to the oxygen drop by momentarily waking you from your sleep. This can happen up to one hundred times every hour.

The whole process then repeats regularly as the person drifts off into a deeper sleep only to be aroused again soon after having another apnoea event. The individual is usually completely unaware of all this; rarely do they completely wake up but merely return to a lighter level of sleep. They then wake up still tired, having had little or no quality sleep

If you recognise any of these symptoms – then it worth seeking medical advice or sleep study from your GP or privately. There is treatment available for Sleep Apnoea, which could transform your sleep health, and overall well being. This is called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and has proved the most effective treatment for Sleep Apnoea.

Sleep is invaluable, and should be prioritised alongside eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.