I recently heard a fascinating segment on NPR’s This American Life about what it’s like to sleep on the International Space Station. IN 2011, NASA’s Dr. Cady Coleman lived aboard the ISS for more than five months. Her description of sleeping with no gravity is truly fascinating. For example, pillows don’t have meaning. She’s asked what happens if you drool in your sleep. After contemplating the nature of drooling, she concludes that it wouldn’t happen in zero gravity because the pooling of saliva wouldn’t happen, and drooling down your cheek is simply impossible. It’s kind of like that scene with Sandra Bullock in the movie, Gravity, when she starts to cry and the tear floats off as a spherical blob.
This got me thinking about sleep apnea in outer space. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused when the muscles of the upper airway relax during sleep and the soft tissue blocks the airway.
Originally posted by Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY 10:28 a.m. EDT November 2, 2013
Sleep apnea affects an estimated 5% to 10% of Americans
and is undiagnosed in most of them. It can also lead to
obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and heart
For 30 years, Bob Bleck of Mentor, Ohio, snored nearly every night and napped nearly every day.
Finally, his wife got fed up and made him see a doctor. He was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which people stop breathing for short periods, disrupting their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night.
Sleep apnea used to be seen as a mere annoyance, but in the past decade or two, it has become clear that it can be life-threatening — both to the person with the condition and others on the road.
The Didgeridoo is a wind instrument that is a hollow tube made out of anything from PVC pipe to eucalyptus wood (material used by the Aborigines in Australia from whom this instrument originates). To play it requires no particular knowledge of or ability to read music but does require learning how to make the resonant and comforting drone sound. Most people can get the initial sound fairly easily though production of the sound requires a certain amount of relaxation of the jaw and face.
Additionally, playing didgeridoo requires “circular breathing.” Circular breathing is a musical technique to keep the drone constant without the player having to stop to take a breath. (saxophonist Kenny G is famous for playing a sustained E-Flat for 45 minutes via circular breathing in 1997). A side-effect of learning this technique is the strengthening of the muscles in the mouth and back of the throat, the section of the upper airway that often collapses for people with obstructive sleep apnea.
Originally posted in MedTrade on November 04, 2013
ST. LOUIS – An effort to desensitize patients to CPAP masks may ease the transition for patients and ultimately boost compliance. The small-sample “exposure therapy” pilot study concluded that patients were able to significantly increase the number of minutes per night on CPAP after the desensitization program.
As reported in MedPage Today (originally at the CHEST Meeting in St. Louis), some patients who had been unable to tolerate the treatment, mostly because of an inability to wear the mask properly, were able to significantly increase the number of minutes per night on CPAP.Reporter Kristina Fiore reports that Patricia Dettenmeier, MSN, of Saint Louis University, and colleagues, deemed CPAP desensitization a “potential therapy for patients with obstructive sleep apnea and claustrophobia or mask intolerance even after several years of non-use or inadequate use.”
Dettenmeier and colleagues tested an exposure-therapy protocol in 22 patients who had problems with CPAP compliance.
Approximately 1 to 4 percent of children in the United States are diagnosed with sleep apnea, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Yet experts agree it’s a health condition that’s becoming more of a problem, particularly because of the childhood obesity epidemic. What’s more, some kids who are left undiagnosed or who are using medications for their symptoms are suffering unnecessarily.
Learn how to recognize the signs that your child may have sleep apnea and find out how to get help.
What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes the throat or upper airway to collapse, preventing oxygen from going through the lungs and causing shallow breathing or breathing pauses. Sleep apnea can happen at any age, but it’s most common in children ages 3 to 7 and during middle school.
“When kids are having the greatest growth compared to their height, that’s when they’re most at risk,” said Dr.
Originally posted in HuffPost Healthy Living on 10/24/2013 8:21 am
By Gerard Meskill, M.D.
The occurrence of gnashing or grinding of teeth is not new. The Bible makes reference to this phenomenon both in the Old Testament, “His anger has torn me and hunted me down; he has gnashed at me with his teeth,” (Job 16:9) and in the New Testament, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12). While this problem is many centuries old, it is only recently that we have come to understand why this may occur, particularly at night while we are asleep.
Teeth clenching or grinding — a behavior known as bruxism — is a common problem that can lead to broken teeth, enamel damage, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The term “bruxism” comes from the Greek word “brychein,” which means “to grind or gnash the opposing rows of upper and lower teeth.” The American Academy of Orofacial Pain defines bruxism as “diurnal or nocturnal parafunctional activity which includes clenching, gnashing, gritting and grinding of teeth.” Data on the prevalence of bruxism varies based upon research criteria, working definition, population samples, and clinical criteria.
If you’re going to travelling by air for a long flight, you may have wondered if it is possible to use your CPAP device on the airplane. After all, sleep apnea can occur any time we sleep (including naps) and not just when we are in the comfort of our bed at home. While the thought of wearing your CPAP mask in public while sitting next to strangers might sound awful, chances are that they would actually prefer it compared to sitting near someone who is snoring, gasping and choking for an hour or more.
Can you use a CPAP on an airplane? Theoretically, the answer is yes, but practically speaking, the answer is, “it depends.” In order to use a CPAP during a flight, you must obtain permission to do so in advance. Appealing to a flight attendant while the plane is in the air is not advisable.
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, remains the optimal way to treat many cases of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In most instances it is the treatment of choice for severe OSA.
For most folks the idea of having to use a machine and mask is annoying, if not intimidating on some level. The first thing to understand is how the machine works. The device is basically a fan. It’s actually not much more complicated than that. The fan pushes air through a mask, and because it enters in through the nose and/or the mouth under pressure, the air gently pushes the upper airway open. The pressure prevents the upper airway from narrowing and closing, so that oxygen doesn’t drop and the body doesn’t struggle to breathe. To be clear, the machine is not a ventilator; it does not breathe for you.
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
Excessive daytime sleepiness from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) contributed to excess car crashes, particularly in untreated men, a study showed.
Among sleep clinic referrals, men who scored high for sleepiness reported about a quarter more motor vehicle accidents and nearly five-fold more near misses than those scoring in the normal range, Kim Ward, BSc, of the University of Western Australia in Crawley, and colleagues found.
By Orfeu Marcello Buxton, a neuroscientist in the Division of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, has been answering reader questions about sleep deficiency. More than 300 people sent questions (most can be read here). Part 1 of his answers is here; part 2 of his answers is here.
Orfeu Marcello Buxton, neuroscientist and sleep researcher. Dr. Buxton is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health and an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University. He studies chronic sleep deficiency in the workplace and home and how it contributes to disorders like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (Note: Dr. Buxton is a researcher, not a physician, and he emphasizes that his responses should not take the place of recommendations from your health care provider.)
This feature is now closed to new questions but remains open for discussion about sleep.