All articles in Sleep Apnea

New Positional Obstructive Sleep Apnea Therapy

By Jerrold Kram, MD, FCCP

A recently published study found that over 70% of those diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea and having an apnea-hypopnea index less than 60 are at least twice as severe when sleeping on their back as compared to other (non-supine) position.

This condition is referred to as “positional obstructive sleep apnea” (POSA). The most commonly recommended approach for treating POSA is to sew tennis balls into a night shirt. Several manufacturers (REMatee and Zzoma) developed commercial adaptations of the tennis-ball approach using cushions held in place by a waist belt or shoulder harness to restrict back-sleeping.

I recently read very promising study results using a novel position therapy device called the Night Shift. Worn on the back of the neck, Night Shift begins to vibrate when users start to sleep on their back and slowly increases in intensity until a position change occurs. For patients with POSA, 90% responded to Night Shift therapy and had a median apnea-hypopnea severity reduction of 79%!  

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Lose Weight, Lose Sleep Apnea?


Lose weight sleep apnea


Living News Losing weight — and keeping it off — could help sleep apnea from getting worse and could even reverse it, a small new study suggests. Researchers from Finland found that maintaining weight loss of as little as 5 percent is associated with improvement in obstructive sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep leading to disrupted sleep. The findings confirm sleep apnea treatment guidelines issued last year by the American College of Physicians, which say that the very first treatment for sleep apnea among overweight people should be weight loss, and the second treatment option should be continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). For the new study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, researchers followed 57 people who were obese and had mild obstructive sleep apnea. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: One group underwent a year-long lifestyle intervention program, while the other group just received general diet and exercise information.

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7 Reasons Why You Have Trouble Sleeping

Originally posted in:

2013-02-21-grandparentslogo.jpg  |  By  Posted: 01/11/2014 8:12 am EST  |  Updated: 01/12/2014 9:05 am EST

having trouble sleeping


If you’ve ever counted sheep, woken up multiple times during the night or experience daytime sleepiness, you are one of the 67 percent of older adults who suffer from insomnia symptoms at least a few nights a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. As we age, sleeplessness may become more of an issue, so we’ve rounded up the top causes of insomnia for older adults.

  • Cause #1: Circadian Rhythm
    Aging causes our circadian rhythms to change and become less consistent, which makes us more susceptible to insomnia, according to the National Institutes of Health. We become sleepy earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. When we try to fight our body’s natural instincts by attempting to stay awake or sleep later, it often becomes a losing battle.
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Truck driver falling asleep during daily routines gets wake-up call at the dentist

By Jami Kunzer –

Joe Hathcoat, a truck driver suffering from severe sleep apnea gets fitted with an oral mouthpiece that will hold his jaw forward allowing him to have a larger airway. The mouthpieces are used for those with sleep apnea who can’t tolerate the large breathing masks that must be worn at night. (Sarah Nader-

Joe Hathcoat went in for a toothache and ended up with treatment for sleep apnea.

The dentist likely isn’t the first person thought of it when it comes to sleep and snoring problems, but more dental patients are getting help through a relatively new treatment.

As part of the paperwork at All Smiles Dental in Algonquin, Hathcoat identified some possible trouble with his sleep habits, so his dentist, Dr. Timonth Stirneman suggested he bring home a test for sleep apnea.

Those with the chronic sleep disorder suffer from pauses or shallow breathing during sleep.

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Potential Cure for Sleep Apnea – Sleep in Outer Space?

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. 

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Sleep apnea booming; new treatments offer alternatives

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.

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Can Playing the Didgeridoo Help Alleviate Sleep Apnea?

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. 

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Exposure Therapy is Latest Wrinkle in Battle for CPAP Compliance

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.

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Does your child have sleep apnea? What you need to know

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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.

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Nocturnal Teeth Grinding May Suggest a Sleep Disorder

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.

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