solve your sleep problems

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations to Solve Your Sleep Problems

In case you’re not already familiar with the statistics, roughly one in three Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. Many who are sleep deprived point to common problems as the cause of their insomnia. citing issues such as snoring, nightmares and acid reflux as reasons for their restlessness. But how do you put an end to these seemingly small, yet stifling, sleep problems?

The answer could be your daily diet. “Food provides the nutrients needed for the production of neurotransmitters that regulate sleep,” says Dr. Ana Krieger, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill-Cornell Medicine.

Listed are the six easy dietary do’s that will help solve your sleep problems:

1. Balance your plate to avoid nightmares.

Consuming a balanced meal of proteins, fats and carbs will help stabilize blood sugar levels ahead of bedtime, says Maya Bach, a licensed dietitian nutritionist, and owner at River North Nutrition in Chicago. This stability will help prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar that can disrupt your energy levels and mood. A dip in blood sugar at night can cause nightmares and other odd bedtime behavior, like crying out in your sleep.

2. Pair protein with carbs to fall asleep faster.

Proteins like turkey, roasted soybeans and milk are high in levels of an essential amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is a key component of serotonin, a chemical that promotes relaxation when it’s released in the brain.

Pairing proteins high in tryptophan with a starchy carb or whole grain may help prime the body for sleep, Bach says “The surge in your blood sugar after eating carbs stimulates tryptophan’s sleep-inducing properties in the brain,” she says.

3. Curb snoring by staying hydrated.

Snoring affects a whopping 90 million American adults. In some cases, dehydration may be the culprit behind snoring, according to Georgia Giannopoulos, dietitian and manager of Be Healthy, an employee-focused health program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. To help prevent this, she recommends being mindful of your hydration throughout the day (try downloading an app to help). You can also keep a glass of water at your bedside as a reminder to start hydrating when you wake up in the morning.

4. Skip the booze to sleep soundly.

Drinking alcohol may make you feel drowsy at first, but research suggests you may end up with lower quality sleep overall. “In some cultures, alcoholic drinks are commonly used to facilitate sleep,” says Dr. Krieger. “[But] alcohol intake close to bedtime has several downsides; it acts as a muscle relaxant that worsens snoring and may trigger sleep apnea, and also leads to a chemical disruption of sleep.”

5. Eat a light dinner to avoid acid reflux.

Try paring down for your final meal of the day, Bach says. “Consuming less food later in the day may help reduce bloating, discomfort and possible acid reflux some of us experience when we consume too much food at one meal,” she says. Avoid spicy, acidic foods and instead opt for low-acidic foods before bedtime, like lean proteins such as baked chicken and poached fish, and green veggies like broccoli and asparagus.

6. Keep a food diary to find hidden offenders.

Because not all bellies are created equal — what works for the majority may not work for you — tracking what you eat could solve your food/sleep related mysteries. “If someone has a pattern of difficulty sleeping, keeping a food and sleep diary may be beneficial in helping spot if certain foods are affecting sleep,” Giannopoulos says. Hint: This includes caffeine!

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Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations to Solve Your Sleep Problems

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snoring partner

Sleep Woes – How to Cope and Deal with a Snoring Partner

Snoring is one of the most common complaints we hear from spouses and partners that live together. It can cause sleep problems not only for snorers, but for everyone around them as well. Fortunately, snoring is not a hopeless case.

Before we talk about ways to cope and deal with a snoring partner, we must first acknowledge that snoring is often an indication of sleep apnea. This life-threatening condition is associated with a snoring pattern that includes moments where breathing and snoring stop until the sleeper is jolted back to semi-wakefulness and the pattern starts again.  If your partner is a snorer, direct them to our Sleep Health Assessment so that they can understand their sleep disorder risk level and get help.

Here are steps you can take to cope with and handle a snoring partner:

1. Make Sure You Are Sleeping On A High Quality Mattress

You may be surprised to know that sleeping on a low quality mattress can actually be the cause of your partner’s snoring! If your mattress is old and sags in the middle, this will affect the position of your partner’s neck when they are asleep, blocking their airway in the throat. Once you’ve got a nice, high quality mattress, remember to raise your bed up by about four inches. Doing this will help keep throat tissues and the tongue from plugging up your partner’s airway, greatly reducing the chances of them snoring throughout the night.  This is one way to cope with a snoring partner.

2. A Weighty Issue

Unfortunately, snoring tends to be more prevalent in those who are overweight as they tend to have bulky throat tissue. If your snoring partner is above their ideal weight, this could be one of the reasons they are keeping you up at night. The good news, however, is that this is completely reversible. Encourage your snoring partner to adopt a healthy eating and exercise plan in order to shed the excess kilos.

3. Stay Away From The Booze

Do you ever notice that your partner’s snoring gets even worse after a night out to the bar? This is because alcohol relaxes the muscles around the throat, making everything, well, floppier. The floppier muscles are around the airway, the greater the constriction for air to flow through. Avoiding alcohol in the evening or prior to bedtime can often lead to a much more peaceful night’s sleep for both you and your partner.

4. Where There Is Smoke, There Is a Snoring Partner

Smoking can cause or worsen a bad case of snoring. Cigarette smoke has the ability to swells the mucous membranes of the throat. In addition to this, it limits your oxygen intake to the lungs. If that is not bad enough, smoking can also cause blockages to form in the nose and throat. All of these are factors that can lead directly to snoring. If your partner is a smoker, encourage them to quit the habit, or purchase them nicotine patches as an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

5. Stay Well Hydrated

Many people are unaware to the fact that being dehydrated can actually cause one to snore at night. Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated, which can directly cause a person to snore more. Healthy women should guzzle down about 2.5 litres of total water (both from all drinks and food) a day; whilst men require about 4 litres of water a day.

Sleep Woes – How to Cope and Deal with a Snoring Partner

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The Dangers of Snoring to Your Cardiovascular Health

Scientists have long known that obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that often causes snoring, can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, but they didn’t know exactly why.

“We were prepared for anything and this just came up,” said Dr. Sanja Jelic, an associate professor at Columbia and one of the authors of the study. “It’s never been described in sleep apnea.”

During sleep, the muscles in a person’s airway relax. If those relaxed muscles flop into the path of incoming air, as they do in sleep apnea, they can deprive the body of oxygen for as long as 40 seconds.

Snoring in OSA Patients

The research team at Columbia wanted to figure out how that interrupted breathing was affecting the cells that line blood vessels, which is often where cardiovascular damage begins. They extracted these cells from the arms of 76 patients with obstructive sleep apnea and 52 others who didn’t have the disorder.

They found that those with sleep apnea had a much higher level of a protein called CD59. This butterfly-shaped protein guards cells from attack by the body’s own immune system. However, on closer inspection, researchers discovered that the CD59 of people with sleep apnea had been pulled inside the cell, instead of guarding the cell’s surface, leaving the cell vulnerable to attacks from the immune system.

These damaged cells, in turn, would be more likely to obstruct blood flow — the first such cellular explanation of how apnea may cause heart problems.

But one group of snorers didn’t have these abnormal CD59 effects. Five apnea patients who happened to be taking statins — drugs that lower cholesterol — had cells that looked just as healthy as the cells of people without sleep apnea.

“This is a great start to try to understand the damage that sleep apnea does,” said Dr. Shalini Paruthi, a sleep medicine expert at Saint Louis University, who was not involved in the study.

It isn’t exactly clear why the cholesterol-lowering medication allows CD59 to function normally. Jelic suggested that cholesterol may be what is pulling the protein inside the cell, and that by reducing the amount of cholesterol with a statin, CD59 stays put.

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The Dangers of Snoring to Your Cardiovascular Health

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snoring home remedies

Get Better Sleep with these Simple Snoring Home Remedies

Snoring can take the fizz out of your life, causing you to feel lethargic all day because of compromised sleep, and putting your relationship with your partner to the test as well. Whereas it’s always recommended to seek medical advice on your snoring, so that you can identify the real cause of it, it also makes sense for you to be aware of the simplest effective home remedies that you can trust to sleep well without snoring.

Here are some natural ways to help you overcome snoring.

Tennis Ball at Your Back

As bizarre as it sounds, a tennis can help you do a lot more than just keeping your pet dog busy. Here’s how it works – grab an old discarded shirt, and sew your tennis ball in its pocket. Now, cut out the patch with the sewed tennis ball, and attach it to the mid back of your sleepwear’s top. How does it work? Well, when you naturally try to sleep on your back, that’s when your body is in the most vulnerable posture in terms of snoring. When you have a tiny tennis ball attached to your back, your body automatically drops the idea of sleeping on the back, and you switch to sleeping on your side.

Raise your Bed

Get a couple of blocks of wood from the hardware store in your neighborhood. These planks should be 4 or more inches in width. Now, place each of the blocks under the adjacent feet of the bed, to the side where you keep your head when you sleep. By raising the height of the head-side of your bed, you reduce the tendency of your tongue to fall back, even when you sleep on your back. You could use the telephone directory instead of the planks, but make sure that your bed doesn’t wobble if you support its feet on books.

Pranayama – The Wholesome Snore Cure

The cure for your snoring habit could well be hiding in the ancient practice of yoga, particularly ‘pranayama’, that is, the practice of controlling your breathing by practicing long, slow inhalations and exhalations. Pranayama helps you draw the maximum amount of oxygen from your ambient air, helps regulate oxygen flow through the blood, keeps the brain fresh, strengthens the muscles and tissues of your nasals pathways, and keeps lethargy away. Even physicians suggest this practice as a home remedy to not only keep snoring away, but also to reduce the impact of sleep apnea.

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Get Better Sleep with these Simple Snoring Home Remedies

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Dealing with Snoring – Causes and Treatment

Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep caused by vibrating tissue in the upper airway. It is a common problem caused by airway resistance and affects nearly all of the population at some time during their lives.

Any individual who snores should consult with a medical or dental provider to help determine both the underlying cause and the appropriate interventions necessary to stop the snoring.

The following is a list of different ways in which snoring can be treated and potentially reduced.

Avoid alcohol and sedating medications

Drugs that are depressants or sedatives relax muscles, causing them to collapse. Alcohol should be avoided for at least four hours prior to sleep and any prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids should be taken under the guidance of a health care professional.

Relieve nasal obstruction

Nasal strips, corticosteroid and moisturizing nasal sprays, antihistamines and a room humidifier can help reduce the nasal inflammation and obstruction that leads to snoring.

Change sleep positions

Snoring is more common when sleeping on your back as the relaxed tongue is more likely to block the airway. Sleeping on your side, elevating the head of the bed a few inches, or using a “snore pillow” to improve neck position can be tried. Sewing a tennis ball or other soft object in the back of a sleep shirt might help prevent rolling over to the back sleeping position.

Lose weight

Excessive fat tissue can surround and narrow the airway, causing snoring from the obstructed airflow.

Good sleep hygiene

Follow a good sleep hygiene program by getting consistent sleep on a comfortable bed, in a dark, cool room. Inadequate sleep can lead to obesity and subsequent snoring.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

The delivery of pressurized air through a nasal or face mask is the gold standard treatment for snoring caused by moderate or severe OSA.

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Dealing with Snoring – Causes and Treatment

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