Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

Archive for April, 2012

How to Unwind so You Can Sleep

Posted by amykr on April 17, 2012

We all live in a stressful world.  We have work, family, unexpected issues and the last thing we think about is how it will affect us as we are lying in bed staring at the ceiling.  We do not think about what we can do to help solve the problem or prevent it.  Let’s take a few minutes to find a solution for you.

Oxygen is one of the great ways to reduce stress.  It is easily available and easy to get.  Take five minutes to breathe deeply and recruit more of your lung to help transfer the oxygen to your blood.  There are many routines you can use to help you to relax.  I like the inhale, hold, exhale practice.  Inhale through your nose for the count of six, hold for the count of 4 (you do not want to stress yourself), than exhale slowly through pursed lips for the count of six.  As you are inhaling imagine your lungs filling from the bottom out and when you are exhaling imagine them emptying from the top down.  Not only do you get benefit of increased oxygen level but the focus on breathing will help you to calm your mind. 

Practice a little yoga.  A simple routine can help you stretch your body, help you focus on your breathing and the health benefits will amaze you.  A simple routine is all you need and you do not have to worry about being perfect.  It is more about getting you ready to sleep.  I use Yoga.about.com for a website to choose my workout.  She has excellent routines you can follow.  Just remember you can modify the move for you.  When I first started I could not reach lower than my knees.  Now I can touch the floor most days.  Choose an easy one like a Sun Salutation to help you to get ready for bed.  This is to help you focus and deep breathe and calm your mind. 

Turn off the electronics.  The television, cell phone and other electronics are designed to stimulate you and your mind.  It is really hard to get ready to sleep when you are stimulated by light and information.  Try turning down the lights and journaling.  Not only will it eliminate the electronic stimulation but it will help you to put your ideas on paper so you can deal with them in the morning and turn them off at night.  It might also allow you to find solutions to what is bothering you and allow you to relax and fall asleep. 

Get out of bed.  If you are lying there staring at the ceiling lying in bed will frustrate you and keep you awake longer.  Get out of bed and read or do something for 20-40 minutes than go back to bed.  Take that time to relax and unwind.  Use one of the ideas above to help you.  Bed should be for sleeping and other activities should be done outside of bed.  So get up and relax than go back to bed when you are feeling more relaxed. 

Learning how to relax when you are having an occasional bout of insomnia is an important habit for you to learn.  These techniques can be used during the day to help you to relieve your stress, as part of your bedtime routine or as a solution to the occasional night of stress induced insomnia.

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That Stuffy Spring Nose Can Rob You of Sleep

Posted by amykr on April 6, 2012

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Spring has bloomed and with it the pollen levels have reached some of the highest levels of the year. For many people this is the time of year where breathing and snoring are at their worst. The minute you lie down you feel pressure on your forehead and your nose clogs up. If you snore it is loud and more disruptive than usual. If you use a CPAP this is the time of year when you are most likely to give up using it.

Finding solutions to these problems can be challenging. You know you want to feel good and rest is an important part of that but you are not sure what you can do to help yourself. There are a few things you can do that will help you.

This is the time of year that you should make sure you change the filter in your heating and cooling system. Using a HEPA filter maybe useful for those with severe allergies because it will capture more pollen, dust and mold spores.
Use an anti-shed shampoo on your pets. This is the time of year where they shed their winter coats and start to grow their summer coats. You want to make sure that their dander is limited so as not to irritate your nose.
Make sure you are well hydrated. This helps your body to function better and will help thin secretions.
Using salt water to gargle or using a Neti pot may help some people as the salt water will help to decrease the swelling in your nose and throat. You can also use a nasal saline spray to help keep your nose from drying out and keep swelling down.
Talk to your doctor. The best solutions may be an allergy medication, but these can interact with other medications you are taking and you should always talk to your doctor before starting a new medication

If you are using a CPAP machine this is the time of year to think about cleaning your equipment. The warm water that is in the humidifier is a great way to grow interesting things.

Your humidifier chamber and hose should be changed every 6 months. In between you should be washing it once a week with soap and water and then soaking it for 20 minutes in 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water. Make sure you rinse it well or you will be smelling the vinegar all week
Your filters should be changed as well. Different manufacturers use different type of filters so make sure you check with your DME company as to how often you should change your filter.
Turn up the humidifier if you are having congestion issues. Higher humidity helps to reduce the swelling in your nose and sinuses making it more comfortable. A home humidifier will not affect your machine.

Spring is a wonderful time of year but allergies can have an effect on your sleep. It is important to take care of these issues earlier rather than later. Sleep deprivation can have hazardous effects on your health and ability to enjoy the wonderful weather that spring brings with it.

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