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Sleep Apnea and Smoking

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder affecting millions of Americans. And, as the condition itself affects many aspects of a patient’s life, lifestyle choices can also affect sleep apnea. One of these choices that negatively impacts sleep apnea is smoking cigarettes. So, let’s have a closer look at the link between smoking and sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea and Smoking

The truth is, there are many ways in which sleep apnea and smoking are connected. Indeed, all three different types of sleep apnea are related to smoking in a distinctive way.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of this sleep disorder caused by relaxed throat muscles that cause the tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and eventually lead to blocked upper airways. The major risk with OSA is low oxygen levels in the blood which could be pretty serious. Unfortunately, smokers are at a higher risk of developing OSA compared to those who don’t smoke.

The second type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea (CSA) caused by a brain malfunction. In other words, CSA patients experience breathing interruptions during sleep because the brain fails to tell the lungs to breathe. Similar to OSA, the condition leads to lower blood oxygen levels which can then result in headaches and fatigue both of which are common nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Last but not least, complex sleep apnea syndrome (CompSAS) is the least common type of sleep apnea. It is actually a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The crucial thing here is that you must seek professional medical help for managing symptoms and getting good quality sleep if you’ve stopped smoking and have CompSAS.

Snoring and Smoking

Many wonder whether or not smoking is the cause of their loud snoring. According to research, there’s certainly a connection between these two. Namely, snoring is typically a result of reduced airflow to the lungs and as decreased airflow plays a huge role in developing sleep apnea, experts caution against smoking since it is considered a major sleep apnea risk factor.

But, can smoking cause snoring? In short, you can remarkably improve oxygen flow and reduce the risk of developing sleep apnea by quitting smoking and thus you can reduce the risk of snoring.

Sleep Apnea and Quitting Smoking

Another question that needs to be answered is whether or not smoking can cause sleep apnea. However, there’s also the link between quitting smoking and sleep apnea that has to be clarified.

Namely, there are numerous side effects of nicotine withdrawal which include nausea, tingling, headaches, coughing, and irritability. But, the major one is certainly insomnia. And, when suffering from insomnia, one may have symptoms similar to those of sleep apnea. Not only would you face trouble sleeping but you would also feel extremely fatigued throughout the day. Because of this, many believe that smoking cessation wasn’t a good idea.

Still, remember that these side effects are only temporary, and quitting smoking will improve your overall health and wellness in the long term. The bottom line, the correlation between smoking cigarettes and sleep apnea is obvious in many ways. Once you make the smart choice to quit smoking, you will certainly enjoy many health benefits, including quality sleep.

Everything You Need to Know About Coronasomnia

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives, from how we work to how we spend our free time. However, many aren’t aware that COVID-19 has also affected our sleep.

Namely, more and more people are reporting sleep issues. Precisely speaking, about four in ten people experienced trouble sleeping during the pandemic. Experts named this phenomenon ‘coronasomnia’, a combination of coronavirus and insomnia. To learn more about it, just continue reading.

Coronasomnia Basics

Coronasomnia is a phenomenon characterized by increased sleep issues during the coronavirus pandemic accompanied by symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. It differs from insomnia because sleeping issues are directly linked to the coronavirus. In other words, people experience trouble sleeping as a result of financial stress, emotional stress, social distancing, unpredictability, professional concerns, etc., all triggered by COVID-19.

Coronasomnia Symptoms

As the name suggests, people with coronasomnia typically have the same symptoms as insomnia patients including difficulty falling and staying asleep. Apart from these traditional symptoms, coronasomnia is also linked with the following:

  • Increased stress levels
  • Signs of anxiety and depression
  • Delayed sleep patterns
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Poor mood

Studies show that during the pandemic people spent less time sleeping at night and more time during the day. What’s more, they also pushed back their bedtimes by about 40 minutes and wake times by around 60 minutes. These changes resulted in poor sleep quality.

Coronasomnia Risk Factors

The truth is that, unfortunately, anyone can develop coronasomnia. But, specific groups of people are at a higher risk of suffering from the condition, including:

  • COVID-19 patients
  • Frontline workers
  • Essential workers
  • Unpaid caregivers
  • Young adults
  • People of color
  • Women

Coronasomnia Causes

We’ve already mentioned how the coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives so it’s no wonder it affected our sleep quality. In short, the following coronavirus-related issues are the most to blame:

Increased Stress

Even the daily emotional stress we experience can affect our sleep schedules and reduce restorative slow-wave sleep. But, major stressful events such as a worldwide pandemic can cause sleep issues that last for months, and even for years. Indeed, people experience not only reduced slow-wave sleep but also experience an increase in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep as well as an increased risk of frequent nighttime awakenings.

Loss of Daily Routines

The COVID-19 pandemic has eliminated numerous everyday parts of our lives such as hobbies and social events as a result of the social distancing guidelines which lead to social isolation and mental health issues. Why is this important for sleep? Namely, all these normal daily activities like commutes, exercise, meals, social events, etc., are all time markers related to sleep as they help our circadian rhythms.

Increased Media Consumption

As we all wanted to keep up with the latest COVID-19 information, people spent hours if not the entire day in front of TVs, computers, or on their mobile phones. Plus, people followed a larger range of news sources and different types of media. Consequently, this increased media consumption led to mental health issues as the news was typically bad and upsetting. And, as they would increase their media consumption close to bedtime, their sleep suffered too.

To sum up, coronasomnia can affect everyone. Fortunately, there are several strategies to help you combat this phenomenon, including establishing better sleep hygiene and consistent daily routines and relieving stress.

Benefits of Sleeping Naked

Although there currently isn’t enough scientific research on the effects of sleeping naked, many people believe that it can improve our overall health and wellness in many ways, including falling asleep faster and supporting quality sleep.

Unfortunately, we are all aware of the fact that lack of sleep has become one of the major issues people face due to the fast-paced lives we all live. Eventually, sleep deprivation increases the risk of other serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

That said, if you aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep (at least seven hours each night), you may consider sleeping nude and see if it helps you with your sleep. And, apart from improved sleep, sleeping naked may also positively impact your self-esteem, skin health, reproductive health, and your relationship with your partner.

Let’s have a closer look at these now!

Sleep

The circadian rhythm which cycles through heating and cooling patterns is in charge of regulating our bodies. As we start feeling tired and sleepy in the evening, our bodies increase melatonin production and decrease body temperature. That’s why room temperature is crucial for getting quality sleep and should range from 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, if it’s too hot at night, sleep will be interrupted. That’s one of the reasons why people prefer sleeping naked as it helps them achieve a cooler core temperature in a shorter time. Yet, ensure your bedding is comfortable for optimal results.

Vaginal Health

Another benefit of sleeping naked when it comes to women is improved vaginal health. Namely, nudity may help you avoid or eliminate Candida yeast which may cause infection and inflame the mucous membrane of the vagina resulting in itching and pain.

In general, inadequate air circulation typically due to wearing tight or synthetic underwear increases the risk of getting yeast infections. That said, avoiding tight underwear and when sleeping and sleeping nude can improve women’s vaginal health.

Male Fertility

On the other hand, when it comes to men, sleeping naked can have a positive effect on fertility. Just like with women, wearing tight-fitting underwear while sleeping isn’t a good choice for men too.

Namely, such underwear increases the temperature of the scrotum and as a result, reduces sperm vitality and count. Evidence also shows that scrotal cooling positively impacts not only sperm health but motility too. Therefore, men should also sleep naked to increase sperm health.

Skin Health

Sleeping naked can also boost your skin health and appearance. Wrinkles, drooping, swelling, and dark circles are all symptoms of sleep deprivation and fatigue. Reduced sleep also decreases the ability of the skin to heal blisters, cuts, or other wounds.

With that in mind, if sleeping naked supports quality sleep, it is logical to conclude that sleeping nude will also improve your skin health. Sleep provides enough time for your skin to regenerate and repair. So, for healthy skin, sleep is key.

Self-Esteem and Relationships

Last but not least, you can strengthen your relationship with your partner and stimulate feelings of fulfillment and intimacy by sleeping naked. Engaging in skin-to-skin contact is also vital for reducing stress as it stimulates the release of the oxytocin hormone, the feel-good hormone promoting safety and love.

And, besides strengthening your relationship, sleeping nude with your partner will also help you increase your self-esteem and have a positive image of your body. 

Surgery for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder people suffer from characterized by breathing interruptions while sleeping which could potentially cause serious health consequences such as high blood pressure, metabolic issues, etc. In general, it occurs as a result of relaxed throat muscles that cause airway blockage which then leads to breathing obstructions.

And, as you could guess, since it is a disorder that may result in several complications, sleep apnea requires immediate medical treatment which at first includes lifestyle changes and medications. However, if these don’t help, a surgical procedure may be needed. Here are the most common surgical options for sleep apnea:

Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction

If wearing sleep equipment doesn’t work for you, radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction (RFVTR) might be for you. The surgery involves radiofrequency waves to either shrink or remove tissues from the back of the throat and so opens up the airway and reduces snoring.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

Similar to RFVTR, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is used to reduce snoring and involves the removal of excess tissue from the top of the throat and the back of the mouth. It is also typically done when sleep apnea patients can’t wear any sleep equipment and accessories.

Maxillomandibular Advancement

Also referred to as jaw repositioning, the maxillomandibular advancement procedure is done to move the jaw forward and thus create more space behind the tongue and open up the airway. According to studies, it reduces sleep apnea severity by over 50%.

Anterior Inferior Mandibular Osteotomy

In this surgery, the doctor divides the chin bone into two parts so that the tongue moves forward and the airway opens up while the jaw and mouth stabilize. Compared to others, this surgery requires a shorter recovery time but is typically less effective.

Genioglossus Advancement

This surgical procedure involves tightening the tendons in the front of the tongue to prevent it from rolling back and interfering with breathing. In general, genioglossus advancement is done alongside other surgical options for getting more relief.

Midline Glossectomy and Base of Tongue Reduction

As the name itself suggests, the midline glossectomy and base of tongue reduction surgical procedure involves the removal of a part of the back of the tongue to widen the airway. Researchers claim that studies have shown that this surgery’s success rate is 60% or higher.

Lingual Tonsillectomy

Lingual tonsillectomy is a surgery doctors recommend to patients for opening up the lower part of the throat. As a result, patients will experience easier breathing. The surgery involves the removal of both tonsils and tonsillar tissue around the back of the throat.

Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction

Patients who have a bent nasal septum, the mix of bone and cartilage that separate the nostrils, will certainly find relief after septoplasty. The procedure straightens the nasal septum and cavities and makes breathing easier. Similarly, turbinate reduction reduces the size of the turbinates, curved bones along the walls of the nasal passage, to open up the airway.

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulator

People with sleep apnea stop breathing while sleeping many times. This surgery uses an electrode that’s attached to the hypoglossal nerve and connected to a device that stimulates the tongue muscles and prevents them from blocking the airway.

Hyoid Suspension

Finally, patients who suffer from sleep apnea as a result of a blockage at the bottom of the tongue can alleviate their condition by undergoing hyoid suspension. The procedure involves moving the hyoid bone and the surrounding muscles in the neck to open up the airway.

Sleep Hygiene

Getting enough healthy sleep is essential for both your physical and mental health, as well as improving your overall quality of life. Sleep hygiene plays a crucial role in achieving this and includes both sleep environment and habits.

That said, if you are having trouble falling asleep, experiencing regular sleep disturbances, or suffering from daytime fatigue and sleepiness, it’s time you pay attention to your sleep hygiene. Here’s what you should do to get a good night’s sleep and apply good sleep hygiene practices:

Set a Strict Sleep Schedule

Setting a fixed sleep schedule helps you normalize sleep and gets your brain and body adjusted to getting the right amount of sleep you need. To do so, you should wake up and go to bed at the same time every day no matter whether it is a weekday or weekend. Also, ensure sleep is your priority over work, study, exercise, etc., and stick to your schedule no matter what.

If you still need to do some adjustments, make them gradually. For example, make 15-30 minutes adjustments at a time. And, of course, skip naps because they can delay your bedtime and hence throw your schedule out of whack.

Follow a Nighttime Routine

Following a nightly routine is also one of the key components of practicing good sleep hygiene. The way you prepare for bed and the activities you do before sleep can truly help you fall asleep easily and get good quality sleep. In other words, following the same routine, every night will signal to your mind that it’s time for bed.

Some helpful strategies and tips include having a shower, brushing your teeth, putting on pajamas, dimming your lights, etc. In addition, try avoiding using gadgets at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, focus on relaxing by trying some relaxation techniques, listening to soft music, meditating, reading, etc.

Apply Healthy Daily Habits

Furthermore, it’s not only bedtime habits that can help you get good sleep. Indeed, positive daily habits also play a part in the quality of your sleep. Cultivating healthy habits during the day will support your circadian rhythm and improve sleep.

But, what falls under healthy daily habits? Let’s see! First, ensure you are exposed to daylight, especially sunlight, as it is one of the main drivers of the circadian rhythm. Then, be active and practice regular exercise. Also, you should avoid or at least limit the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Finally, avoid heavy or spicy meals for dinner.

Optimize your Sleep Environment

Last but not least, you should improve your bedroom and make it sleep-friendly if you want to practice good sleep hygiene and get better sleep. So, you have to make sure that your sleep environment is comfortable, inviting, calm, and free of disruptions.

To optimize your sleep environment, start by investing in a high-quality mattress, pillows, and bedding. Next, be careful with your room temperature as the ideal sleep temperature ranges from 60 to 67°F. Then, block out light using heavy curtains or an eye mask. At last, eliminate all background noises by either using a white noise machine or earplugs.

As you can see, practicing good sleep hygiene is easily achievable. All you should do is follow the above-mentioned tips and enjoy the benefits of better sleep and good sleep hygiene.