Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sleep quality and Alzheimer disease

Patients with Alzheimer's disease often have poor nocturnal sleep quality and daytime sleepiness. In fact, the sleep difficulties at night are a common reason that Alzheimer sufferers are put in nursing homes. Caregivers are unable to stay up at night to ensure their loved one's safety, and then function in the daytime. This study showed that there is a relationship between individuals' sleep quality and Alzheimer disease markers in spinal fluid. I don't full access to the article, so can only comment on the abstract.

This study has some limitations. Participants sleep quality was assessed only via questionnaire, not by objective sleep testing. So it's unclear what is contributing to the reduced sleep quality. Also, the participants were already at risk for Alzheimer disease, having a family history of it. From this study, we can't conclude that poor sleep quality leads to Alzheimer disease. And it's not clear if improving sleep quality would lead to a decrease in the biomarkers for Alzheimer disease.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"Hacking" your sleep

Yet another article discussing sleep hygiene, but changing the verbiage to make it seem like new information. Using the word "hacks" makes it sound like you can break the sleep "code" and improve sleep quality. Almost all of the items listed are part of good sleep hygiene, and have been around for decades. With that said, I actually think this article is really good, providing useful information in a succinct format that may steer individuals in the right direction to better sleep.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Yoga for sleep

Individuals with insomnia are seeking natural remedies to improve sleep. This article is written by a yoga instructor, as she makes some interesting claims. First, she writes that "sleeplessness" is linked to all sorts of health problems. I wonder if she is confusing sleep deprivation with insomnia. Insomnia, when diagnosed by a doctor, has not been definitively linked to all of the health problems she lists. Sleep deprivation has been studied and data links it to some of the health conditions listed. Sleep deprivation is not the same as insomnia.

Then she writes about her treatment plan for insomnia, which includes yoga poses and breathing. However, no links to studies showing this helps is provided. The one aspect that may help is counting backwards, as this technique may distract individuals from their own thoughts when in bed attempting to fall asleep. The most helpful way to improve insomnia is with a form of psychotherapy, called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Carrie Fisher and sleep apnea

I've seen a few articles now on the suspected cause(s) of Carrie Fisher's death (the actress who played Princess Leia). I was hesitant to blog about it, but thought I should as the articles are mentioning sleep apnea. Apparently, the autopsy report did list sleep apnea as a potential contributor. The article I am referencing does a good job explaining what sleep apnea is, the different types, the consequences of untreated sleep apnea and how certain drugs / medications can worsen sleep apnea. I agree with the bottom line that the chance of dying from sleep apnea is low, but gets higher with untreated sleep apnea and drug use.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Improving sleep in children

Normally, articles like this don't impress me. At least the ones written to help adults sleep. But this one for kids is packed full of great advice to help kids sleep better. It's not as applicable for infants...more for toddlers and older children / adolescents.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sleep apnea and insomnia on the rise in the US Military

This article shows how both sleep apnea and insomnia diagnoses have increased from 2005 - 2014. In my clinic, both conditions make up the bulk of the diagnoses and often exist together. The article states how the rates are higher in more senior personnel. This may be because sleep apnea is more prevalent with advancing age. Also, I frequently see senior personnel who are close to retiring, and have decided to start taking care of themselves. Usually it's because they finally have time to get their medical problems addressed as they approach separating from the military. Some of them wish they had gotten evaluated years prior, as treating their sleep apnea can significantly improve their quality of life.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Float therapy?

I've never heard of float therapy until I saw this article. Apparently, some derive benefit from floating in body temperature, salty water that is inside a sound-proof vessel. The article mentions that "float therapy" may help some with insomnia. I'm not aware of any studies to that effect - the report is only anecdotal. The article states that one reason it may help people sleep could be the same reason why a warm bath is helpful. I just hope people don't fall asleep while in the float chamber.