Tag Archive for: Sleep Apnea

This weekend will bring a treat to those who love to sleep.

Daylight Saving Time kicks in early Sunday, Nov. 6th, meaning you’ll need to set your clocks back an hour on Saturday night. Of course, talking about DST brings up the inevitable debate about the usefulness of the practice.

The biggest consequence: The change shifts daylight back into the morning hours. For 9-to-5 office workers, it means saying goodbye to leaving work while it’s still light out. And for weekend workers, it means an additional glorious hour of sleep on Sunday. Hurrah!

Yet there’s still a lot of confusion about daylight saving time. The first thing to know: Yes, it ends in the fall, just as the decrease in daylight hours is becoming noticeable. But, why do we deprive ourselves of sunlight in the winter when we need it most!  Get the lowdown on Daylight Saving Time here.


What you will discover in this article


Why do we need to “save” daylight hours in the summer?

Daylight saving time in Canada started as an energy conservation trick in 1908, and expanded through World War I to become a (mostly) national standard in the 1960s to keep in step with the US.

The idea is that in the summer months, we shift the number of daylight hours we get into the evening. So if the sun sets at 8 pm instead of 7 pm, we’d presumably spend less time with the lights on in our homes at night, saving electricity.


Isn’t it “daylight savings time” not “daylight saving time”?

No, it’s definitely called “daylight saving time.” Not plural. Be sure to point out this common mistake to friends and acquaintances. You’ll be really popular.


Does it actually lead to energy savings?

As Joseph Stromberg outlined in an excellent 2015 Vox article, the actual electricity conservation from the time change is unclear or nonexistent: “Despite the fact that daylight saving time was introduced to save fuel, there isn’t strong evidence that the current system actually reduces energy use — or that making it year-round would do so, either. Studies that evaluate the energy impact of DST are mixed. It seems to reduce lighting use (and thus electricity consumption) slightly but may increase heating and AC use, as well as gas consumption. It’s probably fair to say that energy-wise, it’s a wash.”1


What does Saskatchewan know that we don’t?

Although all of Saskatchewan is geographically within the Mountain Time Zone, the province is officially part of the Central Time Zone. Most of Saskatchewan never changes their clocks, in fact they technically observe DST year round.2 The odd result is that their clocks match Winnipeg during the winter, and Calgary and Edmonton in summer. Though that seems funny, with the energy benefits being questionable, and all of the very real headaches that come from the semi-annual shift, no wonder our friends in Saskatchewan can get a little smug about opting out of the madness.


Is daylight saving time dangerous?

When we shift clocks forward an hour in the spring, many of us will lose that hour of sleep. In the days after daylight saving time starts, our biological clocks are a bit off. It’s like North America has been given an hour of jet lag.

One hour of lost sleep sounds like a small change, but if you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you know what sleep disruptions can do to your alertness and your overall health.

According to Stuart Fogel, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, it’s in the second half of the night that you switch to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is associated with dreaming. During this time you have spikes in brain activity that are important for learning and memory, as well as for mood regulation and cognitive function.3 Chopping an hour from that stage of sleep will obviously have consequences for those processes, so it’s no wonder we all feel groggy after the clocks “spring forward” every March.

The practical fallout is real.

In 1999, researchers at Johns Hopkins and Stanford universities wanted to find out what happens on the road when millions of drivers have their sleep disrupted. Analyzing 21 years of fatal car crash data from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, they found an increase in road deaths on the Monday after the clock shift in the spring: the number of deadly accidents jumped to an average of 83.5 on the “spring forward” Monday compared with an average of 78.2 on a typical Monday.

And it’s not just car accidents. Evidence has also mounted of an increase in incidences of workplace injuries and heart attacks in the days after we spring forward.


Can’t we just get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

If only it were that easy! British Columbia is tabling new legislation this fall proposing to keep B.C.’s clocks fixed all year, a move supported by 93% of the province.4 The trouble is that economically it makes much more sense for them to stay in step with states like Washington and California, who have also considered the move, but who can do nothing without congressional approval from D.C. It means that wherever you are in Canada, it doesn’t seem likely that change will come unless we decide to live with time zones that differ from our friends south of the border.


So what should I do about it?

Well, for the fall, you should take your extra hour of sleep and enjoy it! Then come next spring, when you have to pay it back, make sure to get in lots of activity the day before, and consider using an over the counter herbal sleep aid to help you get to bed earlier on the day of the change. And as always, remember to consult the sleep experts at Apnée Santé for more tips and help with getting a great night’s sleep.

References:

  1. https://www.vox.com/2015/11/1/9640018/daylight-saving-time-year-round
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time_in_Canada
  3. https://globalnews.ca/news/4073944/daylight-savings-time-2018-sleep/
  4. https://globalnews.ca/news/5970879/new-legislation-coming-to-keep-b-c-s-clocks-fixed-but-seasonal-time-changes-not-yet-over/

It’s a new year and a time to resolve to make positive change in our life. And while most New Year’s resolutions focus on losing weight, quitting smoking or other lifestyle changes, few include better sleeping habits.


Getting a good night’s sleep can have a myriad of health benefits

Studies have found a link between insufficient sleep and serious health problems including heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity. So resolutions for positive change to diet and life habits should go hand in hand with attention to sleep needs in order to optimize your health.


Better health and sex life

An international sleep poll by the National Sleep Foundationfound that as many as 56 percent of American respondents’ sex lives suffer because they’re too tired.

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Reduce Risk of Depression and Stress

Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep: between 7 and 9 hours each night.

When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert, which causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep.

stressed out man, rubbing temples


Less pain and risk of injury

Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and lower pain threshold. The more sleep a person gets, the higher his or her pain threshold.

Sleep deprivation results in increased risk of workplace accidents and injury. The Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reported 852 workplace deaths in 2015 alone, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of claims processed every year for work-related injuries.

man experiencing back pain


Better memory and clearer thinking

Sleep helps the brain process and consolidate our memories from the day. Those who are sleep-deprived run the risk of those memories not getting stored correctly and instead getting lost.

Studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived are substantially worse at solving logic or math problems than when they’re well-rested.

memory


Better mood

Those who get enough sleep are less likely to be grumpy and are better able to control their emotions. This can have a positive impact in the workplace and in personal relationships.

Woman waking up, well rested


Weight control

When we sleep, the body produces more of the hormone leptin, which plays a key role in making you feel full. When we don’t sleep, our leptin levels drop, which can lead to late-night snacking and even overeating.

weight loss


Stronger immunity to illness

One study looking at the link between sleep and immunity discovered people who got less than seven hours of sleep and were exposed to a cold virus were three times more likely to get sick than those who got at least eight hours of sleep.

If your New Year’s resolution involves losing weight or otherwise improving your health and well-being, getting enough sleep could help you achieve your goal—and a whole lot more.

When we sleep better, we feel better. Start the year off on a good foot and make a promise to yourself and your loved ones to live a healthier, longer life.

two people with shields battling bacteria


Related articles:

There are proven links between diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that are too strong to ignore.

While both conditions are life-altering and dangerous, treating your OSA can prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes, and if you are a diabetic who has consequently developed sleep apnea, improving your sleep with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy can help you better manage your glucose levels and dramatically improve your overall health.


What’s OSA?

Sleep apnea is a condition where the tongue and other soft tissues at the back of the throat relax too far and block your airway while you sleep. Reduced oxygen causes an alert in your sleeping brain and you wake up slightly to re-open the airway. This kind of micro wake-up isn’t usually enough to bring you to full consciousness, but it definitely disrupts your sleep cycle, and it can happen dozens of times per hour all night without you being aware. As a result, people with OSA can spend a full eight hours “sleeping,” yet still wake up feeling exhausted.

This chronic lack of restorative sleep leads to daytime grogginess and reduced cognitive function, but it also limits your body’s ability to repair damage and fight illness, and leads to more serious issues like heart disease, strokes and yes, diabetes.

Over one in four Canadian adults are at high risk of developing sleep apnea, yet most of them are unaware of it and remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Approximately 858,900 Canadian adults reported being told by a health professional they have the condition.1 Here in Quebec, one in twenty people are diagnosed with OSA, but about 80% of those who have it are still in the dark.

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If you think you might have OSA

It’s important to confirm it and seek treatment to prevent possibly life-threatening consequences. Speak with a professional if you have symptoms like:

  • Loud snoring
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Loss of concentration or memory
  • The feeling of not getting enough rest even after a long sleep
  • Nighttime breathing disturbances noticed by your partner
  • Excessive morning tiredness or lack of energy

Woman sleeping with mouth open


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where the insulin your body should naturally produce is insufficient or has become ineffective at doing its job, which is to regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood and transform foods into energy. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, excessive high blood sugar and sleep apnea, and can bring severe health complications like nerve pain, heart disease, strokes and blindness.

It’s estimated that 5.7 million Canadians have prediabetes, and half of them will develop type 2 diabetes. Aside from a great toll on your health and lifestyle, diabetes can take a toll on your bank account – patients face direct personal costs of $1,000 to $15,000 per year in medication and diabetes supplies alone.

Diabetes detailed infographic en


Symptoms of diabetes

It’s important to talk to your doctor if you feel you have any diabetes warning signs like:

  • Frequent nighttime urination (from kidneys working overtime to filter sugar)
  • Constant hunger or constant fatigue (from the inability to fully process food energy)
  • Soft, dark patches forming on the skin around the armpits, neck or calves
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet (a warning sign of impaired blood flow that can lead to amputation)

woman massaging her numb swollen feet


Just how strong is the sleep apnea/diabetes connection?

It’s more than just a case of the two sharing a root cause, even though they have some of the same risk factors. With diabetes and OSA, each has been shown separately to increase your risk of getting the other, and both worsen your symptoms.

There are millions of Canadians living with diabetes, and roughly 90% of them have type 2 diabetes. Multiple studies have shown that more than half of people with type 2 diabetes will develop associated sleep apnea, and if they are obese that risk shoots up to over 80%.

About five and a half million Canadians have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or are at high risk for it. Studies by Johns Hopkins and others2 have shown that sleep apnea, even counted independently of obesity, carries an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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How does sleep apnea cause diabetes?

If you have untreated sleep apnea, you frequently stop breathing during sleep, which sends the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood out of whack. All those hours with reduced oxygen put the body under great stress, which results in an increase in blood sugar levels. Over the longer term, constant elevated blood sugar can contribute to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

How does diabetes amplify the risk of OSA? According to Dr. M. Safwan Badr, President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), “Type 2 diabetics and people with hypertension are much more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than other people, and as a result should immediately discuss their risk for sleep apnea with a sleep specialist.”3

diabetes testing


How CPAP helps manage diabetes or helps you avoid developing it.

There is help for management of all these risks. It has been shown that treating sleep apnea in diabetics improves nighttime glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, as well as providing the benefits of improved alertness and cognitive function, and reducing risk of other problems associated with sleep apnea. In a University of Chicago study, it was shown that even one week of CPAP therapy lowered average 24-hour glucose levels and improved post-breakfast glucose response in Type 2 diabetics with obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Badr of the AASM has said that such treatment is proven to lower daytime blood pressure, which represents the highest risk for heart attack and stroke.3

The more severe your untreated sleep apnea is, the poorer your glucose control will be, but it has been demonstrated that treating OSA with CPAP therapy may be as effective as using oral diabetes medication to help with the issue.

guy cpap larger


Talk to your doctor

If you suspect you have obstructive sleep apnea or signs of diabetes it is important to talk to a doctor and seek immediate treatment to help you live a longer, healthier and fuller life. For more information on diabetes and its associated risks, visit Diabetes Québec, or if you have questions about sleep apnea and your sleep health, reach out to Apnea Health for help.

Male doctor with stethoscope


References

  1. https://poumonquebec.ca/en/maladies/sleep-apnea
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-dangers-of-uncontrolled-sleep-apnea
  3. https://aasm.org/patients-with-type-2-diabetes-or-hypertension-must-be-evaluated-for-sleep-apnea

We know what sleep apnea looks like, right?

Middle-aged man, kind of stocky, looks tired and snores like a freight train? The truth is, that’s a common profile for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), but it’s far from the only one. OSA results from physical conditions that can affect people of any age, size or gender.


It often goes undiagnosed in women

Symptoms that point to OSA can be less pronounced in women than men, but studies suggest the consequences are just as damaging for women, if not worse. And it may be more common in women than we think; by some estimates, men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea, but are diagnosed with it 8 times more often. It’s been suggested that happens because women’s symptoms present differently from the typical male profile and therefore get missed.

Tired woman driving car


How does OSA work differently in women?

There are a number of factors that contribute to Obstructive Sleep Apnea in both men and women, but at the basic level what happens is the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax during sleep, sinking down and blocking the upper airway. This causes an interruption in breathing, which makes the brain alert the body to wake up slightly and re-open the airway. These micro-interruptions in sleep are rarely even noticed by the OSA sufferer, but they can happen many times an hour – meaning people not only lose sleep, but they’re often prevented from entering into deeper sleep phases, which makes for a groggy morning.

While a lot of men with OSA are loud snorers, and frequently report daytime sleepiness to the point of losing focus, women are less likely to report such symptoms. For whatever reason, women are less likely to report the feeling of “tiredness” unless the problem reaches extremes, at which point they are more likely to use words like “fatigued” or “exhausted.” In a woman who doesn’t fit the typical profile for OSA (overweight, male, loud snoring, etc.) a symptom like fatigue will often lead doctors to investigate thyroid issues or depression, and miss the possibility of sleep apnea.

Woman sleeping with mouth open


How does OSA in women get missed so often?

Doctors, like the rest of us, can fall victim to preconceived notions about what the condition looks like.

While a sleep study will often be ordered for a man who fits the profile and complains of related symptoms, those same symptoms may be overlooked or thought of as part of a different issue for a woman.

Male doctor with stethoscope


Some examples include

  • Snoring – women will often report lighter snoring, or none at all (because who wants to admit that?). On top of that, male partners are typically less likely to notice snoring. An almost comically frequent refrain from men who turn up for sleep studies is, “I’m here because my wife says I snore too much” – the same is more rarely true in the reverse.
  • Symptom overlap – symptoms that women do mention to their doctors are also associated with other conditions. Things like headache, fatigue, lack of energy or moodiness are often chalked up to menopause, depression, insomnia or other issues.
  • Low but present apnea events – women tend to have a lower apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) than men. That’s a measure of the number of breathing interruptions per hour, which means they (or their partners) are less likely to notice them.

snoring woman sleeping on her back


Getting missed doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter

Evidence shows that while OSA symptoms are typically less pronounced in women, the negative health effects are just as bad if not worse.

A 2013 UCLA study showed that normal autonomic responses to control things like blood pressure, heart rate and sweating are reduced in people with OSA, but the reduction is even more pronounced in women. They conducted a number of tests on men and women with OSA and their findings were concerning.

“The heart-rate results for these tests show that the impact of sleep apnea, while bad in men, is more severe in women,” said lead researcher Paul Macey. “This may mean that women are more likely to develop symptoms of heart disease, as well as other consequences of poor adaptation to daily physical tasks. Early detection and treatment may be needed to protect against damage to the brain and other organs.”

heart health woman


What to watch out for

Because it so often gets missed, it’s important to pay attention to symptoms that could mean you have OSA, in order to prevent further health complications down the road. Things you may notice that could point to sleep apnea include:

  • Your breathing stops and restarts while you sleep (noticed by a partner, perhaps)
  • You wake up a lot during the night (to use the washroom for example – under normal conditions you shouldn’t need to get up much at night)
  • You get a full night’s sleep but you feel tired anyway
  • You snore (even a little – no judgement!)
  • You have low energy or daytime fatigue
  • You’ve been told you have high blood pressure, or you have fibromyalgia
  • You get frequent morning headaches

OSA can be debilitating, and also comes with risks of more dangerous complications for overall health, but it can be effectively treated with CPAP. If you suspect you may have OSA, don’t hesitate to consult with us for more information.

tired woman rubbing temples


Risk factors for women

Even if you don’t have OSA or suffer from OSA symptoms now, there are certain factors that could put you more at risk of developing sleep apnea; if you have any of these, it’s a good idea to pay extra attention and act immediately if you notice symptoms appearing. There are also factors that can aggravate the negative health consequences of OSA.

Things to keep an eye on include:

  • Reaching a certain age – women aged 55-70 are 14% more likely to have OSA
  • Becoming pregnant – pregnancy can increase your chances of developing OSA, and if left untreated it can cause complications
  • Carrying extra weight – obese women in the 50-70 age range are 31% more likely to have OSA
  • Menopause can bring on sleep apnea
  • The chances of developing OSA for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are up to 70%
  • A family history of sleep apnea increases the likelihood you’ll have it too
  • Chronic congestion, for any reason, can be linked to OSA
  • High blood pressure, diabetes and asthma all have strong associations with OSA

If you have concerns about any signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, book an appointment and get assessed:

tired woman eating pizza on couch

Earth week is upon us and it reminds us to take stock of what we’re doing and think of ways we could improve

All in the name of restoring our planet from some of the devastating impacts we humans have had on it.


Options for sustainability

Even as COVID-induced reductions in travel and commuting have given the planet a bit of a breather (sleep apnea pun intended), other issues, like a spike in consumption of single-use plastics and the disposal of mountains of throw-away masks, have reared up to show us there are always areas to improve.

At Apnea Health, we know that change starts with action. We’ve worked hard over the years to make sure we keep our own footprint as light as possible, and we’re always looking for more ways to help our patients, and our planet, breathe easier.

forest


Electrifying the fleet

Our enthusiasm for the environment is electric – and so is our fleet of cars! With our easy access to clean hydro-electric power here in Quebec, there’s no reason not to jump on the growing wave of e-vehicles.

Our staff travel all over Greater Montreal to visit our 8 clinics (with a 9th opening soon in Chambly) and to visit patients. As our fleet of cars ages, we’re committed to replacing them with electric ones – we’re now up to four e-vehicles and we love them!

souad car


Taking the operation paperless

Back in 2019, when we reached 11 years of stockpiling paper patient files, we decided it was time to update to electronic medical records (EMR). Patient files may not sound like a lot, but if you’d visited some of the rooms in our clinics, you’d have seen what over a decade of paper files looked like! All those filing cabinets were cramping our style – so it was time to do something and we haven’t looked back.

That isn’t to say it wasn’t a challenge; digitizing all those files was a monumental job, and we also had to learn to change our habit of relying on notes jotted down on paper. But all of our patient files are now digital, and our clinics are feeling a whole lot airier for it! It means patient information is faster and easier to get to, all while saving trees.

Apnée Santé Employee sorting through a filing cabinet


Exploring ways to do more for the environment

We know there’s always more we can do to reduce waste in our clinics, and we’ll keep working hard to make even more changes to protect our planet. A new and encouraging trend, for example, is the use of the Lumin ultra-violet CPAP accessory cleaning system to clean and reuse Covid masks rather than throwing them all away.

We always keep an eye on reducing single-use items, and we never stop looking for new and better ways to make our clinics environmentally friendlier than ever!

Lumin and N95 mask

Dead tired, finished, run-down, done in, dead on your feet – all are colourful ways of saying you’re exhausted from lack of sleep.

But can you actually die from not sleeping?


Well, yes and no.

In the short term, evidence that people can keel over and die from staying awake too long is scant and anecdotal at best. At the same time, there’s a direct relationship between chronic sleep deprivation and a range of negative consequences – from heart disease to diabetes to depression – any one of which can shorten your lifespan. For untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) sufferers, a constant state of tiredness isn’t just a minor irritant, it’s of grave concern.

Man awake in bed next to symbols of depression, heart issues and diabetes


Taking wakefulness to the extreme

In a few documented cases, people have experimented with staying awake as long as possible, just to see what would happen. It generally didn’t go well. Dr. Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist, author and sleep specialist at UC Berkley in California can attest to the strange effects that can happen after missing a night of sleep. Speaking with the Berkley News in 2017, he related the tale of a memory experiment where a handful of students stayed up all night in his campus lab: by morning a pair of football players were found crazily grinning, with lipstick and mascara smeared on their faces by some female students in the sleep-deprivation room. “It was a striking demonstration of the emotional and personality impact of insufficient sleep” observed Walker.

heavily caffeinated woman tightly holding a cup of coffee


After just one night of no sleep, stress hormones and blood pressure are increased.

By three nights of sleeplessness, the brain’s executive function is impaired, and multitasking, attention span and short-term memory are all dramatically impacted. It only goes downhill from there: “I mean, it was crazy, where you couldn’t remember things, it was almost like an early Alzheimer’s thing brought on by lack of sleep,” reminisced a man named Randy Gardner, decades after subjecting himself to an experiment where he stayed awake for a staggering 11 days. It’s no wonder forced sleep deprivation has been recognized as a form of torture by the United Nations.

man with jumper cables and a cup of coffee


Even a little lost sleep is a lot

Gardner didn’t die from staying awake for 11 days. Others who pushed the envelope have actually died in the attempt, though there were usually other factors at play (mainly industrial doses of caffeine and other stimulant drugs, which almost certainly caused harm themselves). However, even losing a little sleep can have a big impact. According to Walker, we need look no further than daylight savings time for a jarring example. When we “spring forward” and lose an hour of sleep once a year, we see an average increase of 24% in heart attacks the next day. Not surprisingly, there’s a 21% decrease in heart attacks after the night we “fall back” and gain an hour of sleep. When we lose an hour, there are also increases in car accidents, work injuries, mood disorders and even suicides. It’s pretty clear the cost of losing even an hour of sleep can be high, so imagine what happens if your sleep is short-changed on a regular basis.

Side view of a head made of clocks


Sleep debt adds up

Ever hear the expression, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead?’ It goes against logic, but there’s been a certain bravado attached to sacrificing sleep, especially for work. But watch out – embracing a ‘sleep when I’m dead’ attitude might just make it come true sooner than you think: most adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to maintain health and operate at their best. The long-term effects of all that lost sleep? A compromised immune system, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, mood and social struggles, car accidents, reduced sex drive, early dementia and more. All of these serious issues are linked to sleep deficiency, and they only get worse over time.

Half-asleep man drinking coffee in the morning


Even with the desire to sleep, people with untreated sleep apnea can suffer a similar fate.

Instead of throwing away hours of sleep to burn the midnight oil, OSA sufferers go through nightly sleep deprivation, losing the equivalent of hours of restful sleep, but for them it happens a few seconds at a time. The micro-wakeups they go through, sometimes dozens of times an hour, cumulatively build their sleep debt. Worse, the disruptions prevent them from achieving a prime REM state – the time of night when the body repairs itself. Even if they’re snoring away for 8 hours, they wind up not getting enough deep, restorative sleep – and still waking up groggy. Sleep apnea is easily diagnosed with a home sleep test. At Apnea Health, we can guarantee an appointment within 48 hours and results in 3 weeks.

home sleep test


So, what’s the bottom line?

At the end of the day, if you’re otherwise healthy, you probably won’t drop dead from missing some sleep on the odd night. But chronically missing sleep can take you out of the “otherwise healthy” category in the longer term, so it’s critical to maximize restorative sleep (along with maintaining other healthy habits) for a long, healthy and happy life.

Happy well rested woman with sleeping husband in background

At Apnea Health, we love our pets!

Working during the pandemic hasn’t been easy, but our cats, dogs, birds, fish and even a lizard have helped reduce our stress levels. Playing fetch with our dogs, cuddling with our cats and caring for all the others brings us such joy and peace.

Did you know that February 20 is love your pet day? Along with us, show your pets how much you appreciate all the love and support they provide.

Here’s how:


Spend Extra Time with Your Pets

Spend some additional quality time with your furry friend. Take your pup out for an extra long walk or cuddle up with your cat on the couch.

Sharing your time is one of the best ways to show your pets you care.

Man playing with a dog on a beach


Spoil Your Pets with a Treat or Toy

Everyone enjoys a surprise gift now and again, and your pet is no different. For Love Your Pet Day, pick out a special bone, treat or toy for them to enjoy.

If you don’t have a pet at home anymore, consider dropping off some toys at your local animal shelter instead.

Kitten playing with toy


Fun fact: over one-half of Canadians currently have a pet in their household

Perhaps unsurprisingly, cats and dogs are by far the most commonly-owned pets and are essentially tied in popularity (22% of Canadians own cats, 20% have dogs and 11% of pet households have both)

Interestingly, residents living in Quebec and Nova Scotia are less likely to own a dog and more likely to own a cat. Those in BC and the Prairies are more likely to own a dog compared to any other region.

Among Canadian pet owners, 18% report they obtained a new pet since the start of the pandemic.

pet stats en


Dogs and cats need more sleep

Your pets may seem like they spend a lot of time sleeping. Dogs and cats love their daily naps, not to mention adjusting to their parent’s nighttime sleeping patterns. Just how much sleep do dogs and cats really need?

Most dogs and cats get somewhere between 12 to 16 hours of sleep a day, although some (particularly kittens and puppies) can sleep up to 20 hours a day!

kitten and puppy sleeping together

How sleep apnea is linked to your heart

Sleep apnea is dangerous for your heart and cardiovascular system because it deprives the body of oxygen.

Each time you struggle to breathe during the night due to your obstructive sleep apnea: you get less oxygen in your system, and your heart has to work much harder to get more blood flowing around your body.

The increase in effort from your heart can cause high blood pressure and other heart problems such as heart attacks and strokes. The good news is, using CPAP may help both sleep apnea and heart health at the same time.


Study: “CPAP Compliance Key to Reducing Cardiovascular Risks of Sleep Apnea”

The researchers at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine observed participants who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea.

By testing them before starting CPAP treatment and then again 3 months into their treatment, they were able to see how quickly

CPAP treatment could affect heart health. They found:

  • Patients with high compliance showed huge improvements in blood pressure
  • Low-compliance test subjects didn’t see any results
  • For those that stopped with high compliance, the benefits quickly disappeared
  • How to use your CPAP to reduce cardiovascular risks

heart health woman


Make sure you have working supplies

When your supplies are old, the therapy will become less and less effective. Because this happens slowly over time, most folks end up not noticing it. Instead, they will tighten their mask a little more, thinking they just need the seal a little closer.

Eventually this leads to over-tightening that can cause pain, marks, and the annoying “hot mask” feeling. The less comfortable your CPAP supplies are, the harder it is to stay compliant and get your CPAP benefits. You can avoid this by replacing your supplies regularly.

Consult our schedule for replacing your mask and supplies:

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Shop replacement kits

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AirSense 10 Replacement Kit

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S9 Series replacement kit

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DreamStation replacement kit

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SleepStyle replacement kit


Make sure you have the right pressure.

Sleep studies are no longer needed to ensure machines are providing the right pressure. Instead, newer CPAP machines are now auto-titrating, meaning they adjust to your needs breath-by-breath to give the most effective pressure needed all night.

Today, ResMed, Respironics and Fisher and Paykel devices have automatic comfort settings to help you stay CPAP compliant:

  • Humidification: 7 levels of humidity and an optional heated tube ensures you don’t dry out
  • Expiratory Pressure Relief reduces pressure upon exhale, avoiding high pressure mask leaks
  • AutoRamp: Starts your sleep therapy at a low pressure so you fall asleep more comfortably

If your equipment is up-to-date and you’re still having trouble with your CPAP treatment, please contact us for a free CPAP Check Up. Apnea Health is here to help you get on the path to better sleep!

woman adjusts settings on her CPAP machine


Related Links:

How CPAP is linked to better sex and sexual health

Sleep apnea is harmful for your sex life, especially for men.

Between lowered oxygen to your brain at night and negative effects on your mood and heart, your body will incur other frustrating side effects from untreated sleep apnea.


Sleep apnea reduces the quality of your sleep and that takes a toll on you all day long, all the way to your time in bed.

Along with sleepiness and headaches, sleep apnea’s effect on your body’s blood flow can lead to premature erectile dysfunction in men, as well as lowered sexual ability and enjoyment. In fact, 10-60% of OSA patients may develop erectile dysfunction.¹ The reduced blood flow impairs your bodily functions, especially with areas that only get activated under certain circumstances, like your sexual organs.

Man and woman sit in bed looking uncomfortable


Study findings on CPAP and sexual health

The good news is, using CPAP may help both sleep apnea and your sex life at the same time. Researchers have found that using CPAP can:

  • Reverse early onset erectile dysfunction¹
  • Improve your ability to enjoy and participate in sex²
  • Prevent sleep apnea induced damage to fertility tissue in men³

Learn more about the hidden link between snoring and low sex drive

man wearing cpap mask cuddles his wife in bed


REMINDER: Replace your CPAP supplies regularly

To make the most of your sleep therapy, you should replace your CPAP accessories regularly. It’ll help reduce issues like leaks from aging masks, and keep your machine running efficiently. At the same time, you’ll lower the risk of accumulating bacterial or fungal growth. Insurance covers CPAP supplies yearly. Check out the CPAP replacement schedule and allow us to check with your insurance provider to see what they will cover (for free!). Click below to get started.

Resmed ClimateLine Heated Tube for S9 Series


Need replacement parts or a new mask?

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If you’re noticing trouble in the bedroom, first you may want to make sure that your CPAP is working optimally.

You can reach out to us for a FREE CPAP Check-up at one of your local clinics. Apnea Health is always here to help.

Respiratory therapist speaking to patient about their CPAP treatment


References

  1. “Men using CPAP see improvement in sexual function, satisfaction” American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
  2. “Outcome of CPAP Treatment on Intimate and Sexual Relationships in Men with Obstructive Sleep Apnea” Reishtein et al.
  3. “Sleep Apnea as a Potential Threat to Reproduction” Hirotsu et al.

This Sunday marks the beginning of Daylight Saving time, when the clocks “spring forward” by one hour.

In the Spring, some dread “losing” that all-important hour of sleep, but for others, the change in routine is disruptive and at times, detrimental.

For those suffering from sleep apnea the bi-annual changing of the clock represents a period where the general public gets to experience some of the same debilitating effects of sleep routine disruption, while simultaneously providing apnea sufferers with yet another hurdle in the battle for a good night’s sleep.


What happens when your sleep routine is affected?

According to Stuart Fogel, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, where he works in the Sleep Research lab, “…even a small amount of sleep loss can have some severe consequences”.

While you gain an hour on one end, you lose an hour on the other end. The result? Our biological clocks are off and everything about us is out of sync.

man lying awake in bed


Changes in your sleep schedule, even for only an hour, can have an effect on your brain.

According to Fogel, “That will have an impact on your vigilance, probably your attention, and probably your ability to concentrate, your ability to react to things in your environment.”

He adds that “There’s some literature showing that there are increases in accidents, workplace, motor-vehicle accidents and the severity of them is greater following the time change.” Coincidentally, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is currently running a campaign about fatigue behind the wheel, warning drivers to be vigilant and rest up, make sure to use their CPAPs if they are sufferers of sleep apnea, to keep our roads safe.

Sufferers of sleep apnea can totally relate to these side-effects of sleep inconsistencies. However, most non-sufferers of sleep apnea have their internal clocks adapt to the new schedule in the same way you might adjust to jet lag.

Tired man rubbing his eyes in his car


The practical fallout is real.

In 1999, researchers at Johns Hopkins and Stanford universities wanted to find out what happens on the road when millions of drivers have their sleep disrupted. Analyzing 21 years of fatal car crash data from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, they found an increase in road deaths on the Monday after the clock shift in the spring: the number of deadly accidents jumped to an average of 83.5 on the “spring forward” Monday compared with an average of 78.2 on a typical Monday.

And it’s not just car accidents. Evidence has also mounted of an increase in incidences of workplace injuries and heart attacks in the days after we spring forward.

Tired woman driving car


How to regain your rhythm

Essentially, the same advice we give to sleep apnea sufferers applies here too – at the heart of it all is keeping a consistent schedule.

Here are a few tips that can help you find your groove:

  • Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime.
  • Eat well (avoid too much fat, salt and sugar; eat plenty of fruits and vegetables).
  • Limit your consumption of caffeine, energy drinks, alcohol and medication.
  • Take time to relax, and adopt good sleeping habits: Develop a bedtime routine to prepare for sleep (read a few pages, take a bath, etc.).
  • Go to bed and get up at regular hours (avoid large differences between weekdays and weekends).
  • Make the bedroom off-limits to phones, televisions, computers, etc.

Remember – getting a good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury. It’s a must for health!

couple jogging


A great way to remember to check your CPAP

Firemen use Daylight Saving time as a reminder for people to check the batteries in their fire alarms twice a year. Why not apply the same principal to your CPAP? Daylight saving time change is a great way to remember that you should get your CPAP checked.

Give us a call to book your CPAP check and our inhalation therapists will be happy to do a download, check your machine and make sure you are on track to get the best quality sleep – all year round!

Employee administering CPAP Therapy to a patient