Learn More About Sleep
- SleepEducation.com is a website operated by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine that is designed to be a valuable tool for patients and members of the public who are seeking dependable information related to sleep, sleep disorders, treatments and services.
Evaluate Your Sleep
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is, by far, the most common sleep disorder diagnosed at most sleep centers. OSA occurs when the tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the flow of air to the lungs. There are four basic methods that are used to treat OSA:
- Weight Loss- Approximately 77% of obese people are at high risk for OSA, due to excessive amounts of fatty tissue that build up in the airway. Weight loss is very important as this decreases the amount of obstruction in the throat. Often a significant amount of weight loss is enough to stop OSA symptoms. The FMH Wellness Center offers Weight Management and Nutrition Programs to help people live a healthier lifestyle. To find out more about these programs, click here.
- CPAP- CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This involves wearing a mask over the nose and/ or mouth during sleep. A small machine sends a steady flow of air through the mask, which keeps the airway from collapsing. To learn more about CPAP, click here.
- Oral Appliances- Oral appliances are devices that are custom-made by a dentist to treat mild to moderate cases of OSA. They help to keep the airway open by moving the lower jaw and tongue forward during sleep. To learn more about oral appliances, click here.
- Surgery- There are a wide variety of surgical procedures that are used to treat OSA. Most of them involve removing or modifying soft tissue that may be blocking the airway. This may include the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, adenoids, and/ or tongue. To learn more about surgical options, click here.
- Listen to white noise or relaxation CDs. Some people find that white noise or nature sounds help them sleep.
- Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. Grains and sugars will cause your blood sugar to rise, making it difficult to sleep. Later in the night when your blood sugar drops, you may wake up and feel as if you can’t go back to sleep.
- Sleep in complete darkness or with as little light as possible. Even the tiniest trickle of light into a room can disrupt your sleep. If you turn lights on while you use the bathroom you will stop the production of melatonin (an important sleep aid) in your body. So, if you must use the bathroom in the middle of the night, only turn on the smallest amount of light you will need, if any.
- No TV right before bed. Television stimulates your brain, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Also, if the television is on during the night, the light created is disrupting your sleep as well
- Wear socks to bed. Cold feet can wake you up in the middle of the night. Due to circulation issues, the feet usually get cold before the rest of your body.
- Journaling. If your mind is racing, try writing your thoughts down before you try to sleep.
- Keep bedroom temperature cool. Many people keep their homes and bedrooms too warm. Try keeping the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F.
- Avoid caffeine. Some people may not feel the affects of caffeine until long after it is consumed. So be careful when you have that afternoon soda. You may have a long night ahead of you.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may initially make you drowsy, but you can wake up several hours later and be unable to fall asleep. Also, your sleep will be a much less restorative sleep.
- Lose weight. Sleep apnea can occur because a person is overweight. This will prevent you from achieving a restful sleep.
- Don’t drink any fluids within two hours of going to bed. This may help you stay asleep, and you will not need to get up and go to the bathroom.
- Take a hot bath, shower, or sauna before bed. If you raise your body temperature in the late evening, your body temperature will fall at bedtime, helping you sleep better.
- Remove the clock from view. Watching the minutes tick by as you continue to wake up will only add stress, which will not help you sleep.
- Keep your bed for sleeping. Don’t watch TV in bed or do work.
- Don’t change your bedtime. You should go to be or wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up.
- Make certain you are exercising regularly. At least 30 minutes of exercise each day will help you achieve a better night’s sleep.
- Establish a bedtime routine. This could include meditation or deep breathing. The key is to feel relaxed.
- Wear an eye mask to block out light. As said before, it’s important to sleep in complete darkness. This is not always an easy task, so try an eye mask. The mask can help to block out light that is still in the room.
- Put your work away at least one hour (but preferably two or more) before bed. Give your mind a chance to cool down.
National Sleep Organization Websites
- The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is the only professional society dedicated exclusively to the medical subspecialty of sleep medicine. As the leading voice in the field of sleep medicine, the AASM sets standards and promotes excellence in health care, education and research.
- The National Sleep Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable, educational, and scientific not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving sleep health and safety through education, public awareness, and advocacy.