To Avoid Colds, Get Enough Sleep

To Avoid Colds, Get Enough Sleep

     Beginning in the eighties, sleep started getting a bad rap, as if it was something to avoid.  People didn’t want to miss out on anything.  The “anything” was likely to be work, as that decade saw the beginnings of the communication revolution in business and the impetus to “do it now”.  It started with pagers, evolved to fax machines and then cell phones.  By the mid-nineties, dial-up Internet came on the scene, and the pace of life has only sped up since then with the advent of smart phones.    

     Recently, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco conducted the first sleep study of its kind, using special technology to measure actual sleep time.  They established base lines for the study’s participants and then administered a cold virus.  Those with less than 6 hours sleep the week before were 4.2 times more likely to come down with a cold.

     While technology has certainly altered our lifestyles dramatically, our bodies haven’t changed in tens of thousands of years.  We need sleep.  It is not a luxury, but a necessity.  Sleeping less than 7 hours a night is associated with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, weight gain, and depression.  It is also linked to weakened immune function, increased pain, more errors, and greater risk of accidents. 

    Along with good food and sufficient exercise, getting enough sleep is essential to good health.  It sounds easy enough, but I have many patients who have trouble sleeping.  Work schedules, family commitments, commuting time, certain illnesses or conditions, stress, emotional difficulties, all can contribute to insufficient sleep.  If this sounds like you, I invite you to call my office at 808-783-0361 and request a no-charge phone consultation.  There are many things I can do to help.  Find the article here.

How To Stop Snoring

How To Stop Snoring

     While snoring might seem like a humorous topic to some, for those affected by it, it’s no laughing matter.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, 37 million Americans snore on a regular basis.  The annoying noises are the result of the airway narrowing or being partially blocked.  More than a nuisance, snoring can also be an indicator of health conditions that need attention.

      There are some simple lifestyle changes that can sometimes help reduce or eliminate snoring, ranging from nasal strips to sleeping on your side to avoiding alcohol for at least four hours before going to bed.  Alcohol relaxes the airway muscles, which constricts airflow.  Tobacco smoke can irritate throat membranes, so that is yet another reason to quit smoking.  Being over weight often includes excess fat around the neck.  This compresses the upper airway and restricts airflow, so losing weight can often help with snoring issues.

      Snoring occurs when the soft tissue in your throat partially blocks the airway.  Researchers have found that doing some simple mouth and tongue exercises can sometimes work to reduce snoring.  The article describes four of them.  If lifestyle and other techniques don’t help, it could be time to see a sleep specialist. 

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