Getting a good night’s sleep requires more than just going to bed on time. Try following these four sleep tips to give yourself the best chance of getting consistent, quality sleep each night. And if you feel like you’re doing everything you can to get a good night’s sleep but no longer have the energy to do the things you love, there might be more to the story. Sleep apnea (also spelt sleep apnoea) affects three in 10 men and nearly two in 10 women .1 Talk to your doctor and ask about a sleep apnea test – which can be done in a sleep lab or the comfort of your own home.
1. Allocate enough time for sleep. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise, so it’s important to allocate the right amount of time in your day for sleep and plan the rest of your schedule accordingly. Getting a good night’s sleep means 7–8 hours each night for adults (including older adults), 9–10 hours for teens, at least 10 hours for school-aged children and 11–12 hours for preschool-aged children.
2. Create consistent sleep habits. As creatures of habit, we’re usually more successful when following a routine. Sleep is no different. From your pre-sleep ritual to going to bed and waking up at the same time, you’ll find that consistency makes it easier to fall asleep each night.
3. Create a comfortable sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and comfortable – especially your bed. It may take some experimenting and an investment on your part, but finding an ultra-comfortable bed and pillow is invaluable. We spend one-third of our lives in bed, making it the one area of your life you don’t want to compromise on comfort.
4. Turn it off before bed. Whether it’s television, reading, email or texting, give yourself a nice window of time to unplug and relax before bedtime. Your body should associate your bed with sleep and these activities ramp up your brain activity rather than relaxing it. Television and bright light can also suppress melatonin production – making it difficult to fall asleep.
01 Peppard et al. Increased prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in adults Am J Epidemiol.2013;177(9):1006–14.
What causes snoring is a question that can be answered multiple ways. From an anatomical standpoint, snoring is caused by a partially closed upper airway (the nose and throat). Everyone’s neck muscles relax during sleep, but sometimes they relax so much that the upper airway partly closes and becomes too narrow for enough air to travel through to the lungs.
Why do people snore?
Why do some people snore and others don’t? Those who have enlarged tonsils, an enlarged tongue or excess weight around the neck are more prone to snoring. And structural reasons like the shape of one’s nose or jaw can also cause snoring. The snoring sound itself is a result of the narrowing of a person’s airway, which causes a throat vibration and the snoring sound. No matter the reason, 40% of normal adults snore regularly,1 whether they realise it or not.
Snoring and sleep apnea
Snoring and sleep apnea (also spelt apnoea) are linked at an alarming rate – three in 10 men and nearly two in 10 women who are habitual snorers suffer from some degree of obstructive sleep apnea.2 Sleep apnea prevents you from getting the healthy sleep you need to lead a refreshed, energetic life. So regardless of what is specifically causing snoring for you, if you snore — or if you suspect you snore — consider it a sign that something might not be right. Take our short sleep apnea quiz or find a sleep testing facility near you.
01 Ohayon MM et al. Snoring and breathing pauses during sleep: telephone interview survey of a United Kingdom population sample. BMJ. 1997;314:860–3
02 Young T et al. The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. N Engl J Med 1993; 328(17):1230–5.
Wondering what happens during sleep? Think of your body like a factory. As you drift off to sleep, your body begins its night-shift work:
- Healing damaged cells
- Boosting your immune system
- Recovering from the day's activities
We all know the value of sleeping well, and we've all experienced the feeling of being refreshed after a good night's sleep (and the feeling of fatigue after a poor night's sleep). But even though we know this, in our busy society, many of us are not getting the quality six to eight hours of sleep our bodies need.
Understanding the sleep cycle
Understanding what happens during sleep also means understanding the sleep cycle. During the night, our bodies cycle through two recurring phases of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-REM or non-rapid eye movement). Both phases are important for different functions in our bodies.
If the REM and NREM cycles are interrupted multiple times throughout the night - either due to snoring, difficulties breathing or waking up frequently throughout the night - then we miss out on vital body processes, which may affect our health and well-being not only the next day, but on a long-term basis as well.1
What happens if you don't get enough sleep?
If your body doesn't get a chance to properly recharge (by cycling through the two phases of sleep, REM and NREM), you're already starting the next day at a disadvantage. You might find yourself:
- Feeling drowsy or moody1
- Struggling to take in new information at work, remembering things or making decisions2
- Craving more unhealthy foods, which could cause weight gain1,2
If this happens day after day, night after night, you can imagine the strain it would place on your, body and overall health.3 Find out how to talk to your doctor about your sleep habits.
01 Palnitkar G, Zimmerman S, Cistulli P. Sleep apnoea in adults: identifying risk factors and tailoring therapy. Medicine Today 2012, 13(8):14-23
02 Greer SI, Goldstein AN, Walker MP. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2259.
03 Mansfield DR, Antic NA, McEvoy RD, How to assess, diagnose, refer and treat adult obstructive sleep apnea: a commentary on the choices. Sleep Disorders. MJA 2013; 199: S21–S26
If you're too tired and don't have the energy to do the things you love, there might be more to the story. Learn more about sleeping disorders here. sleep apnoea affects more than 3 in 10 men and nearly 1 in 5 women.1
If you think you’re not sleeping well or not feeling your best it’s important to consult your doctor.
- 01 Sleep-disordered breathing affects 34% of men and 17% of women aged between 30-70 Peppard et al. Increased Prevalence of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Adults Am J Epidemiol.2013(5.17)
What is sleep apnea? "Apnea" literally means "no breath" or "stopping breathing".
Many people have sleep apnea, (also known as sleep apnoea) but may not even know it. In fact, sleep apnea affects more than three in 10 men and nearly two in 10 women, so it's more common than you might think.1 If you think you might have sleep apnea, it’s important to recognise some of the common symptoms and what you can do about it.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea
The first and most common sign of sleep apnea is usually observed by your partner: snoring. In addition to snoring, they might also tell you that you make gasping or choking sounds while you're asleep.
You might notice some other symptoms too such as:2,3
- constant tiredness
- poor concentration
- morning headaches
- depressed mood
- night sweats
- weight gain
- lack of energy
- sexual dysfunction
- frequent urination at night
Remember, these symptoms may not always relate to sleep apnea, so please discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor to ensure that an accurate diagnosis is made
What is sleep apnea?
When you have sleep apnea, air stops flowing to your lungs for 10 seconds or longer – that is, you actually stop breathing.
Sensing you have stopped breathing, a control centre in your brain triggers you to wake up just enough to take a breath. Then you fall back to sleep and the cycle begins again. In some people this can happen over 30 times every hour even though you may not remember waking up.4
As you can imagine, constantly being triggered back into breathing, hour after hour, night after night, can put a strain on your body.
You may feel very tired day after day yet not realise that you’ve been waking up so many times at night as a result of having sleep apnea.
What should I do if I suspect a problem?
If you’ve tried improving your sleep, but still snore or wake up feeling tired, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
“If you have been told you snore, and feel tired and unmotivated a lot of the time, take time to discuss this with your doctor. Renewed enthusiasm for living and a joyous vitality may just be your reward.”
– Dr Carmel Harrington, Sleep Consultant
Types of sleep apnea
There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA) and mixed sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea, making up 84% of sleep apnea diagnoses.5
In most cases of obstructive sleep apnea, air stops flowing to the lungs because of a blockage (or obstruction) in the upper airway – that is, in the nose or throat.
The upper airway could become blocked due to:
- the muscles around your airway relaxing too much during sleep, which blocks sufficient air from getting through. This narrow airway causes a vibration in your throat, which creates the sound of snoring.
- the weight of your neck narrowing the airway
- inflamed tonsils, or other temporary reasons
- structural reasons, like the shape of your nose, neck or jaw
Central sleep apnea (CSA)
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a less common type of sleep apnea.5
In some cases, the airway is actually open but air stops flowing to the lungs because no effort is made to breathe. This is because the communication between the brain and the body has been affected so the automatic action of breathing stops. People with CSA don't often snore, so the condition sometimes goes unnoticed.
Mixed sleep apnea
This is a mixture of both obstructive sleep apnea OSA (where there is a blockage or obstruction in the upper airway) and CSA (where no effort is made to breathe). Your doctor can help you understand more about this if you need to.
If you have any concerns that you may have any type of sleep apnea, please consult your doctor.
Sleep apnea treatment
It's important to take sleep apnea seriously.
But the good news is there is a treatment for it, and most people experience a whole range of benefits from being treated:
- By treating your sleep apnea, you may help to lower the associated risks and improve your overall health6
- In many cases, treatment has been shown to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as daytime sleepiness, depressed mood, reduced memory and concentration, and reduced quality of life (especially in the areas of work performance and family relationships)7
- Untreated sleep apnea is also associated with symptoms including dizziness, shortness of breath and chest discomfort, which may be reduced when your sleep apnea is treated.8,9
- People with sleep apnea can become too tired to exercise, making some of their underlying conditions worse. Obese people being treated for their sleep apnea gain more energy, which may then help them exercise and lose weight.10 And weight loss has been shown to improve sleep apnea for some people.11
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, you're only a few steps away from a better night's sleep and feeling like yourself again. Go see your doctor or take our simple quiz first to see if you might be at risk.
- 01 Peppard PE et al. Increased Prevalence of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Adults. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 (5.17)
- 02 Palnitkar G, et al. Obstructive sleep apnoea in adults: identifying risk factors and tailoring therapy.Medicine Today 2012, 13(8):14-23
- 03 Wong SH, Ng BY. Review of sleep studies of patients with chronic insomnia at a sleep disorder unit.Singapore Med J. 2015 Jun;56(6):317-23.
- 04 Harrington, C. The Complete Guide to a Good night’s Sleep. Pan MacMillan Australia 2014.
- 05 Morgenthaler TI et al. Complex sleep apnea syndrome: is it a unique clinical syndrome? Sleep2006;29(9):1203-9.
- 06 Babu AR et al. Type 2 diabetes, glycemic control, and continuous positive airway pressure in obstructive sleep apnea. Arch Intern Med 2005; 165: 447-452.
- 07 Engleman HM, Douglas NJ. Sleep. 4: Sleepiness, cognitive function, and quality of life in obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome. Thorax. 2004 Jul; 59(7):618-22.
- 08 Wolk R et al. Sleep-disordered breathing and cardiovascular disease. Circulation 2003; 108: 9-12..
- 09 Buchner NJ et al. Continuous positive airway pressure treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea reduces cardiovascular risk. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007; 176(12): 1274-1280.
- 10 Lianne M et al. Effects of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure on Fatigue and Sleepiness in Patients with Obstructive Sleep apnea: Data from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Sleep. 2011 January 1;
- 11 Romero-Corral A et al. Interactions between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea: implications for treatment. Chest. 2010 Mar; 137(3):711-9.
If you have trouble sleeping, snore or suspect that you have sleep apnea, (also spelt sleep apnoea) it’s important to take those signs seriously and follow these three simple steps:
1. Recognise your symptoms. Are they listed as common symptoms of sleep apnea or other respiratory conditions?
2. Take our Sleep Apnea Quiz to see if you’re at risk.
3. Talk to your doctor about how to get a sleep apnea test, either an overnight sleep lab test (known as a polysomnography or PSG) or a home sleep test (HST).
Sleep lab test
In a sleep lab or hospital, clinical staff will place sensors on your body to monitor your sleep. With your permission, staff may also want to film your sleep study to gain more insight into your sleeping behaviour. This is to assess for unusual movements in your sleep (like sleep talking or walking) and for night-time seizures.
During this type of study, you’ll be required to stay overnight at the facility, so it’s a good idea to take everything you need for your usual sleeping routine, including pyjamas and toiletries.
Home sleep testing
A home sleep test (HST) is similar to a sleep lab or hospital setup, with the added comfort and convenience of being in your own home. Before a home sleep study night, a sleep clinician will show you how to apply the sensors and monitors, and how to use the recording device during the night.
On the night you’ve scheduled your home sleep test, you’ll follow your normal evening routine, prepare for sleep, attach everything as you’ve been shown and start the recording. In the morning, you’ll remove everything as previously demonstrated and return the recording device to the sleep lab or hospital.
ResMed’s ApneaLink™ Air home sleep testing device includes a chest belt, nasal cannula, oximeter and recording device, which replace the sensors and tubes attached to you during a sleep study in a sleep lab while providing accurate and useful results. Simple, fast and easy to use, the ApneaLink Air reports apneas, hypopneas, flow limitation, snoring, blood oxygen saturation and breathing patterns within the recording.
After your sleep study
You and your doctor will discuss the results of your sleep study. If you have sleep apnea, you will discuss its severity and its possible effects on your health, as well as explore sleep apnea.
Your journey toward better sleep starts here!
Fortunately, sleep apnoea treatment has never been easier.
ResMed is leading the way in advancing sleep medicine technology to provide sleep apnoea treatment that's comfortable. Today's sleep apnoea treatment technology is lightweight, comfortable and designed to help you live a healthy life with as little interference as possible
Why seek sleep apnoea treatment?
If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnoea why should you seek treatment? To begin with, sleep apnoea treatment will reduce and potentially eliminate the negative effects of the condition, such as snoring, drowsiness and lack of energy.1 Most sleep apnoea patients who successfully undergo treatment experience increased energy and a healthier mental attitude - not to mention the satisfaction of consistently getting a good night's rest.
There are more incentives to seek sleep apnoea treatment. Therapy may also help alleviate other chronic health conditions often associated with sleep apnoea, improve your daily energy levels and help you feel more like yourself again. By continuing your sleep apnoea treatment regularly, you are making an important decision to take control of your health, your well-being and your life.
Sleep apnea treatment options
|There are four common sleep apnea treatment options, including CPAP therapy. Learn about all four, then talk to your doctor about which one is best for you.
Living with sleep apnea treatment
|If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnoea but haven’t yet begun treatment, you probably have some questions about how your life will change and how it may affect your day-to-day activities and relationships.
Benefits of treating sleep apnea
|The benefits of treating sleep apnoea include easing common symptoms such as snoring and lack of energy.
Traveling with sleep apnea therapy equipment
|Traveling with sleep apnoea therapy? Here’s an overview of the basic steps to follow to ensure that your travel plans don’t interrupt your sleep apnoea treatment.