Classic SleepCast

Sleep Apnea and Insulin Resistance

Janna Mantua - September 10, 2013 - Consequences of Sleep Apnea
It is sometimes difficult to tease apart the consequences of obesity and consequences from sleep apnea. Because being overweight is the biggest risk factor for developing sleep apnea (at least in the young to middle-aged population), more often than not, the apnea sufferer is over what is considered a healthy weight. This makes it complicated when trying to decide whether body weight or sleep apnea worsen problems such as hypertension, depression, or diabetes. In particular, insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity, two of the issues associated with diabetes, are associated with both excess weight and also sleep apnea. So how can we get to the bottom of whether apnea affects these things independently of weight? A research team cleverly devised a method of testing out this question. By examining a group of subjects with sleep apnea but without obesity, a direct relationship could be examined without that messy weight factor getting... Read more

Sleep Loss and Apetite

Janna Mantua - September 10, 2013 - Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Portion control. The secret to good health, as some would say, is eating in moderation. Certain societies and cultures are often criticized for chronic over-portioning. Obviously, large portions can lead us to eating more than we might typically eat. If not paying attention to hunger signals, it is easy to over-stuff yourself if the food is right in front of you. But could there be a physiological reason why some of us just can’t control our portions? A lack of quality sleep has been previously tied to increased cravings, so might sleepiness cause us to consume larger portions? This would be an important question to answer, considering those with untreated sleep apnea often undergo many nights of poor quality sleep. With this idea in mind, a team of researchers set out to see whether sleep deprived subjects are more likely to suffer from “portion-blindness” (my words, not theirs) compared with... Read more

Sleep Apnea in Adolescents

Janna Mantua - August 20, 2013 - Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Often discussed are sleep apnea in children, sleep apnea in those who are middle-aged, and also apnea in the elderly. There is a large gap there. Adolescence, sometimes referred to as the teenage years, includes a wide range of changes in the human body. I won’t discuss what happens during puberty (I’m sure you remember), but the body basically starts to become more adult-like. Some define adolescence as lasting into the early 20s, which brings on even more bodily changes. These changes, of course, include brain changes as well. Oftentimes, though, this age group is ignored by researchers. Luckily, sleep apnea researchers have recently set out to see just how many “normal” adolescents suffer from the disorder. In this study, over 1,000 13-16 year olds were recruited and questioned thoroughly (as were their parents) to look for any sign of breathing troubles during sleep. The research team asked about any... Read more

Sleep Apnea and Quality of Life

Janna Mantua - August 20, 2013 - Consequences of Sleep Apnea
How do you feel today? Happy? Lethargic? Nostalgic? How we feel on a day-to-day basis basically determines our life happiness. In fact, a wise soul once said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Many people, though, have an overall low quality of life, based on their subjective opinions. We can measure heart rate, oxygen in the blood, and sugar levels, but do those numbers matter if our quality of life is low? Let’s take a look at some research that focuses on how sleep apnea affects overall quality of life. Using self-administered surveys on physical activity, social activities, physical health problems, bodily pain, mental health, emotional issues, vitality, and general health perceptions, the research team in this study was able to collect data on over 1,000 subjects. These subjects had all also previously undergone an overnight sleep study that was used to assess... Read more

Sleep Apnea and Napping

Janna Mantua - August 13, 2013 - Cutting-Edge Research
Have you taken a nap today? If not, have you wanted to? Napping is not “abnormal.” In fact, humans are probably supposed to nap in the afternoon when our circadian rhythm takes a dive. In most cultures, though, napping during the day is thought of as a sign of slacking or overall laziness. On the other hand, other cultures, such as the Spanish culture, do not frown on taking naps. But in these cultures, who needs the naps the most? If someone was ultra sleep deprived – let’s say because they suffer from sleep apnea – would they need to take naps more frequently?  A team has already taken on this question to explore the napping characteristics among a population in Caceres, Spain. Phone interviews were conducted to gather research subjects who were regular nappers and those who were not regular nappers. In this study, a napper was defined as... Read more

Sleep Apnea and Glaucoma

Janna Mantua - August 13, 2013 - Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Glaucoma is a group of conditions that causes damage to the optic nerve, the main nerve that connects the eye with the brain. Damage can lead to an irreversible loss of vision. Although there are a few causes for glaucoma, the main one is an increased amount of pressure in the eye. Risk factors include increased age, ethnic background, and medical conditions like hypertension and heart disease1. Because we know each of these factors is independently linked with sleep apnea, the question to follow is how many of those suffering from glaucoma also have sleep apnea?  A group of scientists recently took on the mission to study the relationship between these two disorders. This group examined a large group of people (114 subjects) who underwent overnight sleep studies after their doctors suspected that they may be suffering from sleep apnea. In addition to an overnight sleep study, the subjects were... Read more
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