What is good sleep hygiene?

Good sleep hygiene

People don’t often think about hygiene when discussing good sleep, but it is a major factor. In order to ensure a good night’s rest, a healthy routine needs to be in place. It is well documented that good sleep is linked to better physical and mental health, which means the opposite is true as well. No matter what someone’s age, good sleep hygiene and routine practices are necessary. 

So, why use the term hygiene? Are we talking about being clean while sleeping? Well, that’s part of it, but it’s more of a holistic concept around what is involved in going to sleep, sleeping, and waking up from sleep. Waking up well-rested is a sign of good sleep hygiene. Bad sleep hygiene is mentioned when someone doesn’t fall asleep easily, has trouble staying asleep, and subsequent daily fatigue. While sleeping is something that comes naturally to humans, it is something that needs to be assessed and exercised in order to attain maximum performance levels – just like working out.

Ways to improve sleep hygiene

Some people are better sleepers than others. Likely, those good sleepers already have good sleep hygiene in place with a healthy lifestyle, nightly routines, and managing any physical factors that may affect sleep. 

How do you know if you have good sleep hygiene? It’s a good idea to pay attention to your daily habits and take note of when you have bad nights of sleep. If you start to track what is consumed throughout the day, habits before bed, and how you feel the next day, it will be easy to analyze what is and what is not working. 

Daily habits that affect sleep hygiene 

How you spend your time throughout the day greatly affects how you sleep at night. Here are some pointers to ensure better sleep:

  • Minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Give yourself enough time before bed to digest dinner
  • Eat healthy foods and integrate daily exercise into your day
  • Make sure to get outside during the day for some fresh air 
  • Quit smoking

Healthy nightly routines 

If you’ve improved your habits throughout the day, there are things to do at night that can improve sleep.

  • Limit activity in the bed to mainly sleeping
  • Unplug from electronics and opt for a book instead
  • Dim lights and optimize space in your bedroom to induce a restful state
  • Wind down time should be a meditative state, not worrying about the next day
  • Keep a consistent routine

By changing small things in your larger routine, you can see great improvement in sleep hygiene. It will take some time to break habits and make new ones, but sleep is the most important thing you can do for optimal health. 

Is your sleep being disrupted due to ear, nose, and throat issues? Schedule an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute  

If changing your sleep routine to reach good sleep hygiene doesn’t seem to be working, there may be other issues that are keeping you awake at night. We can help diagnose and rule out many physical issues that may be affecting your sleep.

How to treat chronic snoring

Snoring and its causes 

We’ve all been around (or been that person) who snores at night, keeping everyone awake. Snoring happens when relaxed tissues in your throat vibrate, creating that irritatingly harsh noise we all know. People snore if they have allergies, had alcohol before sleep, sleeping on your back, or are clinically overweight. But, some snoring isn’t just bothersome and loud, but a sign of a more problematic condition that affects sleep. 

Good sleep happens in cycles and when those cycles are interrupted, you will not have a full night of rest. Snoring often affects the REM (rapid eye movement) portion of the sleep cycle, which is most imperative for memory and concentration. If you feel like your snoring is interrupting your dream sequences, that is your REM cycle that’s being disrupted. 

Problematic snoring symptoms

If someone is chronically experiencing any number of the symptoms listed below, we recommend making an appointment to come see us at the Breathe Clear Institute to get things under control.

  • Chest pain or gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Pauses in sleep, noticed by you or someone sleeping next to you
  • Restless sleep or snoring so loud it keeps your partner awake at night
  • Poor concentration, morning headaches, over tiredness the next day

We recommend keeping a sleep journal to track your sleep so we can better understand any patterns that might arise. For example, if you wake up in the middle of the night with a gasp, jot it down in a notebook on your bedside. Try to avoid documenting anything on your phone as it may cause you to stay awake longer than intended. Since we won’t be there to monitor your sleep on a nightly basis, this is the next best thing for proper evaluation. 

Heavy snoring is sometimes caused by an obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) diagnosis, which is something we also help treat at our office. This would be a further conversation on how to manage and treat OSA beyond everyday helpful tips for snoring.

What to do to lessen snoring

If your snoring is disruptive to you or anyone in your household, it’s best to try a couple things to remedy it. Without having to consult a doctor, we recommend making the following changes to your routine to see if snoring decreases.

  • Limit or eliminate alcohol intake before bed
  • Sleep on your side or with your head elevated 
  • Clear your nasal passages with a spray or strips, use a humidifier at night
  • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Avoid smoking and nightly sedatives, if possible
  • Understand your family history of snoring and/or breathing issues
  • Get check by your doctor for nasal problems and/or allergies 

Want to stop snoring? Schedule an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute 

If snoring is keeping you or others in your household awake at night, it’s time to get a handle on it and treat whatever is making you snore at night. Breathing properly while sleeping is essential to a good night’s rest and we are here to help make that happen.

Schedule an Appointment

Best tips for getting a good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep is a necessity 

There is an infinite amount of research to prove the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleeping is essential for a healthy lifestyle, much like diet and exercise. It is common to experience nights of bad sleep, but chronically poor sleep can greatly impact your health and need to be addressed and examined. While some consider sleep a regular part of your day, there is work that needs to be put into it in order to get the most out of it.

With the rise of stressful global issues, endless exposure to screens and blue light, plus daily personal anxieties all around us, we are seeing sleep quantity and quality on the decline. The team at Breathe Clear Institute is determined to help people find their way to reliable and good sleep in order to live healthier and longer lives. 

What is bad sleep?

There are many factors throughout the day that can contribute to a bad night of sleep. Stress is the most common cause of poor sleep and needs to be managed throughout the day in order for it to subside at night. Stress can come from any aspect of your life and manifest itself in many different ways like muscle and headaches, racing thoughts, restless behavior, triggering over- or under-eating, and in turn bad nights of sleep.

Some people cope with stress by consuming caffeine and alcohol, but they are directly linked to poor sleep. Caffeine is an upper and increases your heart rate and anxiety levels. Alcohol is a depressant and might make you feel sleepy, but actually interferes with the brain’s normal circadian, in turn creating a bad night of sleep. Overuse of caffeine and alcohol can lead to dependency, chronic fatigue, subsequent weight gain, and increased stress levels. 

There are, however, many cases where bad sleep is due to a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea. A diagnosis will come from your doctor and be managed through various treatments customized to your specific issues. 

How to improve your sleep

Eliminating food and beverages that negatively impact your sleep is the first step in improving your sleep. Next, creating a sleep routine is key – set nightly times to be away from your phone, turn off all screens, calm your nerves, and dedicate the next eight hours to rest. A comfortable and peaceful sleeping environment is also important, dedicating the bedroom a space only for rest and relaxation. Daily exercise not only tires people out but it releases chemicals in the brain that helps prepare for good sleep.

The benefits of good sleep

Better nights of good sleep means better days all around. Good sleep not only makes people feel good, but decreases chances of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and early death. Furthermore, good sleep means more energy throughout the day, better concentration, and being in an overall better mood. There are no known negative effects of a good night of sleep.

Learn more about your sleep by scheduling an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute 

If you want to improve your sleep or look into sleep problems in greater detail, we are here to help. First, take our Sleepiness Quiz to see how your current sleep affects your life. We’re ready to help you get a better night’s sleep and into a healthy sleeping routine.

Schedule an Appointment

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep Apnea

The medical term “apnea” translates to temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep. Disordered breathing while sleeping with multiple periods of pauses in breath is called sleep apnea and is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. While common, it is something that needs to be diagnosed and treated in order to avoid further health conditions and complications. 

Symptoms of sleep apnea not only include the aforementioned nighttime interruptions, but also daytime sleepiness, irritability, and headaches. While we all have bad nights of rest, sleep apnea is a diagnosis that needs to be addressed and is often undiagnosed. The Breathe Clear Institute can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea, from your home by a virtual appointment or by having you come into the office and meet with one of our specialized staff members..

Types of sleep apnea

While sleep apnea symptoms are often similar, there are three types: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and mixed sleep apnea. The Breathe Clear Institute treats all three types of sleep apnea. 

If you’re experiencing temporary lapses of breath while sleeping, you likely have OSA which means your airway at the back of your throat becomes physically blocked. If you are experiencing slower and shallower breath while sleeping, you likely have CSA due to a problem in the part of the brain that controls respiration muscle activity. Then, there’s a diagnosis of both OSA and CSA often called mixed or complex sleep apnea with symptoms and causation from both.

Treating sleep apnea 

While sleep apnea patients tend to be overweight men over 40 years old, but occurs with women and children as well. No matter who the patient is, we first recommended making some pivotal lifestyle and behavior changes that may reduce your symptoms and increase good sleep. Sleeping on your side and losing weight can both help better breath while sleeping. If those changes don’t work, there are three main treatment plans.

The most common sleep apnea treatment is using a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) therapy machine. CPAP machines require patients to wear a plastic mask covering their airways, connected to a tube that pumps oxygen into your lungs while sleeping. Another device offered is a dental appliance that helps open the airways worn at night time to increase good sleep and stop snoring. 

Some people find wearing devices to be uncomfortable and may opt for other more permanent treatment methods like surgery. Depending on the case, surgeries can remove tonsils and/or adenoids, restructure the mouth and/or nose, or opt for a procedure to stimulate the nerves in the tongue to help treat their sleep apnea. Wherever your journey to treat your sleep apnea may lead you, we are here to help. 

Schedule an appointment with Breathe Clear Institute 

If you are experiencing disordered sleep and want to be checked for sleep apnea, it’s time to make an appointment to see us. We can also help treat you if you’ve already been diagnosed.

Schedule an Appointment

What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

Your partner constantly complains about your snoring. You feel exhausted no matter how much sleep you get or how much coffee you drink. You even catch yourself falling asleep on the job. Sound familiar? You could be one of the 20 million Americans plagued with sleep apnea. And in reality, that number is probably much higher. Many people aren’t aware of the warning signs of sleep apnea and never get a diagnosis. And the consequences of that could be fatal.

Sleep apnea is often thought of as a benign condition. Okay so you snore — what’s the big deal? Well, when you have sleep apnea, your airway is obstructed, causing interrupted breathing, sleep deprivation. and lack of oxygen. Undiagnosed cases can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even erectile dysfunction. That’s why it’s important to get treated as soon as possible.

So before you brush off the possibility that you could have sleep apnea, consider these dangerous warning signs:

You Snore Loudly

We aren’t talking about just some heavy breathing. If your snoring is so loud that it disturbs your household or even awakens you from your sleep, you may have sleep apnea. Relaxed throat muscles can block your airway, unleashing that loud, monstrous growl that keeps that whole house awake at night. Do yourself (and your loved ones) a favor and pay a visit to your doctor.

You Gasp or Choke in Your Sleep

Gasping for air in the middle of the night isn’t normal; it’s a dangerous warning signal. If your throat muscles become too relaxed, your airway will become blocked to the point of choking. And if you’re a deep sleeper, you may not even notice yourself doing this. Ask your partner or record yourself overnight to verify if you have this symptom.

You Stop Breathing Periodically Throughout the Night

You may not be aware of this, but people with sleep apnea commonly hold their breath while they sleep. Just like with gasping, it may be a good idea to record yourself or ask your partner if they’ve noticed you doing this.

You Wake Up with Headaches, a Sore Throat and/or Sweat

Between the snoring, gasping and breath-holding, it’s no surprise that you’ll wake up feeling hungover. Inconsistent breathing will deprive you of oxygen, leading to night sweats, morning headaches, and a sore, dry throat. These symptoms are also associated with other conditions so it’s always a good idea to have an ENT confirm a diagnosis. 

You’re Extremely Exhausted

When your sleep is disturbed and your body deprived of oxygen, exhaustion is sure to follow. The sleepiness associated with sleep apnea is often intense. It’s not the same kind of tiredness you experience from staying up too late to binge-watch your favorite show. It’s actually not unusual for someone with sleep apnea to fall asleep while performing a task, watching tv, or driving a car.

You’re Not Yourself

Even if you think you’re getting a full night’s sleep, you’re not. And sleep deprivation will negatively impact your overall well-being. You may have this vague feeling of just not being yourself. Perhaps you’re irritable, unfocused, unproductive, or even depressed. This will, in turn, affect your relationships, job, and mental health.

Breathe Clear Institute Understands the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

If you think you could have sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with one of our ENTs to get a proper diagnosis. We will start with an examination of your sleep problems as well as a physical inspection of your airway. Once we arrive at a diagnosis, we can build a treatment plan based on the severity of your sleep apnea. The Pillar Procedure and nasal APAP machine are among some of the many ENT services we offer. Don’t put it off. Start breathing and sleeping better today.

Schedule an Appointment

Why Am I Having Difficulty Sleeping at Night?

Why Am I Having Difficulty Sleeping at Night?

Sleep is essential for an individual’s physical health, mental health, and overall well being. It allows for muscle repair, tissue growth, energy restoration, memory function, the regulation of emotion, and more. When deprived of sleep, a person can suffer serious consequences. There are many reasons why someone may have trouble sleeping at night. In this blog, we will discuss some of those reasons, which include engaging in poor habits, also known as poor sleep hygiene, insomnia, pain, and sleep apnea. 

Poor Habits

The choices we make can influence our sleeping patterns. Consuming alcohol before bed can reduce one’s REM sleep, which is an important stage of sleep. Drinking caffeinated beverages can make it difficult to fall asleep as caffeine is a stimulant. Other habits that can affect sleep include eating too close to bedtime, too much screen time, taking naps during the day, working out late at night, and going to sleep at different times every night. In addition, activities in bed should be limited to sleeping and sex. Reading and watching tv in bed can hinder our ability to maintain good sleep hygiene. 

Insomnia

One of the most common sleep disorders, insomnia is characterized by difficulties in falling and or staying asleep. Causes of insomnia include stress, an irregular sleep schedule,  mental health disorders, engaging in poor habits, as mentioned above, certain medications, and more. Individuals can experience various consequences as a result of insomnia, some of which are fatigue, daytime sleepiness, change in mood, and trouble focusing. 

Pain 

Another reason one may struggle to sleep at night is because of pain. Pain can result in difficulty falling asleep or disrupted sleep throughout the night. The National Sleep Foundation has reported that two out of three people with chronic pain experience trouble with sleeping. Intense flare-ups may occur, causing major discomfort as well as sleep deprivation. Managing pain is critical as sleep loss can lead to further health issues. 

Sleep Apnea

Lastly, sleep apnea may be the culprit of insufficient sleep. Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder that is characterized by interrupted breathing while a person is sleeping. The two main types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked due to the relaxation of muscles in the throat. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles that drive breathing. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, dry mouth, a choking or gasping sensation, change in mood, and fatigue due to disrupted sleep. Often a person who suffers from sleep apnea is not aware they have a problem and it is the bed partner who becomes alarmed and encourages a visit to the doctor.

For Difficulty Sleeping at Night, Contact Breathe Clear

If you or a loved one is being deprived of a good night’s sleep it is important to identify the root of the issue, which often involves contacting a healthcare professional. At Breathe Clear Institute, we know how crucial sleep is for your health and commonly accepted issues like snoring or waking up feeling unrested should not be overlooked. Our team is committed to helping diagnose and treat patients with sleep disorders, so that they may get the rest they deserve and lead healthy lives. If you’re ready to experience relief, we are here to help. Get your medical needs met today by scheduling an appointment.

Schedule an Appointment

Can Children Suffer From Sleep Apnea?

Yes, Children Can Suffer From Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by sleep disrupted by periodic pauses in breathing that lasts more than 10 seconds. It has been estimated to affect almost 22 million Americans. While much associate sleep apnea with older adults, it can also impact younger children. Learn about pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, its causes, symptoms, and ways to treat it with the professional team at Breathe Clear Institute. 

Causes 

Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Tonsils are glands in the back of your throat.  Adenoids are similar to tonsils, forming a pad of tissue at the back of the nose.   Tonsils and adenoids play a small role in the body’s immune system. In addition to the causes previously mentioned, children may also experience sleep apnea because of being born prematurely, medical conditions, being overweight, and family history. 

Symptoms

Symptoms of sleep apnea in children may include restlessness, snoring, coughing, night terrors, irritability, mouth breathing, bedwetting, hyperactivity during the day, difficulty focusing, behavioral issues, and more. 

Treatment Options 

If you notice that your child has been struggling with their sleep and it has affected their day to day life, it is important to get help as soon as possible to determine the best treatment option and avoid more serious problems. A doctor will first give your child an evaluation and ask any questions regarding symptoms and behavior experienced. He or she may order a sleep study, where the child will be monitored as they sleep. Sensors are placed on the body that tracks an individual’s heart rate, breathing, oxygen level, brain waves, and more. Treatment options differ for each case. It is possible that a child will outgrow sleep apnea. In other circumstances, a child may be prescribed nasal steroids to help alleviate congestion.  Removal of the tonsils and adenoids may be an option as well. In addition, there are now dental sleep apnea appliances available.

Schedule an Appointment With the Trusted Doctor at Breathe Clear Institute

If you believe your child is suffering from sleep apnea, contact the trusted professionals at Breathe Clear Institute. It is not uncommon for people to experience some form of sleep condition in today’s society, even children. Issues with sleep should never be overlooked and the team at Breathe Clear is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. Our doctor specializes in performing tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies. Children are able to typically recover in a week or so from both procedures. If another form of treatment is required, we will ensure your child is given the best possible care – whether it be medical or surgical. We will work with you to choose the treatment plan that’s going to best fit your child’s needs.
Let the suffering end now. Give your child the relief they need and deserve by contacting Breathe Clear Institute today to schedule an appointment. Our dedicated staff along with Dr. Davis looks forward to seeing you soon and helping improve the quality of life for your loved one. A high standard of care is only a phone call away.

Contact Us

Can the Pillar Procedure Help You?

Learning About the Pillar Procedure

If you (or your partner) snore on a regular basis, it could be sleep apnea that is causing the noise to occur. You may not feel well rested in the morning, either because you are snoring, or your partner is. Either way, there are sleep treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms and lead to a better night of sleep. Take the Pillar Procedure, for example. Consider this treatment as an option with your doctor. 

What is the Pillar Procedure?

This procedure is a minor surgery that can help relieve snoring and treat obstructive sleep apnea in its mild to moderate forms. The muscles in the back of the throat relax when you sleep, which can cause sleep apnea and snoring. This procedure places small polyester rods into the soft palate. They are less than an inch in length and allow tissue around the rods to stiffen the palate as they heal, which can then reduce the vibration of tissue in that area. The procedure can be done right in the doctor’s office with local anesthesia.

Why the Pillar Procedure?

This procedure might be suggested if you snore a lot and are bothered by it—or are bothering your partner. It can also help you relieve mild or moderate sleep apnea, which can lead to being tired often. For sleep apnea, the first line of defense is often a CPAP machine. These devices use a face mask to deliver air pressure to the airway, preventing blockage from occurring. But when nonsurgical treatments don’t seem to be working, the Pillar Procedure could be your best option.

Preparing for the Procedure

If you and your doctor decide to move forward with the Pillar Procedure, there’s really nothing you have to do to prepare. If you have certain conditions or are prone to infections, your doctor may have you take some antibiotics before the appointment. Otherwise, there aren’t generally any restrictions beforehand.

During the Procedure

You can expect the procedure to take 30 minutes or less. A topical anesthetic is applied to numb the area. Then, you get an injection with local anesthetic. Once that kicks in, the implants are positioned and inserted.

After the Procedure

You may want to sit for a few minutes in the doctor’s office to assess any bleeding or swelling, but you should be able to go about your normal day and even eat normally later in the day. You may get anti-inflammatory or pain medications prescribed to keep swelling down, and you will most likely use an antiseptic rinse for a few days to prevent infection.

The Results You’ll See From the Pillar Procedure

This procedure can work right away to treat snoring and mild sleep apnea, but it also doesn’t work for everyone. Your ENT doctor at Breathe Clear Institute can help you assess whether or not you are a good candidate for the surgery. While the results can be immediate, it may also take time for the soft palate to harden. The full effects may not be felt for a few months.

Contact Us