Monday, August 29, 2016

Hitting the Road for Labor Day?

Hitting the Road for Labor Day? Remember to Stay Awake at the Wheel

Labor Day weekend is just around the corner – a time when millions of American motorists will hit the road in search of some end-of-summer fun. With only a few days to enjoy, some will set off for their destinations either late at night or early in the morning in an attempt to stay ahead of traffic and beat the crowds. Many will be too sleepy to drive, putting themselves and others at risk of becoming the latest casualties of drowsy driving.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that Labor Day weekend is second only to the Fourth of July for summertime traffic fatalities.

Most people are aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated, but many are in the dark about the dangers of driving while drowsy. Like alcohol, fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness, and impairs judgment. According to NHTSA, more than 5,000 people died in drowsy-driving-related motor vehicle crashes across the United States last year.1 Drowsy driving crashes are often very serious or fatal, especially when they occur at high rates of speed. Unlike a driver who is impaired by alcohol, a sleeping driver is unable to take any action to avoid a crash.

Often those killed or injured are not only the drowsy drivers, but those of us who have the misfortune to be on the road at the same time. Tragically, many of these crashes could have been avoided - simply by understanding the impact of driving while fatigued. 

Drowsy Driving – Know the Risks, Avoid a Crash
The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get plenty of sleep on a regular basis, especially before a long drive. If you do find yourself feeling drowsy behind the wheel, there are steps you can take to avoid a fall-asleep crash. First, recognize the warning signs, such as drooping eyelids or not remembering the last few miles. These are signs that you should pull over as soon as possible and find a place to sleep for the night. If you decide to continue driving, a 15 to 20 minute nap may keep you alert for the remainder of the trip. Remember to consume caffeine before your nap – it takes 20 minutes or so to take effect.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Back to School SleepHealth Tips

Kids tend to sleep and wake up later during the summer, making the transition to the school-year sleep schedule difficult.  As tempting as it is to enjoy sleeping late in the final days of summer break, getting up earlier for school will be much easier if kids begin adjusting their sleep schedules now.

Parents may find themselves unprepared for the sleep challenges that the new school year brings. Many need to wake up earlier in order to pack lunches, drive their kids to school or help them get to the bus stop on time.

Here's some recommendations to help parents and children start the school year strong:

  • Gradually adjust to earlier sleep and wake schedules ten days to two weeks before school begins. This will set biological clocks to the new schedule.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule, and avoid extremes on weekends. Having a regular bedtime increases the likelihood that kids – including teens – will get optimal sleep.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Reading before bed is a good choice for kids of all ages and for parents.
  • Create a sleep environment that is cool, quiet, dimly lit and comfortable.
  • Keep television, video games and other electronics out of the bedroom.
  • Limit caffeine, especially after lunchtime.
  • Eat well and exercise.  

Please remember to complete all or your surveys and join the Sleeptember campaign to enter contests to win prizes next month.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Join us, Arianna Huffington and others today for a Twitter Chat

Join us TODAY to chat #sleep in @SharecareInc's #yourbestrest Twitter Chat- starting at 12 ET! Ask your q's!

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans admitted that they would feel better and more prepared for the day if they had an extra hour of sleep. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say we’re in the midst of a national epidemic over lack of sleep—which is causing increased anxiety and stress, poor mental performance, and negative physical health issues. We’re joining Sharecare in a #yourbestrest Twitter Chat to discuss sleep hygiene and habits, sleep disorders, and the health implications of sleep. Ask your sleep questions using #yourbestrest and join us on Twitter Thursday, July 21, from 12-3 p.m. ET!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Special Twtter Chat on Sleep, Pain and Arthritis - Tomorrow, Monday, July 11 at 6:00 EDT #CreakyChats

Join us for a special Twitter Chat

Hope you are having a great weekend.  Please join the SleepHealth App Study Team and Sleeptember with our friends at the Global Healthy Living Foundation and CreakyJoints tomorrow, July 11th at 6:00 EDT for a special Twitter Chat session on the connections between sleep, pain and arthritis.  

Also, please remember to complete your surveys and give us your feedback on the study at

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is it Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

About 90 million Americans suffer from snoring activity during sleep. 

While half of these people are “simple snorer’s” or primary snorers, the other half may have a serious sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The two conditions are often inaccurately used interchangeably and may be incorrectly treated as a result. While OSA will almost always leads to loud and frequent snoring, snoring does not always indicate OSA.

Understanding the differences between sleep apnea and primary snoring is the first step to effective treatment of both conditions.  For all the people across the country who are getting nudged or elbowed throughout the night from frustrated bed partners, it’s important to know what their snoring means, and how they can silence it.

Do your research

Knowing the difference between the two conditions is key in determining proper treatment. Snoring is the result of tissues in the throat relaxing enough that they partially block the airway and vibrate, creating a sound. Depending on an individual’s anatomy and other lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption and body weight, the sound of the vibration can be louder or softer.
Loud frequent snoring is one of the indicators of OSA, which is a chronic condition characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. When people with OSA fall asleep, they can stop breathing for a few seconds to a minute or more.  Both conditions can be caused or made worse by obesity, large tongue and tonsils, aging and head and neck shape.

Do talk to your doctor

If you or your partner is a frequent loud snorer, stops breathing, gasps or chokes during sleep, experiences excessive restlessness at night or feels sleepy during the day, you may want to bring it up with your doctor to see whether a sleep study is necessary.  Taking this first step to get tested prior to beginning any treatment prevents inaccurate self-diagnosis, inadequate treatment, and/or premature dismissal of the problem. Your primary care physician will be able to refer you to a sleep specialist.

Do get treated

Snoring treatments range from lifestyle alterations, such as weight loss, a decrease in alcohol consumption and changing sleeping positions, to oral devices, nasal strips and even surgery. Treatment of OSA, however, often involves CPAP , a blower connected by a tube to a mask that fits over the mouth or nose, blowing air so that a continuous pressure in the airway is maintained. This constant pressure keeps the airway from collapsing allowing normal breathing.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep—it’s as vital to our health as a nutritious diet and regular exercise.  However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly one-third of American adults aren’t getting even the minimum amount of sleep they need to be alert the next day.

Most sleep experts recommend that adults obtain seven to nine hours of sleep each night, depending on their own individual need.  Are you getting the ZZZs that you need?  If not, try the following tips to help you perform your best every day.

  • Keep a regular schedule.  Even on the weekends, when there is temptation to sleep in, it’s important that you go to sleep each night and wake up each morning at nearly the same time.

  • Avoid sleep-disturbing products such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.  Coffee, tea, or sodas may contain caffeine, which is a stimulant, and should be avoided at least six to eight hours before bedtime.  Nicotine is also a stimulant—besides the risk for heart disease and cancer, smoking before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep.  Many people also think of alcohol as a sleep aid.  While it may make you drowsy, it can actually cause nighttime awakenings and disrupt sleep. 

  • Create a sleep-friendly environment that includes a cool, quiet, and dark room where you will not be disturbed.  Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, earplugs or other devices to help block out light and noise.

If you continue to have sleep problems, start a sleep diary to note the symptoms you are experiencing and share that diary and other concerns you may have with your doctor.  There may be an underlying medical cause of your sleep problem and you will want to be properly diagnosed.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Good morning, here is some information on sleep apnea that affects some 26 million Americans including children.  Please remember to complete your surveys and give us feedback on the SleepHealth App and Study at

What is Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer.   Left untreated, sleep apnea increases one’s risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and other medical conditions. 

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs in all age groups and both sexes, but there are a number of factors that increase your risk, including:

·       A family history of sleep apnea
·       Having a small upper airway (large tongue, tonsils or uvula)
·       Being overweight
·       Having a recessed chin, small jaw or a large overbite
·       A large neck size (17 inches or greater)
·       Smoking and alcohol use
·       Being age 40 or older
·       Ethnicity (African-Americans, Pacific-Islanders and Hispanics) 

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
·       Loud snoring
·       Morning headaches and nausea
·       Gasping or choking while sleeping
·       Loss of sex drive/impotence
·       Excessive daytime sleepiness
·       Irritability and/or feelings of depression
·       Frequent nighttime urination
·       Concentration and memory problems

Have a great and restful weekend.

The SleepHealth Study Team