Beauty sleep is a very real thing

According to new research reported by the BBC this week, beauty sleep is a real thing according to Swedish researchers at the Karolinka Institute, and a lack of it is a serious problem to both your looks and your health.

Young woman sleeping at night in bed

This new work has clearly shown that people who miss out on sleep appear far less attractive to others. Their sleep experiments suggest that a couple of bad nights can be enough to make a person look “significantly” more ugly to people who don’t know them.

The results published in the Royal Society Open Science Journal showed that people who had tired faces, were rated by strangers as less healthy and less approachable, and having dark circles under the eyes, and puffy lids, can even put others off socialising with you.

The research was based on student volunteers who were sent home with a small monitor to wear that would measure their movements whilst asleep to check that they had not cheated and slept when they should not have.

They were asked to get a good night’s sleep for two consecutive nights and then a week later, they were asked to restrict themselves to only four hours sleep per night for two nights in a row. The researchers took make-up free photos of the volunteers after both the good and the bad sleep sessions.

A further panel of women and men living in Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm looked at the photos and rated them on attractiveness, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness, as well as asking them: “How much would you like to socialise with this person in the picture?”

Those who looked tired in the photographs were easily identified and their scores for attractiveness suffered. In addition those looking at the photographs said that they would be less willing to socialise with the tired students, who were also perceived to be much less healthy.

We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep but how much sleep an individual takes and actually needs can vary greatly. Leonardo Da Vinci, Edison, Napoleon and Margaret Thatcher all survived on less than four hours a night but many of us aren’t getting enough shut-eye to function properly.

A good night’s sleep is also very important to one’s overall health but people think little about it until they cannot do it.

Along with the physical changes that happen to all of us as we get older, changes to our sleep patterns may also occur. As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age, but our sleep needs remain constant throughout life.

Snoring, a condition that gets worse with age is the primary cause of sleep disruption for many adults and is most commonly associated with persons who are overweight. In addition, older people spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep.

Loud snoring is particularly serious as it can be a symptom of sleep apnoea. In sleep apnoea, breathing stops and the amount of oxygen in the blood drops. This alerts the brain, causing you to wake-up and resume breathing. These stoppages of breathing can occur repeatedly, causing multiple sleep disruptions throughout the night and result in excessive daytime sleepiness and impaired daytime function.

Untreated, sleep apnoea puts a person at risk for cardiovascular disease, headaches, memory loss and depression. If you experience snoring on a regular basis and it can be heard from another room or you have been told you stop breathing during your sleep, these are signs that you might have sleep apnoea and it should be discussed with your medical advisor.

Sleep studies are prone to concluding that we’re all sleep-deprived. In fact, scientists aren’t really sure of the exact amount of sleep required, and studies find that the requirement varies significantly from one person to another, for reasons not fully understood.

One thing is sure however – you’ll certainly know if you’ve had enough quality sleep and whether you feel bright and refreshed the next day. It’s easy to do things to improve it such as preventing snoring. That’s something both you and your partner will both benefit from and you’ll feel the difference quickly.

Make sure you play the part of Beauty and not that of the Beast.

John Redfern


The problems faced by couples due to snoring.

Snoring is a huge problem that results in one in three couples in the UK now opting to sleep apart to get a better night’s sleep. Do you find it hard to get a good night’s sleep because there is someone snoring alongside you? Millions of couples worldwide are familiar with this situation and suffer from disturbed sleep. In some cases, both partners in the relationship are snorers.

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While we sleep our bodies are hard at work recharging and optimising our body’s functions. A recent study found that those who slept less than seven hours a night on average were three times more likely to get sick and suffer major health issues than those who averaged at least eight hours.

A recent study has shown that 41.5% of the British adult population snores at some time or other in their week. So most likely, even if you don’t snore, your partner does, and sometimes both of you have the problem. As such, more than 30 million people have a regular and ongoing problem with snoring and usually, men snore much louder than women.

The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 90 million Americans snore, 37 million on a regular basis. While all ages and genders snore, twice as many men than women snore nearly every night and most of them go through life undiagnosed. If you have trouble sleeping at night, it could be more than just a noisy disturbing inconvenience. In fact, you could be suffering from a serious medical condition called sleep apnea.

The reasons why we snore are pretty straightforward. When you fall asleep the muscles in your neck and throat relax. They then go floppy and the airways narrow, meaning there is less space for the air to go through. The soft tissue in this smaller space vibrates and rattles as the air passes through.

Snoring is also a symptom of sleep apnea which results in dangerous oxygen deprivation, as the sleeper’s airway becomes blocked, and deprives the brain of oxygen, As result it is unable to reach the cells and tissues, and dangerous conditions occur due to low oxygen over a long period.

If this is an issue for you, then there is a kinder, and more effective solution than kicking the person next to you and waking them up, or moving out. After all, that’s pretty counterproductive, and one of the main reasons why snoring is listed as the third most important factor that contributes to divorce. The medically recommended solution also makes quitting the marital bedroom to get some sleep something that is no longer necessary.

NHS Choices clearly gives the following information on their website:

‘If your snoring is mainly due to the base of your tongue vibrating, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may be recommended.

It’s designed to push your jaw and tongue forward. This increases the space at the back of your throat and reduces the narrowing of your airway that’s causing your tongue to vibrate, resulting in snoring.

You can buy a MAD for around £30-50, which is suitable for most cases of simple snoring (snoring that doesn’t cause any breathing difficulties).

However, if your snoring is associated with breathing difficulties, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, it’s recommended that you have a MAD made specifically for you by a specialist using impressions of your teeth and jaw.

The cost of a custom-made MAD will depend on the complexity of the device and materials used, and can range from several hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to obtain a custom-made MAD free of charge on the NHS.

An MAD lasts about 18 months before it needs to be replaced.’

Source: NHS Choices

Following an extensive testing programme, the NHS published their findings in The Lancet and recommended SleepPro oral appliances as their number one selection to prevent snoring, along with mild to moderate sleep apnoea. Many patients acquire SleepPro products online after consulting their Hospital or Sleep Centre where special literature is made available that describes the product range available and they can arrange special prices.

These are all problems that couples who snore may have to cope with later in life when they should be relaxing, enjoying life, and ticking off their bucket list but it’s never too late to take action.

Peace will return to the bedroom and your relationship will be the winner.

John Redfern


The latest research shows many women suffer in silence

Nearly HALF of women are constantly exhausted – and it could be due to a serious medical condition, experts warn in an article based on new UK Government research that was published this week.

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The YouGov survey of 4,100 British adults found that 46 per cent of women have trouble sleeping, compared with 36 per cent of men.

  • The study found that nearly half of women are sleep deprived but suffer in silence – only one in four tell their doctor.
  • Lack of sleep could be caused by obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) – a sleep disorder that causes snoring and highly dangerous pauses in breathing – but often goes undiagnosed.
  • Poor sleep also increases risk of type 2 diabetes for middle-aged women and other new research confirms this.
  • Women are also more likely to wake during the night, with 36 per cent of women reporting this problem compared with 23 per cent of men.
  • Six in ten women said they become irritable during the day because of lack of sleep, while less than half of men do.

Many women do not seek medical advice because they believe it is merely a side effect of growing older. Experts however warn that not getting enough sleep can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition, although pregnancy or the menopause can often be a factor too.

Sleep is known to be a particular problem for women as they approach the menopause.  Changes in hormone levels can lead to hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes – each of making sleeping harder. Pregnancy and the menopause increase a woman’s risk of suffering from OSA.

Professor John Stradling, a sleep expert at Oxford University, said: ‘Often women think that feeling exhausted is just part of modern life when in fact it could be something more serious. Remaining untreated leaves women at risk of reduced quality of life and serious health conditions.’

He added: ‘Many women are not aware that they may have sleep apnoea, meaning that they are missing out on the medical advice or treatment that they need. The sooner their sleep issues are addressed by a sleep expert, the better.’

Bill Johnston, chairman of the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association, which commissioned the survey, said it was easy to blame poor sleep on a change in the seasons, especially in winter. ‘For many it is, but for others, sleep issues could be a sign of sleep apnoea,’ he said.

‘The overall lack of awareness around sleep apnoea symptoms and its impact on a person’s health may mean that many are suffering in silence so it is important that we work with healthcare professionals to uncover this missing group and help minimise the impact of sleep problems on their lives.

An estimated 1.9 million women in Britain are thought to be going through the menopause at any one time. Some 80 per cent of these women are thought to experience symptoms, which typically last for about four years.  For about one in ten, however, symptoms last much longer, in some cases continuing for 12 years.

If left untreated it could lead to more serious health problems such as stroke or heart attack. Some 1.5 million adults in Britain are thought to suffer with sleep apnoea, but do nothing although treatment is simple and inexpensive. As well as snoring and insomnia, symptoms include restless legs, fatigue, depression, headaches and muscle pain.

No woman likes to think that she snores, because of the stigma that is attached to it, but at the end of the day the statistics show that women who snore account for 40% of all snorers.

A range of high quality approved mouthpieces that help to prevent serious health problems caused by heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea is now available. These are 98% effective in tests, NHS Approved, comfortable, unobtrusive, and bring a great night’s sleep.

SleepPro Woman has been specially produced for this group and is the ideal starter mouthpiece. If symptoms continue or are accompanied by gasping for breath in the night they should consider a custom-fitted appliance called SleepPro Custom – the NHS No. 1 recommendation for both snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Acting now and investing in a mouthpiece that will stop your snoring could improve your day beyond recognition, and maybe even save your life.

John Redfern