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What do you want to know about breathing? Answered in our newsletter



Apnea-surgical   Apnea neurological    Apnea Hypertension   Apnea Digeridoo   Apnea Youth Fitness    Apnea Chemistry    Apnea Mechanical    Nose Breathing    Apnea and Oxygen  Apnea Herbal Relief   Apnea the Non Disease   Apnea Quiz   Sleeping Snoring Strokes  

Sleeping, Snoring, and Strokes

Years ago, when I focused on my goals and purposes, I put on the top of my want list to be able to wake up rested. It just seemed to make sense. Lately, too many close friends are reporting how little sleep they get and their apparent lack of regard or ability to deal with that. This is for them...and you.

     Skimping on sleep plays havoc with important hormones, possibly damaging brain cells, stressing the immune system and inviting the growth of fat instead of muscle.

     Cheating on sleep even for a few nights increases brain levels of cortisol, a potentially dangerous stress hormone. Lack of sleep can dull the brain, sap energy, increase irritability and depression and makes people more accident-prone. You can offset this a little by being in great physical shape but many abuse this with overstraining and I believe it impairs their judgment. Dr. Robert Greene, Harvard Medical School neuroscientist stated “If sleep is needed for brain function to be working in an optimal way, you are losing that”.

     A National Sleep Foundation survey found that nearly two out of three Americans did not get their recommended eight hours of sleep a night. Thirty percent of those get less than six hours of sleep. For most, eight hours of sleep is adequate, although some function well on six hours, even four; others need ten. Many have forgotten what a good night’s sleep feels like.

     According to the Institute for Sleep Medicine, the most common sleep related problems are snoring, sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleeplessness, involuntary napping, restless legs during sleep, shift work, jet lag, insomnia and sleep walking. Interventions for the above include sleep medicine, neurology (for brain disorders), lung disorders, surgical treatments, mouth breathing aids, mechanical breathing machines (CPAP etc), psychology, psychiatry, dentistry, speech therapy and pediatrics. Because poor sleep can have a HUGE breathing component, I sometimes refer to surgical approaches that have not explored breathing development prior to surgery as "butchery".  Butchery is a harsh word and some of these surgical interventions may be life saving but when you see that when the uvula or soft palette is unnecessarily removed and or the lower jaw is caused to permanently thrust out you may well consider butchery as an appropriate description.

     An estimated 100,000 car crashes annually are blamed on sleepy drivers. My recorded Better Breathing Exercise #2, also called the Tibetan Caffeine, will energize and focus while facilitating a potentially life saving increased mental clarity and second wind. It is not recommended that you use it and drive a vehicle but I have done so with great success.

     Sleep loss causes a stress hormone cortisol to increase, while two other hormones – muscle building human growth hormone and prolactin, which over sees the immune system – decrease. Studies in animals (primates and rats again?) and older people show that long-term exposure to abnormally high levels of cortisol can damage brain cells, causing shrinkage in the hippocampus, a critical region of the brain that regulates learning and memory.  

If Your Body Clock is Disrupted it Can Speed Cancer Growth

The destruction of the body's natural rhythms accelerated the growth of cancerous tumors in laboratory animals.

In mice whose body clocks -- also known as circadian rhythms -- were disrupted, "the body's defense system was apparently less able to control tumor growth, and others were following up on recent reports that the disruption of the body clock of those who perform shift work seems to result in a higher propensity for cancer.

In half the mice in the experiment, the researchers destroyed a part of the brain that controls the body's natural rhythms, including sleep-wake cycles as well as body temperature, hormone release patterns, immune response and metabolism. The remaining "control" mice received mock surgery.

The mice with part of their brains destroyed lost proper functioning of their body's natural rhythms, remaining at a more constant level throughout the day and night.

Researchers then implanted tumors into all of the animals, and monitored the animals for tumor growth as well as long-term survival rates.

The investigators found that the tumors grew two to three times faster in the animals whose rhythms had been disrupted. Those animals also experienced a significantly worse survival rate, living only 22 days after the tumor graft, compared with 26 days in the other group.

The study authors speculate that the part of the brain that controls the circadian rhythms may play a role in fighting off disease by its influence of the body's immune responses or hormonal fluctuations.

Great ideas and would be best if they did not so quickly set people up for being hooked up to breathing machines.  But of course some may need that to stay alive. We are developing a program to integrate our breathing development techniques with sleep labs.

The mechanical breathing devices can be a good emergency measure for some.  But they do not conform to one's natural/inconsistent breathing patterns and thus actually mechanize/control the breathing beyond what I believe is healthy.  I do not believe that at this time there are any programs that train people to breathe better in conjunction with those mechanical breathing devices.  I believe this is critical to not being forced to use the mechanical devise for the rest of one's life.  

     A sleep clinic employee who was also one of my clients reports that the sleep clinic attaches many electrodes to people to help them to sleep and the electrodes often keep the patient awake. If they keep some awake don’t you suspect they take others out of as deep a sleep as they might be otherwise capable of? A parallel issue; as good as biofeedback can be, I experienced a restriction of my breathing from the rubber band around my chest. But I would include biofeedback as a possible adjunctive approach and see what happens.

A great combination with a high degree of success related to sleeping and or snoring.

~~ Snoring in children may be cause for concern. At least that's the conclusion in a new study out of the University of South Australia. When they studied over 2,000 children who snored versus those who did not, they found significant cognitive differences. Compared to non-snorers, children who snored showed significantly impaired attention and lower memory and IQ scores. Blunden, S., et.al, 2000. Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, Vol 22(5) 554-568.

~~ Sleep deprivation and sleep habits do correlate with academic grades. A study out of Worcester, MA, shows that students who received low grades (C's, D's, F's), obtained about 25 minutes less sleep and went to bed an average of 40 minutes later on school nights than students with high grades (A's and B's). Adolescents who slept less than 7 hours reported increased daytime sleepiness, depressed mood, and behavior problems. Wolfson, A. 1998. Child Development, Vol 69(4) 875-887.

Snoring can confuse the apnea issue. I believe snoring is a precursor to and often accompanies apnea. "Doctors at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany said in a report, published in the February issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, that the only sure way to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea is with an overnight test that monitors a number of things, including airflow through the nose and mouth, snoring, oxygen saturation, certain electrical activity of the brain and body position.

    101 patients who complained that they were having snoring problems were examined under one process which included a medical history and a look at anatomy in their nose and throat, and again by overnight sleep tests.

    The patients ultimately diagnosed with apnea by the overnight test had readings on the first physical tests that were not significantly different from those did not have apnea, the study found.
    "In our opinion, all patients seeking treatment for snoring should be screened overnight using a device measuring at least oxygen saturation and airflow", the report said. 

From Mike:

This gives people the false idea the snoring has nothing to do with apnea. I do believe that is DOES have a LOT to do with apnea including sleep disturbance that makes one more susceptible to other oxygen deprivation and sleep loss maladies.

My best suggestion for apnea or snoring is to develop the breath during waking hours. Then it works better while sleeping.  Apnea is difficult. That is why when you see any sign of it you had better get working on it right away. I believe it requires a coach and significant time spent retraining the breathing. Singing is of great assistance. Some clients of mine have had success with special breathing redevelopment techniques.

A recent article first published in Mother Jones and then Utne Reader about the next big pharmaceutical blitz called Sleep for Sale. PDF download here.  It will be about sleep  Can't down-load PDFs?  Get Adobe Reader logo  Download the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader


In any event, if you snore I suggest you get our sleep program plus you had better have a medical doctor check you out for sleep apnea. If you DO their testing have it make sure you develop your breathing so that you reduce the chances for needing surgery and or will not have to use or stay on a mechanical breathing device the rest of your life.

Herb for reducing snoring: Thyme is one of the oldest known substance in medical records.  Ebers Papyrus (dating from sixteenth century BC) an ancient Egyptian list of 877 prescriptions and recipes. The Egyptians used thyme for embalming. Listed in Dioscorides' De Materia Medica (A.D. 78), Europe's first authoritative guide to medicines, that became the standard reference work for herbal treatments for over 1,700 years.Thyme was listed in Hildegard's Medicine, a compilation of early German medicines by highly-regarded Benedictine herbalist Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Therapeutic properties: Anti-aging, Highly antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic. Thyme contains large amounts of Thymol which is one of the strongest antioxidants known. USES: Infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, hepatitis, snoring, etc. Get the topical version for snoring. Our Respiratory Enhancer includes thyme.

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The breathing improvement techniques, practices and products outlined in this publication are extremely gentle, and should, if carried out as described, be beneficial
to your overall physical and psychological health. If you have any serious medical or psychological problem, however, such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
cancer, mental illness, or recent abdominal or chest surgery, you should consult your health professional before undertaking these practices.