Thursday, March 29, 2012

My latest article for Mining Family Matters in WA

In recent years there have been many ground breaking facts released by the medical profession regarding the science of sleep. Or more precisely – the lack of it due to snoring. Whether you snore yourself or your partner does, on average snoring can cause around 20 awakenings a night – adding to a sleep loss of over an hour each day. We now know that low oxygen supply caused by snoring or simply from a partner’s sleep deprivation contributes to the production of excess cortisol, a stress hormone. It also suppresses the production of Leptin, a protein hormone responsible for weight regulation. Cortisol slows our metabolism and contributes to weight gain and specifically belly fat. Untreated snoring can also lead to heart disease due to arterial plaque build-up, obesity, diabetes and most certainly depression since serotonin levels are lower with lack of sleep also.
Many people don’t realise that snoring is a ‘natural’ process whereby with age our throat muscles sag and no longer support and prevent the tongue from dropping back to vibrate against soft palate which causes the sound we know as snoring. Most snoring commences in the 40’s or 50’s though some people snore earlier due to genetic factors such as a narrower airway or larger tongue or their jaw structure. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a more serious condition that involves not only snoring but also intermittent partial or complete blockages of the airway by the tongue. If you wake feeling very fatigued each morning or your partner says you stop breathing at intervals you should seek a referral from a GP for either a take home sleep study or a diagnosis in a sleep clinic.
For over two decades Mandibular Advancement mouthguards have been available to treat snoring though many people are still not aware of their existence. Since snoring is a ‘mechanical’ issue it requires a mechanical treatment. These mouthguards are designed to be worn during sleep to hold the lower jaw stable thereby preventing the jaw dropping open and backwards which ensures the tongue stays forward and keeps the airways open. These mouthguards have traditionally been custom fitted by dentists or sleep apnoea clinics, however for around 8 years or more affordable, self-mold mouthguards have been available online and in some clinics. Elizabeth Horne who runs and more recently aims to inform the public that there is no need to suffer the effects of snoring. “The aim of my websites is not only to sell mouthguards, but also to advise customers of snoring risks and of lifestyle modifications to help the issue”. With a background in research, wellness coaching and marketing Elizabeth answers the phone personally 7 days a week if customers require assistance. This unique customer service approach is paying off with many repeat customers and referrals. The business itself was established when Elizabeth researched the snoring treatments available in pharmacies and studied the science of why we snore. “I knew a spray or pill could not prevent the tongue dropping back, and had great success with an expensive mouthguard that my own husband trialled. I contacted manufacturers until I found a partner to make a BPA-free self-mold mouthguard so that I could supply them online for a reasonable cost.”
“Mining industry employees often contact me seeking help as their livelihoods depend on alertness and safety. What’s gratifying is the great feedback I receive from them about how easy the mouthguard is to use and how it’s changed so many facets of their life including health and of course relationships. Many couples sleep apart due to snoring, believing it’s just something you have to live with, particularly if they know their parents also snored. That’s not the case – we now know that snoring and heart disease go hand in hand so it’s incredibly important to seek treatment. Many ladies commence snoring during menopause when lower hormones allow muscle weakening. People mistakenly believe that if you are overweight that fat cells in the neck are the cause of snoring. And of course that statement is correct, but often these people become overweight as a result of snoring and excess cortisol. So they can be eating healthily and exercising but find it very hard to control their weight until they treat the sleep issues”.
“I am happy to chat anytime how the Mandibular Advancement splints can help or customers are welcome to read about them online”.
Elizabeth can be contacted on 1800 991 259 or via

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