Sleepwalkers and Heavy Snores: How To Be Safe?

SleepingSleep. You become most vulnerable when you lack sleep.  But how do you keep yourself safe when the cause of sleep problems could be you? Off the bat, there are two types of people who need to be safe from themselves when sleeping, those who suffer from sleepwalking and sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea, as defined by Expertmedicine.com, is a common sleep disorder that affects both children and adults, and that could result to critical cardiac events such as stroke, cardiac arrest, heart arrhythmia, and chest pains.  Research associates sleep apnea as a serious disorder that needs treatment immediately. Apnea or “want of breath” in Greek tally in an estimated 18 million sufferers in America, or at least 1 in every four households (family of 4), that’s 6.62% of the American population.  It’s not gender specific or age specific.  As a result, 263,000 kids have their tonsils removed to help remove the obstruction in their breathing.

Indirectly, the bed mate of the person who has sleep apnea is most likely to lose sleep since the sufferer may experience a nightly average of 400 apneas per night.  The joke is that since almost one in two hypertension patients have sleep apnea, the other half hypertension victims are their bed mates.   It is recommended that you see a doctor if you feel you have sleep apnea but you can also try this self treatment tips:

  1. Lose weight. Some people find that even moderate to severe sleep apnea can be completely corrected by losing excess weight. For others, even a small amount of weight loss can open up the throat and improve sleep apnea symptoms.
  2. Quit smoking. Smoking is believed to contribute to sleep apnea by increasing inflammation and fluid retention in your throat and upper airway.
  3. Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives, especially before bedtime, because they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing.
  4. Avoid caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of going to bed.
  5. Maintain regular sleep hours. Sticking to a steady sleep schedule will help you relax and sleep better. Apnea episodes decrease when you get plenty of sleep.

Bedtime tips

  1. Sleep on your side. Avoid sleeping on your back, as gravity makes it more likely for your tongue and soft tissues to drop and obstruct your airway.
  2. Try the tennis ball trick. In order to keep yourself from rolling onto your back while you sleep, sew a tennis ball into a pocket on the back of your pajama top. Or wedge a pillow stuffed with tennis balls behind your back.
  3. Prop your head up. Elevate the head of your bed by 4 to 6 inches or elevate your body from the waist up by using a foam wedge. You can also use a special cervical pillow.
  4. Open your nasal passages. Try to keep your nasal passages open at night using a nasal dilator, saline sprays, breathing strips, or a neti pot.

Somnambulism
It’s been defined that there are 5 stages of sleep and sleep walking happens during stage 3 and 4 or the stage before Rapid Eye Movement or the sleep cycle associated with dreaming. So does this mean that sleepwalkers have at least an amount of consciousness when it happens?

Somnambulism

Somnambulism, a disorder that occurs when people walk or do another activity while they are still asleep.

No, sleep walkers have no recollection of what they did upon waking up. It is also most prevalent during middle-childhood to early adolescence.  The prime causes could be genetic, sleep deprivation, alcohol intoxication and sometimes medical conditions brought about by high fever and sleep apnea. A sleepwalker has symptoms that range to quietly walking about to agitated running of trying to escape. They can be responsive but incoherent and slow. They do not do what is depicted in movies with the arms raised.  In kids, it is suggested that restless sleepers are most likely sleepwalkers. If it’s not that alarming, a simple self care can be done to correct sleep walking or keep the house safe for a sleep walker. Here are some tips:

  1. Get a good amount of sleep.
  2. Avoid any kind of stimuli (auditory or visual) prior to bedtime.
  3. Keep a safe sleeping environment free of harmful or sharp objects.
  4. Sleep in a bedroom on the ground floor if possible. This will prevent falls, avoid bunk beds.
  5. Lock the doors and windows, add an extra bolt if you must.
  6. Remove obstacles in the room like toys and objects of potential hazard.
  7. Cover windows with heavy curtains.
  8. Place an alarm or bell on the bedroom door and if necessary, on any windows.

Other sources

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About 

Roger Gallager is a communications Specialist with expertise in marketing.  He is also a freelance writer. He has written about a range of topics including saving, money tips, home improvement, and the construction industry. He has been writing articles advising homeowners on how to secure homes, and deal with home-related problems that will inevitably arise. His expertise in the field is balanced by his liking on aviation, and music.

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