Wearable electronics have become more commonplace over the past six or seven years. Now one major electronics manufacturer is launching a feature in its product line that may achieve early detection of obstructive sleep apnea.
Samsung recently announced an upcoming sleep apnea detection feature in the Samsung Health Monitor app for the company’s Galaxy Watch line of smart watches. Set for launch in early 2024, this new feature is designed to spot sleep apnea symptoms in their early stages, allowing for timely intervention and better management of this serious medical condition.
Samsung’s new sleep apnea feature utilizes the Galaxy Watch’s BioActive Sensor to monitor blood oxygen levels during sleep. By analyzing how the blood oxygen values change in response to apnea/hypopnea, the device estimates the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), a critical measure to assess the severity of sleep apnea. Users will be prompted to track their sleep at least twice, with each session lasting over four hours within a ten-day period to gauge the presence of sleep apnea symptoms.
This cutting-edge sleep apnea detection feature is a significant addition to the existing health monitoring capabilities of the Samsung Health Monitor app, which already includes blood pressure monitoring, electrocardiogram (ECG) detection, and irregular heart rhythm notification (IHRN). By integrating these features into the Galaxy Watch series, Samsung aims to provide users with a comprehensive understanding of their overall health right from their wrist.
Now for the bad news: Samsung will initially be rolling out this new feature only in its home country of South Korea. However, given the availability of other health-related sensors in numerous markets – not to mention Samsung’s status as one of the world’s largest consumer technology manufacturers – it’s a safe bet that the company will offer the functionality in the U.S. in fairly short order. (It’s worth pointing out that the announcement of the feature was made available in English, and that the announcement included information gleaned from American medical institutions.)
In the meantime, if you’re concerned that you’re suffering from sleep apnea, there’s no need to wait – contact us today for an at-home sleep study.
- Samsung Brings Sleep Apnea Feature to Galaxy Watch Upon Approval by Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (Samsung news release)
- Samsung’s new sleep apnea feature has taken a vital step towards a global launch (TechRadar)
The CPAP has been the most frequent form of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea for many years. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the CPAP doesn’t work for many people. But researchers may have discovered an alternative involving electrical stimulation.
Transcutaneous electrical neurostimulators (or TENS machines) are devices that deliver low levels of electrical currents directly on the skin through adhesive patches. These electrical currents serve in place of neurological stimulation to keep muscles firing. While TENS machines have been used for years to treat pain and muscle spasms, researchers have begun to test the effectiveness of TENS machines to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is generally caused by obstructions in the airway due to the soft palate and other portions of the throat to obstruct air flow. Research believed that using electrical stimulation on the throat to target specific muscles might help keep the airway open during sleep. They found that patients who used TENS machines while sleeping experienced a significant reduction in their AHI (apnea-hypopnea index) decreased, which means they had fewer pauses in their breathing during sleep. The study also showed that patients who used the TENS machine had improvements in their sleepiness levels, meaning that they felt more awake and alert during the day.
This could be good news for patients who have trouble using the CPAP. The TENS unit only involves using adhesive patches applied in strategic locations on the neck, with no need for a mask. The TENS also doesn’t require a separate machine for cleaning like the CPAP.
It does have some drawbacks. The TENS machine did cause skin irritation and headaches with some patients, and like the CPAP, it also requires access to electricity, so it does carry some of the same limitations.
But overall, this new approach to treating OSA could end up being a promising development in the field of sleep medicine. It offers hope for those who struggle with traditional treatments and provides a potential option for managing OSA symptoms.
- Noninvasive Nerve Stimulator May Ease Sleep Apnea (MedPageToday)
- Domiciliary transcutaneous electrical stimulation in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea and limited adherence to continuous positive airway pressure therapy: a single-centre, open-label, randomised, controlled phase III trial (eClinicalMedicine)
Doctors and scientists have known for a long time that a pregnant woman having trouble breathing during sleep can cause complications. But figuring out how it affects the new babies has been a bit tricky. Now, a new study in the American Journal of Perinatology has given us some important clues.
Researchers led by Dr. Arlin Delgado from the University of South Florida looked at the sleep patterns of over 2,100 pregnant women. They measured if these moms had trouble breathing during sleep, like snoring or sleep apnea. Specifically, they used the apnea-hypopnea index to identify which women were experiencing sleep-disordered breathing, meaning they had five or more apneic episodes (complete cessation of breathing) or hypopneas (slowed breathing).
They then watched the babies after they were born to see if they had any health issues. And the results are interesting:
Ultimately, researchers found that babies born to mothers who showed signs of sleep-disordered breathing in early pregnancy shared a similarly low risk of adverse health outcomes to those whose mothers showed no signs of SDB. Meanwhile, babies born to moms who developed sleep-disordered breathing mid-pregnancy had a 42 percent higher risk of adverse health outcomes and neonatal death.
Bottom line: suffering from sleep apnea while pregnant can be risky, but developing it midway through pregnancy is especially dangerous for the baby.
If you’re pregnant and you think you might be experiencing obstructive sleep apnea, contact us to discuss a sleep study.
Source: How Sleep Apnea and Snoring During Pregnancy Might Affect Newborns’ Health: New Research (Sleepopolis)
While the CPAP is a popular treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, it has plenty of drawbacks. Unfortunately, a lot of people suffering from sleep apnea learned the hard way that the CPAP can backfire rather badly.
Philips Respironics, a leading manufacturer of CPAP machines, settled a class action lawsuit over flaws in their machines’ designs. Engineers had installed foam in the machines to help them run quieter and reduce vibration. Which was fine, until that foam started flaking off and – along with toxic gases – was blown into the users’ mouths and lungs. The results, as you can probably imagine, were terrible for a number of CPAP users: the flaking foam has been linked to a number of health issues, including respiratory illnesses, lung cancer and even death. (The FDA has had reports of 385 deaths linked to the machines since April 2021.)
This isn’t a recent issue, either. In June 2021, the FDA issued a recall on Philips machines manufactured since 2009 over concerns that the deteriorating foam could pose a threat to users’ health. This put people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea in a terrible dilemma, as many of them didn’t see any real alternative to a CPAP to get a good night’s sleep.
This is just one reason among many that Dr. Krish doesn’t prescribe the CPAP for her sleep apnea patients. If you’re suffering from sleep apnea and in need of an alternative to the CPAP to get back having a good night’s sleep, contact us today for an at-home sleep study.
- CPAP Maker Reaches $479 Million Settlement on Breathing Device Defects (NY Times)
- Philips to pay $479 million in settlement over CPAP sleep apnea machines (Washington Post)
- Frustrations Grow Over Company’s Response to CPAP Recalls (NY Times)
Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it can wreak havoc on our sleep schedules and habits. With vacations, late-night socializing, and extra daylight hours, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy sleep patterns. However, the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation go beyond feeling sluggish in the morning. In fact, it’s linked to serious health problems like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, not to mention its negative impact on cognitive functions and mood.
So, how can you reset your sleep schedule and ensure you’re getting the rest your body needs? Let’s dive into some practical tips to help you sleep smarter.
1. Start with Your Wake-Up Time
One common mistake people make when trying to improve their sleep is going to bed earlier right away. Instead, begin by setting a consistent wake-up time every day, including weekends. If you need to adjust it earlier, do it gradually, shifting it by just half an hour every two or three days. As you rise earlier, your bedtime will naturally adjust, ensuring you get the recommended seven to seven and a half hours of sleep each night.
2. Embrace Morning Light
Morning sunlight is your body’s best friend when it comes to regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Spending time outside within the first hour of waking up helps set your circadian rhythm, promoting wakefulness during the day and better sleep at night. Whether it’s enjoying your morning coffee on the porch or taking a walk with your dog, the benefits of morning outdoor time go beyond improving sleep—it boosts your energy too.
3. Make a To-Do List
Stress and anxiety about the day’s tasks can keep you tossing and turning at night. To quiet your mind, try writing out your to-do list for the next day at least an hour before bedtime. This simple practice helps you disconnect from your thoughts and focus on getting a good night’s rest.
4. Wind Down Gradually
Creating a calming evening routine can prepare your body for sleep. Dr. M. Safwan Badr suggests the 3-2-1 rule: stop eating three hours before bedtime, cease work two hours before, and avoid screens (phones, tablets, and computers) one hour before sleep. This gradual reduction in activity levels helps promote relaxation and better sleep.
5. Optimize Your Sleep Environment
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for rest. Keep it cool, quiet, and dark—aim for a temperature of 70 degrees or lower. Additionally, decluttering your bedroom can help create a tranquil atmosphere that invites sleep. Dr. Emerson M. Wickwire emphasizes the importance of clearing physical clutter, as it can impact your mental state and overall well-being.
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you may still need to see a specialist, who will likely want to conduct a sleep study. But following these tips may help you reset your sleep schedule and improve the quality of your rest.
Source: Why Are You So Tired? Your Sleep Schedule Needs a Reset (Wall Street Journal)
Obstructive sleep apnea is known to be associated with a number of highly serious side effects. Now, a recent study has shed light on a new dimension of its impact – disruption of gene activity during waking hours.
The study looked into the intricate effects of OSA on gene expression, or the process by which an individual gene is activated. Think of gene expression as the “on/off” switch that governs which proteins and molecules are made, and how many are actually produced. The researchers discovered that sleep apnea alters the activity of hundreds of genes responsible for various essential bodily functions, including inflammation, metabolism, and circadian rhythm regulation.
What’s particularly alarming is that these gene activity disruptions persist not only during sleep but throughout the waking hours. This means that the negative impact of OSA extends far beyond the restless nights, impacting our overall health and well-being. The findings also shed light on potential underlying mechanisms linking OSA to chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. And the long-term effects of this can be particularly severe: highly disrupted gene expression is, in its simplest form, another way to describe cancer.
The study’s findings underscore the importance of diagnosing and treating OSA promptly. With its ripple effect on gene activity, OSA is far more than a sleep disorder; it’s a systemic health challenge.
Source: Daylong Gene Activity Disruption: Unveiling the Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (SciTechDaily)
A number of recent studies have shown a link between sleep deprivation and neurological conditions. You can add a new study to the list.
Researchers with the Mayo Clinic conducted a study with 140 participants with an average age of 73, all of whom had clean bills of mental health (i.e. no dementia, Alzheimer’s or issues with thought processing), all of whom were suffering from sleep apnea ranging from mild to severe. Each participant spent the night in a sleep lab for observation and underwent brain scans to get a sense of the condition of the participant’s nerve fibers that compose the brain’s white matter.
What researchers found when comparing the scans and sleep patterns won’t be surprising to those familiar with the impact of sleep apnea, but they should be concerning to anyone suffering from sleep apnea, particularly those of advanced age. According to the study, subjects with the poorest overall sleep quality were the most likely to show signs of white matter damage.
In fact, they were able to quantify the levels of damage. Every 10-point drop in the percentage of deep sleep – which is when the body really repairs itself – was correlated to an increase in white matter damage associated with aging an additional 2.3 years.
Of course, the researchers were careful to point out that correlation isn’t causation. But with so many studies showing poor sleep correlated with a lengthy list of health problems ranging from heart disease to glaucoma to depression, it’s not hard to make an argument that addressing obstructive sleep apnea can give your overall health a big boost.
Source: Scans Suggest Sleep Apnea Could Be Harming Your Brain (USNews)
When we encounter patients who are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, we need to find a way to confirm that they’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. The conventional approach is to conduct a sleep study in a clinic or a sleep lab.
We opted to take a different approach, using at-home sleep study technology.
The approach is pretty simple. We’ll issue you a small electronic ring that you wear on a finger or thumb. It contains several sensors that collect a range of data. The ring sends that data to your phone via Bluetooth, and your phone then sends that data to secure servers. After wearing the ring for a night or two, you return it to us.
Why did we go with at-home sleep studies? We didn’t make this decision lightly – we undertook a lot of research and consideration first. But we’re very confident that the at-home sleep study (also known as the HSAT, or home sleep apnea test) offers a range of advantages that make them the preferred choice for many people.
- They’re more convenient. A conventional clinic-based sleep study requires you to spend the night away from home. This could be highly inconvenient if you have children at home, a demanding job or travel for work. In contrast, an at-home sleep study allows you to undergo sleep assessments in the comfort of your own home, or even on the road if you travel frequently. And increased convenience can reduce any associated stress or anxiety, making it more likely we’ll get better data.
- It’s way cheaper. Anybody with any familiarity with healthcare knows that a procedure involving an overnight stay at a clinic will cost several thousand dollars once you factor in facility fees, professional fees and overnight stay charges. But an at-home sleep study simply involves taking home a device and using it a few nights in a row, making it vastly more affordable. Generally, patients can easily afford it, even if they have to pay out of pocket.
- There’s no waiting list. An in-lab sleep study may be hard to come by, depending on the availability of a finite number of beds and facilities in sleep clinics. At-home sleep studies are essentially available on demand, meaning you can get screened immediately instead of having to wait.
- The data is likely to be more accurate. With an in-lab sleep study, you’re in a hospital room with all kinds of sensors attached to your chest and head. Needless to say, many folks find it hard to sleep at all! In comparison, an at-home sleep study involves nothing more than wearing a small electronic ring. And by definition, you’re sleeping in your own bed. The result: a much better shot at authentic, real-world data.
To be clear, the at-home sleep study isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. In certain cases, such as suspected complex sleep disorders, an in-lab sleep study may be the better option for gathering more comprehensive data. But for diagnosing sleep apnea, we’ve found the at-home sleep study to be a great option.
As we’ve detailed in prior posts, obstructive sleep apnea poses a number of dire secondary health effects, up to and including a reduced life expectancy. Now a new study underscores the serious impact that untreated sleep apnea can have on older Americans.
The University of Florida College of Medicine conducted a study of more than 9,000 adults aged 50 and above, which looked at a range of factors, including the presence of OSA, any treatment received, and a range of demographic data, including socioeconomic status. (For you statistics junkies, please note that this is a robust sample size, and quite sufficient to generalize across wider populations.
The results of the study are concerning, to say the very least. More than 76% of the individuals included in the survey were rated as possibly having undiagnosed sleep apnea. That’s three out of every four individuals in the study. Separately, more than 10% of those in the study had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, but were not receiving treatment.
The potential dangers of this are profound, particularly for older Americans. As noted, untreated sleep apnea can lead to a range of serious side effects, including:
If you’re playing along at home, you’ll notice that these conditions are already a problem for people in their 50s and beyond, meaning that untreated sleep apnea puts them at greater risk.
Why is sleep apnea reaching epidemic proportions among these older cohorts? The study speculates somewhat, but one reason that was highlighted is the lack of public awareness. Simply put, middle-aged folks are unaware of the dangers of untreated sleep apnea. But one other reason: the cost involved. In many cases, simply getting diagnosed can be a challenge.
This is one reason that Dr. Krish offers an at-home sleep study. It’s vastly cheaper than a conventional clinic-based sleep study, and it’s way more convenient.
Source: UF College of Medicine study finds sleep apnea in older adults needs more attention (UF Health press release)