“The most important question you can ever ask is if the world is a friendly place.”
For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives.”
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Originally published in the November Edition of Desi Australia Monthly Magazine, written by Dr Jaspreet Saini
• Sleep apnoea can occur at any age and is the most common type of sleep apnoea
• If you have sleep apnoea, your breathing during sleep may reduce or stop
• You may not know that this is happening
• Sleep apnoea can have many health complications
• It can be successfully treated
• Treatment will improve the quality of your life
What is sleep apnoea?
Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common type of sleep apnoea. The other type of sleep apnoea is central sleep apnoea, which is rare. For ease of reading, we will refer to obstructive sleep apnoea simply as sleep apnoea in this article.
With sleep apnoea, you may breathe less or stop breathing during sleep for a short period of time. This is called an apnoeic episode. When this happens, your oxygen levels drop until they reach a point where they trigger your reflexes to wake you up briefly and start breathing again. This can happen many times at night and you may not know that it is happening.
We call it obstructive sleep apnoea because it occurs due to obstruction of your airways. That is, the area between the nose or mouth or lungs becomes partly or fully blocked. This is more common in sleep because your airway muscles naturally relax when you sleep.
Sleep apnoea can be treated and there are a number of treatments available.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?
You may have sleep apnoea if you:
• Toss and turn at night
• Stop breathing through the night
• Wake up during the night coughing and choking
• Wake up not feeling refreshed
• Wake up with a headache in the morning
• Feel sleepy during the day
• Feel depressed, short-tempered or grumpy
• Have trouble with your concentration or memory during the day
You may not be aware of these symptoms so it is often worth asking your sleeping partner if she or he has noticed any of these changes.
What issues do people with sleep apnoea have?
Sleep apnoea can cause an early death. People with sleep apnoea are more likely to have cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease compared to people that don’t havesleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea can cause your blood pressure to go up and down at night, and increase your blood pressure during the day (this is called hypertension). If you have sleep apnoea and are also also overweight, you may be at higher risk of diabetes and high cholesterol. Together, these factors can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Luckily, if your sleep apnoea is effectively treated, you can improve your health and reduce your risk of these conditions.
Am I at risk?
Sleep apnoea can affect people of all ages, be it children or adults.
In children, sleep apnoea is more likely if a child has largetonsils or adenoids. Children can also have narrow airways due to other reasons which can increase their risk of having sleep apnoea.
In adults, sleep apnoea is more common in middle age. It ismore common if you are a man. If you are a woman, your risk increases after menopause.
You may be at higher risk if:
1) You are a middle-aged male
2) You take alcohol, sleeping tablets or some types of medications before you sleep
3) You have a blocked nose, small jaw, large tongue, big tonsils or big uvula
4) You were born with a narrow airway or have a facestructure that leads to narrow airways
How do I know if I have sleep apnoea?
You should speak to your doctor (GP) if you are worried.
Your doctor may ask you about snoring, obesity, apnoea episodes and sleepiness during the day. It can be helpful to take your sleeping partner with you on the day of your appointment. The next step is usually an overnight sleep study, which measures your sleep, breathing and oxygen levels. This can be done at home or in a sleep clinic, and is usually done with the assistance of a sleep specialist.
What is the treatment for sleep apnoea?
If you have sleep apnoea, there are many things that you can do to manage your condition and improve your health.
If you are overweight, weight loss can be very helpful and a small decrease in your weight can greatly improve your sleep apnoea.
A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask is the most common form of treatment, and works by delivering air through your nose to keep your airways open. Many people find using a CPAP machine strange at first, however are often surprised by the improvement in their daily lives.
Other useful strategies include:
• Avoiding alcohol within 2 hours of going to sleep
• Avoiding sleeping tablets
• Speaking to your doctor about other medications that you are taking
• Treating nasal congestion
• Ceasing or maintaining abstinence from smoking
For some people with sleep apnoea, surgery may be an option. You should speak with your GP about the treatments that are most suitable for you.
Where can I go for more information?
Sleep Health Foundation
Lung Foundation Australia
Australian Sleep Association
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No one can possibly tell you what it feels like to be pregnant, to give birth to a baby or to become a new parent. These are deeply personal experiences and are different for everyone. It is a time of great change and challenge, often bringing feelings of joy and celebration, and potentially also feelings of worry and anxiety.
Many new and expectant parents worry about how a new baby will fit into their lives, or how they will care for an infant. It’s important to remember that if you’re feeling worried and anxious during this period, you’re not alone and these are common reactions that many new parents have.
In fact, up to one in seven women who are pregnant or have recently given birth experience perinatal depression and anxiety (perinatal refers to the time from when pregnancy begins to the first year after the baby is born). Partners can experience mood problems too, so it is important that you are both well supported during this time.
When you are pregnant or have a baby, there are lots of changes going on, from physical and hormonal changes to big adjustments in your sleeping patterns and daily routine; it might feel like things are out of your control, that there is so much to learn and that sometimes it’s difficult to cope.
The good news is, there are lots of things that can be done to support yourself and/or your partner during this time in your lives.
Signs and symptoms to look out for
The signs and symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety can vary from person to person and may include:
• Excessive worry or fear that is difficult to control. Often the worry and fears are focused on the health or wellbeing of the baby, or your abilities as a mum
• Losing interest in the things you usually enjoy
• Fear of being alone with your baby
• Feeling low most of the time, or crying for no good reason
• Physical symptoms – such as decreased energy, a change in appetite, difficulty sleeping even when you have the opportunity, increased heart/breathing rate, tight chest and feeling lightheaded
• The development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours; for example, needing to do the same task a number of times when it doesn’t need repeating
• Thoughts of death or suicide
If you feel that your worries, anxiety or low mood are interfering with your health, relationships, daily life or ability to care for yourself or your baby, then it is time to get some help and support.
Getting the right help and advice
Start early! Managing mood symptoms well during pregnancy can make a big difference to how things go when your baby is born.
Your general practitioner (GP) or maternal child health Nurse are both great sources of support. If you are unsure about talking with a doctor or health professional, reach out to a trusted friend, family member or your partner. Remember, if it is urgent, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
There are also many pregnancy and parenting websites, blogs and apps available. It’s important to make sure the information that you’re accessing is reliable – pick one or two sources you trust and stick with them.
One such resource is the What Were We Thinking! mobile app. It provides week-by-week information on essential topics to help mums and dads (and anyone supporting them) adjust well to the first six months of life with a baby.
Developed by Jean Hailes and Monash University, the app is adapted from the evidence-based parenting program of the same name. It is free and easy to download, and helps to build your confidence by giving you the knowledge, skills and reassurance to navigate this period.
The app helps you to develop the practical skills for settling babies, such as establishing a Feed-Play-Sleep routine as well as ideas to help you strengthen your partner relationship, such as how to best share the workload and communicate each other’s needs.
Download the What Were We Thinking! app or learn more about perinatal depression and anxiety.
Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women’s Health
1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642)
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Parents often ask me how they can best support their children’s growth. Inevitably, the conversation will centre around how much love and affection is too much, and where the boundaries should lie.
According to Developmental Scientist Dr Deborah MacNamara, “there is a general fear and persistent myth that if we focus on building relationships with our kids, we may hinder their growth as independent and self-sufficient beings. There is a paradoxical relationship between attachment and separation, which is often misunderstood.
The short story is this: Attachment doesn’t slow down growth, it fuels it.”
So love freely, with deep affection, and be present with your child. When your children feel secure in their relationship with you, then they will no longer feel the need to look for love, and instead focus on thriving.
Read Dr Deborah MacNamara’s full article for more information, and strategies that parents can use to encourage the development of their growing humans.
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Over 200,000 children under 14 years of age are treated in emergency rooms for playground-related injuries each year, and children will take risks regardless. Researchers noted that children are more likely to take those risks when their parent is distracted.
Distracted parenting occurs when parents go from being “on” top of things to being distracted and “on” their phone maybe a little too often, this is called distracted parenting.
You may not have heard this term before, but you’ve likely seen it in action. Here are some examples of distracted parenting:
1. An entire family on their phones at a restaurant, not even making eye contact.
2. At a playground, a child is misbehaving and would likely be corrected if their parent was not texting.
3. At an event and one kid is running out of the door with no adult present and you think, “Where is the adult?”
Children and teens are aware when the important people in their lives, like their parents, are not paying attention to their needs physically or emotionally. In those moments when a child feels a disconnect from their caregiver, they will test what they can get away with, whether it’s jumping from the highest point of a jungle gym, sneaking out at night, or skipping school, among other risky behaviors in the hopes that someone will notice them.
Ask yourself these five critical questions to determine whether you are a distracted parent:
- When was the last time you played with your child or teenager?
- What was the last conversation you shared as a family?
- Ask your kids if they feel you are distracted. Honesty can go a long way in opening up communication, just avoid responding defensively and ask more about what they need from you.
- Think about the last conversation you had with an adult: Were they on their phone? Did you make eye contact? Did you feel heard?
- What makes you feel heard? The same probably applies to the children and teens in your life. Have an open conversation about what listening looks like in different settings.
Read the full article:
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I learn so much from my interactions with others and sometimes come across ideas that completely transform my perspective.
Thank you Dr Sne for these thought-provoking words.
“When else but in childhood are we just content with who we are?
It’s in this innocent yet complete acceptance that there is true contentment.
In adult life we limit our behaviour and mute our speech to fit what the social norm accepts, but in this are we truly showing our best selves and revealing who we really are??”
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