Thoracic and Sleep Group Queensland People caring for how you breathe and sleep

February 28, 2017


Filed under: Blog — Tags: , — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 4:45 am

Asthma being a common disease affects more than 200 million people around the world. The treatment is often addressed to control the symptoms. However, there is one area that has minimal attention: the sex lives of those patients.

A survey performed by the charity Asthma UK, in over two-thirds of people with asthma, showed that people recognised that their condition directly affects their sex lives.  In addition, there are a few who talk about this, because not many people feel confident enough to talk about how their love life is being affected. Even more, in some cases, healthcare professionals avoid the topic as well.

The group that completed the survey hopes to open up a conversation about sex as a trigger for asthma, conversing how it can lead to an increase in symptoms and how they can be managed in an effective manner. Davis provide as example: “it’s not just the act itself that can set off the coughing and wheezing commonly associated with the disease, but the stress of worrying about an impending attack can also be a trigger, as can the heightened emotions experienced during sexual activity”. There are other triggers that people should also be aware of, such as perfumed candles, dust mites, and even latex condoms, as people with asthma also frequently have other allergies. All these can lead to sufferers reaching for their inhaler, which often causes embarrassment and frustration, he says.EM_Inhaler

As the charity recommends, people should remember that asthma is a common condition and that communication with a partner is key. Knowing your triggers is also vital, and an integral part to managing your optimising your symptoms.


DAVIS Josh, Asthma Can Impact The Sex Lives Of Sufferers. IFLScience. Available on:

How to combat Jet Lag!!

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — Phil Teuwen @ 4:43 am

jet-lag-lucid-dreamsAny time you travel across time zones you may feel sleepy and sluggish. For most travelers Jet Lag is a temporary sleep disorder.  It occurs when rapid travel changes your circadian rhythm. By regulating physiological processes the bodies “body clock” tells our bodies when to sleep, wake up and eat. Our body clock is affected by cues such as exposure to light and environmental effects such as sunlight and temperature. The circadian rhythm is disrupted when our sleeping and eating patterns suddenly change, such as when we travel distances across different time zones.


Tips to help fight Jet Lag

Minimise sleep disruptions

If you are able to sleep on the plane wearing an eye mask or earplugs will help to eliminate distractions.

Do some exercise

A study of air travel in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine found pressurized air cabins lower oxygen in the blood making passengers feel uncomfortable and dehydrated. Try to move around the plane as much and as regularly as possible

Take short naps and give yourself time

In your new time zone try to take short naps to help you feel more alert and perform better. Take time to adjust to your new time zone as this might take up to at least 2 or 3 days.

Change your time as soon as possible

Adapt to the time zone of your destination as soon as possible. For example if you will arrive in the morning, try to take a night flight where you will hopefully be able to sleep and arrive to start the day coinciding with your routine.

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Try to limit alcohol and caffeine, or avoid alcohol altogether when traveling. These can disrupt sleep and cause dehydration.


This naturally secreted hormone helps regulate our circadian rhythms so that we sleep at night. This can be interrupted when traveling through various time zones so a melatonin supplement may be beneficial.

February 27, 2017

Don’t forget your flu vaccine!

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — Trent Segal @ 1:11 am

2017 Flu Vaccine strains announced

It is approaching the time of year when the days start to shorten and the temperature cools.  While this is a welcome change from the hot summer we have endured, but with it will bring the flu season.

Getting an annual vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu and reduce the risk of hospitalisation or even death for the frail or those with respiratory complications.  Anyone 6 months and older can get a vaccine each year for the best way to stay protected.

An updated vaccine has been developed this year.  Recommendations from the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee which the TGA have adopted suggest a trivalent flu for the 2017 season containing:

  • A (H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09 like virus
  • A (H3N2): an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) like virus
  • B: a B/Brisbane/60/2008 like virus

The quadrivalent vaccine should contain the above with an additional B strain:

  • B: a B/Phuklet/3073/2103 like virus

The difference from the 2016 vaccine is the new (H1N1) which was predominant late in the US flu season last year and will likely hit Australian shores along with H3N2.

Routine hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs and be sure to visit your local doctor’s clinic or health department to get your flu vaccine and be protected again the flu this season.


Stop getting sick!! …Should you eat your Vegemite in the sun?

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — Phil Teuwen @ 1:06 am

PP-Whitehaven-vegemite-jarVegemite is a source of vitamin D, as is sunshine… So breakfast in the sun seems a good way to get some vitamin D. More commonly though if you want to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D, you will generally take a vitamin D supplement. Deepak Chitnis from Frontline Medical news recently released an article explaining the work from Dr Adrian R. Martineau. Dr Martineau reviewed the link between taking vitamin D supplements and reduced respiratory tract infection rates.

vegemite in the sunAs far as “fake news” and the like goes, this is actually a legitimate review by Dr Martineau and the team. The review was a systematic review and meta-analysis, which is a reasonably reliable review, but may not necessarily a clinical game changer for Doctors worldwide. They reviewed data from 25 different trials or studies which when combined, contained data from over 11000 people. Their research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, which is good in that these researchers had no relevant financial disclosures, which in turn means they had no obvious vested interests or biases.

day-2c-089What they found was taking vitamin D supplements is an effective way to stave off or prevent acute respiratory infections. Acute respiratory infections are infections that occur somewhat quickly and often are treated and later resolve, whereas chronic infections are ongoing type of infections that continue to be a part of a patient’s life over a long period of time. The study didn’t find that vitamin D would stop infections if they had already begun, but rather would prevent them from occurring in the first place. Supplemental vitamins D2 and D3 were included in the study.

While the work was commendable, the results should not change clinical practice for respiratory physicians in any significant way. However for the rest of us, it could be worth considering if we are worried about getting sick with respiratory infections. Some of take a handful of vitamins every day anyway, and if this is you; perhaps you should have a look at what vitamins are actually in those pills and consider some vitamin D.

Original article:

February 26, 2017

The effect of the ‘24/7 society’ on sleep is profound

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — Trent Segal @ 11:26 pm

In today’s world we are always on!  For example, New York ‘the city that never sleeps’.  We have made technological advancements allowing us to stay connected with a virtual world available to our fingertips 24/7.

This is meant to bring flexibility and improvements to productivity.  Why waste time waiting for a flight or in a taxi as the internet means we could organise our social life or teleconferencing can bring business people together in multiple time zones.

But what does that mean for sleep?  On average we spend 8 out of 24 hours sleeping, around one third of a life in total.  Have we placed sleep further down the priority list as the technology advances and the 24/7 society has come to expect more out of our work and social schedules.

As part of a Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults in 2016 found, 26% of all adults both use the internet most or every night of the week just before bed and have frequent sleep difficulties or daytime impairments.  Similarly, 16% of all working adults do work just before bed and also have frequent sleep difficulties or daytime sleep-related symptoms.

Nearly a quarter (23%) report their typical weekday routine of work or home duties does not allow them to get enough sleep.

Younger adults (18-34y) sleep around 1 hour longer before non-work days than working days, compared to 18 minutes in older age groups.

Remember to make sure you prioritise your sleep as an important factor of life.  Daytime functioning relies on adequate sleep duration and quality.  Don’t let today’s pressures impact on your sleep.

Report to the Sleep Health Foundation

2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults

Robert Adams, Sarah Appleton, Anne Taylor, Doug McEvoy, and Nick Antic.

The University of Adelaide

The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health


Off with your Bra!

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — Natalie Eriksson @ 11:23 pm

OK ladies, next time you’re crawling into bed it’s off with your bra! As tempted as you may be to leave it on after a long tiring day removing it will make a significant difference on your health in more ways than one.

Common myths would have you believe that sleeping in your bra will help to keep your breasts perky…Forget it! Wearing a bra (the purpose of which is ultimately to support breasts from below) is essentially redundant in bed, as breasts naturally compress back down onto the chest. A tight bra in fact may restrict the flow of lymph to the many important lymph nodes around the breast and armpit, hindering the system’s vital function of flushing toxic waste-products from the body.

Wearing a constrictive bra to sleep can affect the physiology of the breast. It can impair the blood flow and lymphatic drainage, which, at worst, can lead to chronic inflammation, oedema (fluid retention) and discomfort.

So if you think wearing a bra to bed is helping your breasts it’s time to realise you could actually be doing more damage than good. Here are a few more reasons why you shouldn’t wear a bra whilst sleeping.

Circulation is one of the main things that suffer when you sleep in your bra, particularly if the bra is underwire. If the wire is too tight against your skin, your pectoral muscles will be constricted, affecting the circulation of nerves in your arms. In addition, a bra with tight compression like a sports bra can hurt breast tissue if worn too often because of constantly restricted circulation.

Skin irritation is another significant side-effect of wearing an ill-fitting bra to bed. The hooks can protrude into your skin, as well as the straps, that can actually cause lesions or even cysts if left for too long (particularly if the bra is underwire). You may not even notice the slight pain during the night.

Restlessness due to skin irritation can prevent you entering into a deep sleep. This phase of sleep is extremely important for memory consolidation

Hyperpigmentation can also occur due to straps and hooks that are too tight and in constant contact with the skin, causing darkening of that particular area.

Breast fungus is an additional ramification of wearing an ill-fitting bra to bed regularly. The warm and moist environment can be a breeding ground for fungi, and because the majority of woman spend most of their lives wearing a bra (that typically do not fit properly to begin with), the development of a breast fungus can be likely. Taking the small step to remove the bra at night, particularly if you live in a hot climate and have a larger bust size, can greatly reduce your chances of allowing fungi to grow.

So ladies, to avoid these unpleasant factors, let your skin breathe for at least part of the day and keep your bra out of your bed.

Original article found on


Wake up Straya, ya’slacker!

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — Phil Teuwen @ 11:09 pm

Did you know Australians rate their job satisfaction between 5 and 6 out of 7? That’s pretty high, in fact I find this quite surprising given what I see on social media on a daily basis. It seems that we like what we do and find it worthwhile getting out of bed for it every morning! But are we putting in a proper shift at work? Or just slacking around and loving it?


Do your colleges sleep on the job? Have you ever seen Rhonda sneak away from her desk for a little office siesta? Or Robbo duck off-site at smoko, for a sneaky nap in the ute…? According to the sleep health foundation, 17% of us have fallen asleep on the job. What’s worse, is that another 17% of us have had a sickie because we are too tired to go to work! Now before we get out the teaspoons of cement, let’s just take a moment to reflect…

Sleep disorders are serious medical conditions, and people with sleep disorders are more likely to report decreased work productivity. Sleep, or lack thereof is a serious issue, in fact almost a third of us have made mistakes at work over the past three months due to sleepiness or sleep problems.

Now that’s some serious numbers – time to wake up Australia and lets get a good night sleep!

If you think you may have a sleep disorder, please go and speak to your GP and consider a referral to see a sleep physician.

Reference articles:

Tired Driving? It could cost you… $$$

Filed under: Blog — Phil Teuwen @ 10:28 pm

The police test for alcohol, they now test for drugs and soon they will test for… being tired. Yes that’s right, they may soon be able to test you for being too tired. Driving while fatigued has serious consequences due to poor concentration, slow reaction times and cognitive function which has been shown to be similar to a high blood alcohol reading. It’s scary to think that 20% of drivers have reported falling asleep driving…

How would they even test fatigue? Well, like drugs and alcohol, they would have a separate mobile facility ready to test drivers. Rather than providing a sample of saliva, you would just have to play a video game, which really is more accurately described as a driving simulator. The equipment used with the driving simulator will test your reaction times, eye movements, blink speed and blink frequency and then use these measurements all combined to give a fatigue level.

When are they going to do this? It’s hard to tell exactly, there is a research project underway at Austin health that is aiming to develop the technology for the police to use. The transport commission and the police have both thrown their support behind the idea… It may just be a matter of time!

Original article:

February 20, 2017


Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 11:12 pm

Nowadays, it has been a perception that marijuana help to sleep, however many studies has shown that may exist a high risk of sleep disturbances in marijuana users during the drug use and even after cessation of it.

One of these researches was quoted by Boston University in Science daily, an investigation realised by Deirdre A, Stein M, et al, who found that daily marijuana users scored higher on the Insomnia Severity Index and on sleep-disturbance measures than those who did not use it daily. Other investigations have found that the use of marijuana shows an association between higher marijuana use and higher rates of anxiety and insomnia.

One thing that people find using cannabis is reduction of REM sleep and dreaming. Dreams occur during the final stage of your sleep cycle called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Cannabis use before bedtime is shown to reduce the time spent in REM.

In a study done by Bolla et al. determined if recently abstinent, heavy marijuana users showed differences in polysomnographic (PSG) measures compared with a drug-free control group. Concluding that during discontinuation of heavy marijuana use, PSG measures of sleep disturbance were detected in users compared with a drug-free control group. The MJ users showed differences in PSG measures (lower total sleep times, and less slow wave sleep than the control group) on both nights. They also showed worse sleep efficiency, longer sleep onset and shorter REM latency than the control group on Night 2. This may explain why people waking up frequently, or feeling groggy the next day.



Figure 1 How Marijuana  affects the brain (from The National Comorbidity Survey, 1994 Publisher: Wall Street Journal)


  • Boston University. (2016, October 17). Does weed help you sleep? Probably not.ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 14, 2017 from
  • Bolla, K. I., Lesage, S. R., Gamaldo, C. E., Neubauer, D. N., Funderburk, F. R., Cadet, J. L., … & Benbrook, A. R. (2008). Sleep disturbance in heavy marijuana users.SLEEP-NEW YORK THEN WESTCHESTER-31(6), 901.

February 14, 2017

Having trouble sleeping? Napping classes are now a thing

Filed under: Blog — Mark Russell-Pavier @ 12:09 am

In an airy studio in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, Martha Tsakalos is leading a group class.

“Allow yourselves to find a comfortable position lying down on your back. Allow the legs to spread a little wider than the hips and the arms to rest open by the sides,” she says gently.

In front of her, five students in eye masks lie on mats, their hands linked on top of their chests. This is not yoga: it’s a guided nap.

“Essentially you can expect to enter a dark room, settle into the room and be taken on a short guided meditation … and then nod off for 20 to 24 minutes of nap,” says Ms Tsakalos, a psychologist.

“One in six Australians are chronically sleep deprived — a lot of our clients are coming in with stress that makes it really difficult to wind down. Naptime deals with that: boosting your immune system, improving memory and just allowing you to perform better when you do get back to work.”

The scientific evidence is increasingly pointing to the benefits of napping. Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania released a study of more than 3,000 elderly Chinese people which found that those who took afternoon naps performed better on mental ability tests.

Other experiments have shown that naps can improve everything from learning to memory to creative thinking. A University of California study found naps to be a far more effective way of dealing with a mid-afternoon slump than caffeine.

Dr David Hillman, director of the Sleep Health Foundation, says having a nap can be beneficial, as long as you keep it to about 20 minutes and avoid going into deep sleep.

“If you want a short, sharp nap and you want to be able to function immediately after the nap, then it’s a power nap you need. That’s a 20-minute type job.

“By all means have a longer nap, but if you’re going to have a longer nap, ultimately that will be more beneficial but you will have to deal with grogginess when you wake up, which in some people can take 20 minutes.”

A 2014 Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation found that sleep deprivation costs the Australian economy $5.1 billion a year.

So it makes sense then that many universities and workplaces — including Google, KPMG, BHP Billiton and iSelect — now provide nap pods for employees. These are egg-shaped enclosures that block noise and light.

But is this a sign that we’re developing a healthier attitude to napping, or that we’re just working too hard?

“The fact is, sleep is under enormous pressure in our society and in most other advanced economies with this interconnectedness we have, when we’re in a 24/7 operation,” says Dr Hillman.

“There are a lot of people trying to get away with less sleep than they actually need. Some mammals operate on polyphasic sleep, that is sleep in patches … but there’s a general feeling that human beings are monophasic essentially.”

When it comes to sleep, more is definitely more. Naps may not be able to replace a full night’s sleep, but they can help you get through the day.


Original article appeared at:

Having trouble sleeping? Napping classes are now a thing

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress