By Karen Ezell and Dr. Paul Neis
Getting a good night’s sleep helps your overall health and well being. Most of us take this for granted. As high as 30% of the adult population is plagued by sleeping disorders. Chronic sleep problems are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Common sleep disorders include:
A disorder where your airway closes, causing interruptions in your breathing. This can happen hundreds of times in a single night. Common complaints associated with sleep apnea are loud snoring, morning headaches, feeling tired upon awakening, and feeling sleepy during normal wake time. Sleep apnea can put you at risk for other medical problems, including cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and strokes, and can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar. Sleep apnea can be treated by the use of a positive airway pressure device, called CPAP. Treatment may also be provided by an ear, nose, and throat specialist who may recommend surgery to remove the tissue that blocks the airway.
A disorder where you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Common complaints associated with insomnia are the inability to fall asleep for long periods of time, waking up during the night and being unable to go back to sleep, racing thoughts that prevent you from sleeping, or waking earlier than you would like.
Restless leg syndrome
A disorder characterized by feeling that you can’t keep your legs still, aching or pain in your legs, or a “crawly” sensation in your legs.
Sleep problems can be caused by many factors. You may be over-stimulated by your pre-bedtime activities or caffeine intake, you may be anxious or worried about something, or external noises may be disrupting your sleep. Sleep disorders can be identified by having an overnight sleep test.
Not getting enough sleep can show on your face. During sleep, many hormonal and metabolic changes happen in your body, including in your skin. These processes are disrupted when you don’t get enough sleep. Your entire body is in repair mode while you are sleeping, and your skin is growing new cells to replace older cells. Skin recovers quickly, so starting tonight, get a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep and you will wake looking well-rested and refreshed. We need good sleep for our whole body, not just our skin, but the benefit of a good night’s sleep will show on your face!
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
• Establish a regular sleep schedule—go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
• Limit naps to less than an hour, and don’t nap after 3 p.m.
• Prior to bedtime, choose an activity that helps you relax—read for a few minutes or take a warm bath.
• If you go to bed and are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and don’t return to bed until you feel sleepy.
Coordinator Karen Ezell and Paul Neis, MD work at the Sleep Disorder Center at Baxter Regional Medical Center where diagnostic sleep testing is performed. The Sleep Center offers private rooms with queen-size beds. The rooms are designed to help you feel at home during your test. You can sleep in your own night clothes and in any position you feel most comfortable. In some circumstances you may qualify for home sleep testing. For the test, electrodes are placed to measure brain waves, heart beat, muscle tension, eye movement, leg movement, breathing, and oxygen saturation in the blood. The electrodes do not hurt and come off easily after testing is completed. The sleep study is reviewed and interpreted by a physician who specializes in sleep medicine. You can be referred by your family physician for testing. Contact the BRMC Sleep Disorder Center for information at 870-508-1569. M! June/July 2013