Sleep Disorder Center
You know when you had a poor night's sleep. You lie awake watching the time tick by on your alarm clock, with each minute seeming to last an hour. We all have occasional trouble falling or staying asleep, but if you are often plagued by poor sleep, you may be among the more than 30 percent of adults who have a sleep disorder.
Sleeplessness describes one type of sleep disorder. Another sleep disorder is sleep apnea. Those people who sleep for eight or ten hours and wake without feeling rested may suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep disorders not only include insomnia and sleep apnea, but they may also consist of snoring, dozing at inappropriate times, narcolepsy, nocturnal seizures, sleepwalking, frequent nightmares, teeth grinding or periodic limb movements (moving your arms and legs rhythmically during sleep). If these symptoms are part of your life, Crossroads Community Hospital's Sleep Disorder Center can help.
A Widespread Problem
Sleep disorders affect millions of adults, making it difficult for them to get a good night's rest. Ideally, most people need 6-9 hours of sleep each night, but chances are, that doesn't happen every night. Sleep disorders can be triggered by one of the following reasons:
- Sleep apnea - when a person stops breathing repeatedly when sleeping. This occurs when structures completely block the throat, called apnea. Since the lungs aren't getting fresh air, the brain tells the body to wake up just enough to tighten the muscles and unblock the air passage. With a loud gasp, breathing begins again. Other symptoms, besides gasping, include snoring, pauses in breathing and jerking movements. Even though people with sleep apnea won't remember waking up often during the night, they will feel tired and groggy all day.
- Snoring - when throat structures are too large or the muscles relax too much during sleep, the air passage may be partially blocked. Air from the nose and mouth must pass around the blockage, thus creating a vibrating or rattling sound, often loud enough to wake others.
- Insomnia - is trouble falling or staying asleep. If it usually takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep or if you are up in the middle of the night longer than 30 minutes, you may have insomnia. Insomnia is most common in women and people over 60 years old, but can affect anyone at one time or another.
Sleep Studies Can Help
If you suffer from a sleep disorder, or have a general sleeping problem, a sleep study at Crossroads Community Hospital Sleep Disorder Center may help. You can schedule an appointment by calling Centralized Scheduling at 618-241-8777.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time to register. Bring anything you need to feel comfortable and ready to sleep. Leave the "rest" to us.
A sleep study requires an overnight outpatient stay in the sleep center. During setup, sleep technicians apply electrodes to record sleep stages, eye movements, heart rate, breathing, oxygen levels, leg movements and snoring. By monitoring the electrodes, the physician can determine if a sleep disorder is present.
Some sleep disorders can be treated with medications or improved sleep habits. The most common form of treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in which air is administered through a mask. This air works as a splint to keep the upper airway open during sleep.
You can increase the chances of getting a better night's sleep by taking certain precautions before bed.
- Good sleep habits - The best sleep can result from going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Your body will develop a pattern for better sleep. In addition, avoid exercise 4 to 6 hours before going to bed so your body has time to unwind.
- Watch what you eat - You don't want to overeat before you go to bed, but you don't want to go to bed hungry either. Try eating a light snack before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine or smoking - Many people believe a "nightcap" will help them sleep, but actually it has the reverse effect of causing you to toss and turn all night. Similarly, any foods with caffeine can keep you from sleeping, and should be avoided at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Check your environment - Sleep starts with a comfortable room and bed. Make sure your room is quiet, with no distractions, a comfortable temperature, and appropriate light blocking shades or drapes.
- Be honest with yourself - Don't take your worries to bed with you; instead, write down your concerns or create a "to do" list of things you need to accomplish. If your anxiety persists, ask your doctor if he/she recommends visiting a counselor or psychiatrist for further evaluation.
Adopting these simple good habits may help you rest easier, starting tonight!
Want to know more about sleep disorders? Take our online quiz below. Just click on the link.
Sleep:Test Your Knowledge
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For further information of questions, please contact:
Jennifer Young, Director of Cardio-Pulmonary Services
Direct Phone 618-241-8667