Give it a rest
11/5/2015 3:21 PM
Many of us will spend 248,000 hours of our life sleeping - that’s 28 years. It may seem wasteful to spend nearly one third of our life unconscious, but our body uses that time to make repairs, restore cells and process all of the events of the day, so it’s important to make sure that we give our body adequate time to rejuvenate.
Unfortunately, some of us have problems falling asleep and staying asleep — at least 40 million Americans, according to “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep.” Sleep disorders are chronic disturbances in sleeping patterns that negatively affect health. If left unchecked, sleep disorders may lead to increased stress, heart failure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and depression.
The staff at The Sleep Center at CTMC say that some of the most common sleeping disorders are sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and delayed sleep phase syndrome.
Any type of long-term sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration and an increased risk of accidents.
To find out whether you’re sleep deficient, keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning and how sleepy you feel during the day.
If you have trouble sleeping or think you might suffer from a sleep disorder, talk to your physician about your symptoms to see if you need to schedule a sleep study. Once referred, you can make an appointment with The Sleep Center at CTMC by calling 512.753.3612.
Common sleep disorders
Sleep apnea affects the way you breathe. Breathing becomes very shallow or completely stops for about 10 to 20 seconds. These pauses can occur up to hundreds of times a night, jolting you out of your natural sleep rhythm. As a result, you lose on the deep, restorative sleep your needs to maintain your health, energy and focus.
Insomnia causes trouble falling and staying asleep. Symptoms include tension headaches, daytime drowsiness, mood swings, irritability, lack of focus and memory loss. Causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, depression, medication, change in environment or work schedule, poor sleep habits, poor diet, and eating too late in the evening.
Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy experience periods of extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time. These “sleep attacks” usually last a few seconds to several minutes and greatly affect daily activities.
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a disorder causing you to fall asleep late and wake up late because your biological clock is out of sync. The disorder is common among people whose job requires them to work inconsistent hours or it might be the result of a medical condition.