Sleep Deprivation is Dangerous for Everyone!

From infants and children to teens and adults, a recent article from ABC News points out that everyone – even Navy SEALS – need sleep and plenty of it to function properly and stay healthy. Lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation is very dangerous to our minds and our bodies and even specially trained soldiers admit that it is no joke. The soldier depicted in the article was forced to train for five days without any sleep and the outcome is jaw-dropping. From hallucinations to chronic anxiety and emotional distress, a lack of sleep is a dangerous condition for all humans. Without it, this soldier admits having to go into survival mode.

Living in survival mode just doesn’t work and it isn’t safe. This soldier dealt with extreme chronic anxiety, was super emotional and impulsive, and couldn’t manage an appetite or keep a good workout regimen. All of that is essential for overall good health and sleep can affect each and every one of those aspects.  Good Morning America took a look at sleep deprivation as part of it’s 40 for 40 event. While that doesn’t come close to the amount of time the SEALS had to stay awake, it did show how gruesome sleep deprivation can be. According to the article, when people are sleep deprived, they actually experience cognitive slowing, impulsiveness, moodiness, a diminished immune system, and an accumulation of waste products in the brain and body. This comes from Dr. Charles Czeisler, the chair of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can also affect a person’s heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.

Sleep disorders are a major problem here in the United States. Experts estimate that between 50 and 70 million Americans have some sort of chronic sleep disorder impacting their life and nearly 40 percent of adults report falling asleep without meaning to at least once a month. Are you having a hard time sleeping at night? Do you wake up emotionally or physically exhausted? If you’d like to regain control of your physical, social and emotional health, better sleep can do the trick. Our sleep doctors can diagnose and treat a number of sleep issues and figure out how to alleviate your lack of sleep to help improve the quality of your life. Contact our sleep lab today and start living once again! To read the entire article from ABC News, click here



Which Sleep Study is Right for You?

sleep studyDid you realize that up to 70 million adults in the United States are believed to have a sleep disorder? Unfortunately, all too often patients go years before realizing their condition which can result in some serious consequences; irregular heartbeat, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes are all associated with untreated sleep disorders. Fatigue, stress, morning headaches, depression, irritability, anxiety, decreased cognitive abilities and lower sex drive are also symptoms to be on the lookout for.

Sleep disorders can range from mild to extremely severe and they need to be correctly diagnosed for effective treatment. A sleep study is the best way for your doctor to diagnose or rule out a sleep disorder. But what type of sleep study is right for you? Let’s look at them; There are four different types of sleep studies that can be conducted:

  • Polysomnogram – studies brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and eye movements. It also records air movement through the nose, snoring, chest movements and oxygen in the blood.
  • Home Sleep Study – Similar to a polysomnogram except with a portable monitor. Measures the amount of blood oxygen, heart rate, chest movements and air movement through the nose.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test – Measures daytime sleepiness; typically used to diagnose narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomonia
  • Maintenance of Wakefulness Test – Measures the ability to stay awake and alert and is used to determine if daytime sleepiness is a safety concern.

The most common sleep study conducted is the polysomnogram which is typically done at a sleep center or in a hospital setting. It is becoming more common however for physicians to conduct home sleep studies, depending on the type of sleep disorder they are looking for. If a physician suspects that you have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and have no other significant medical conditions, then a home sleep study may make more sense than an in-lab sleep study. The cost for an in-home sleep study is significantly lower and there is no lag time waiting for an appointment at a sleep center.

An in-lab sleep study will provide a more comprehensive evaluation of critical sleep patterns and is recommended for patients who are suspected of another type of sleep disorder than OSA.  Also, if there is a history of pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure or neuromuscular diseases it is not recommended to have a home sleep study. A physician or sleep specialist will go over the different options available to the patient depending on their medical history and suspected sleep disorder and will help set up the appropriate study for the best results.


Sleep Apnea More Than Interrupted Sleep

Obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep issues can get frustrating over time. It isn’t easy to function, let alone work and raise a family or go to school, if you aren’t getting a solid, good night’s sleep. Sleep is vital for emotional and physical health, so when your sleep is interrupted by sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, you need to do something about it. Quality sleep is possible with the diagnosis and treatment by a professional sleep center. Our sleep doctors are ready to run tests and find the right course of action to help you live a better life.

Sleep apnea is one of the most common interrupting disorders of sleep. One of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea is loud and chronic ongoing snoring. There may also be pauses in the snoring and then choking or gasping for air may follow the pauses. Experts note that the snoring or gasping typically happens when you’re asleep so you may not even know if you’re having problems breathing or be able to decipher just how serious the problem may be. People sleeping next to you… well they may be able to tell a different story. It may not occur every night but over time, the snoring could become more often and get louder and louder – and this means interrupting their sleep too!

While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, there are other signs you can watch for besides waking up gasping for air or having your partner tell you all about waking them up. People with sleep apnea may also be tired during work or while driving. Daytime sleepiness can be so bad that you find yourself randomly falling asleep during quiet moments in the day. Daytime sleepiness is a possible sign, but it is important to talk to a sleep doctor even if you’re rested during the day if you suspect that you’re having breathing problems during sleep, as this can still be dangerous.

Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can include but are not limited to morning headaches, memory and learning problems, difficulty concentrating, feelings of irritability, depression, mood swings, personality changes, waking up frequently to urinate or a dry, sore mouth when you wake up in the morning. If you deal with any of these symptoms and suspect breathing problems in your sleep, contact our sleep lab to speak with a sleep doctor. Treatment usually consists of lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, or possibly surgery. Our goal is always to restore regular breathing during sleep and reliving symptoms like loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea taking its toll on you? Call us today!



Chinese businessman inside car falling asleep

When you hear or see the word insomnia, narcolepsy, or sleep apnea, most people automatically know they are sleep disorders and what they mean. What about the word microsleep? Have you ever heard of it, or know the meaning?

Micorsleep is an episode of light sleep lasting anywhere from one second up to two minutes. What makes microsleep extremely dangerous is when the episodes occur you’re completely unaware that you are sleeping.  In fact, someone next you may not even realize what is going on since the majority of the time the eyes stay open during an episode. People wake suddenly, usually with a jerk of the head. Microsleep can be caused by insomnia, sleep deprivation and fatigue. Individuals with sleep disorders are more likely to experience microsleep. However, anyone can experience them especially if they are tired.

An episode can happen at anytime of the day, but are more likely to occur during pre-dawn hours and in the mid afternoon. According to the Department of Transportation an estimated 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep related.  Some symptoms to be ware of that can lead up to a microsleep episode are:

  • Constantly blinking of the eyelids
  • Nodding of the head
  • Eyelids drooping
  • Difficulties concentrating

If any of the above symptoms occur while driving a motorized vehicle the best-case scenario is to find a safe place to pull over on the side of the road and take a short nap. A brief nap as short as 20 minutes could help prevent a microsleep episode.

To prevent microsleep try to get the recommended amount of sleep of 7-9 hours a night. Coffee and other caffeine supplements can also help with falling asleep.  Remember to keep in mind if you consume caffeine closer to your bedtime it will cause you to have difficulties falling asleep.

To learn more information about Microsleep, contact a PM Sleep Center to schedule an appointment.


Understanding Sleep-Related Eating Disorders

sleep eating disorderSleep-related eating disorders(SRED), or sleepeating, is a parasomnia that only affects between one and three percent of the population; however there are some serious risks associated with this type of disorder. One of the most common symptoms of an individual with SRED is unexplained weight gain. Similar to sleepwalking, sleepeating episodes are rarely remembered upon waking, so sufferers can consume excessive amounts of calories without ever realizing it. The foods consumed during a sleepeating episode are typically high caloric, high fat, sugar laden foods.

The development of SRED can usually be attributed to a change in a person’s diet, stress, depression or in those who have recently quit smoking or consuming alcohol. It can also be a side effect of short-acting sleep medications such as Ambien. Individuals who have been diagnosed with other types of sleeping disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking or sleep apnea also have a greater risk of developing SRED than those without.

Sleepeating can affect both men and women, however it is more common in women and usually develops in early adulthood. If there is a history of other eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, then the likelihood of developing SRED is increased. Treating these underlying conditions can oftentimes reduce or eliminate the sleepeating. If this doesn’t work, there are also medications that can be prescribed to suppress the parasomnia.

One of the greatest potential dangers of sleepeating is that individuals don’t always differentiate between foods and nonfoods which can be excessively dangerous; it is not uncommon for sufferers to consume nonfood items such as cleaning agents, cigarettes, coffee grounds etc., which can lead to serious illness. There is also the risk of injury during a sleepeating episode such as getting burned during food preparation or getting cut since their coordination and cognitive intuition is disrupted.

The potential dangers of SRED need to be taken into consideration and as such, a consult with a physician is necessary to determine the cause and implement a treatment plan. A polysomnogram (sleep study) will most likely be ordered to determine the severity of the disorder and to ascertain if any other sleep disorders are causing the sleepeating. Having a well-balanced diet and practicing good sleep hygiene can also go a long way to help treat or even prevent the development of SRED.


On Graveyard? Working overnight could be the cause of sleep problems

Night Shift Causes Sleep DisordersThe sun has set; many people are winding down for the evening. Meanwhile, approximately 2 million other people are heading into work. Roughly around 20% of the United States workforce work night shift or some type of shift work.

First responders, hospital and nursing homes workers, military personal and truck drivers are a few to name that work the graveyard shift. In addition to an opposite sleep schedule, these employees often aren’t working a normal 8 hours, they are pulling a 12-hour shift or longer. Their schedules are flipped completely around. During the day they have to sleep while the sun shines bright, and loud sounds from cars and people carries nose through their walls. As the rest of the world sleeps, they have to fight against their natural circadian rhythm to stay awake.

The circadian rhythm also known as “body clock” is a 24 hour biological clock that informs our bodies when to sleep. Sunlight helps manage the clock to know the difference between day and night. Our brains also produce a natural hormone called Melatonin. Melatonin is made by the pineal gland in the brain and maintains the circadian rhythm. The pineal gland is turned on after the sun goes down and starts producing Melatonin. When Melatonin is released into the blood stream we begin to start feeling less alert. This process usually starts around 9pm producing high levels of melatonin until the sun starts to rise in the early morning.

Fighting against your natural sleep cycle to stay awake can become extremely dangerous, especially for someone who has to make life or death situations and split-second decisions. Ultimately working these types of hours can lead to restlessness, sleeping on the job and fatigue. Even if you sleep for a full 8 hours before starting a shift, it won’t help entirely.

Quite frankly the solutions are limited from dodging sleeping problems. Switching to day shift would be the best situation, however that is easier said than done. In reality someone will always be working “third shift” or “graveyard”. One possibility is taking stimulates such as coffee or a caffeine pill to help stay wake. As for helping you sleep try using a sleep aid. Stick with the same bedtime everyday and try going straight to bed as soon as you get home from work.

Are you experiencing sleeping problems from working shift work or during the night? Contact PM Sleep Center to learn more information on sleeping disorders.


Sleep Disorders and the dangers when ignoring them

daytime sleepinessPeriodically people may ignore the signs of a health problem. Whether it is a cold or shooting pain, in the back of their mind they hope it will pass without having to take a trip to the doctor.  Unfortunately, when ignoring the signs of a sleep disorder, the symptoms are not temporary and can lead to poor health, relationship stress and impaired job performance.

The most common sleep disorder is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  Obstructive sleep apnea is when an individual repeatedly stops breathing while sleeping due to the throat muscles relaxing and blocking the airway.  The problem is people are not aware that snoring is the most noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Other signs may be insomnia, chronic fatigue, sleepwalking, headaches in the morning, suddenly stop breathing during the night and daytime sleepiness.

When ignoring any of these signs and not speaking to a physician or sleep specialist the end results could be high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and depression. In some cases sleep apnea can be life-threatening.

Are you constantly tossing and turning in the middle of the night? Maybe waking up multiple times during the night and early in the morning? You may possibly be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is another disorder that you do not want to ignore; it will only get worse. Ultimately your health will degenerate. Your overall work performance will decline.  You will become irritable of others along with mood changes towards loved one. Insomnia is basically your body telling you something is wrong. Eventually insomnia can lead to obstructive sleep apnea or even fatality.

Other sleep disorders you may be suffering from could be shift work sleeping problems, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, or narcolepsy. The ending results of ignoring these sleep disorders could be cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and disrupted social schedules.

If you are a loved one are experiencing any symptoms such as chronic fatigue, sleepwalking, snoring, or stop breathing in the middle of the nigh contact your physician or a sleep specialist. The risk of putting it off is too high and the sooner you are diagnosed that faster treatment can start.


What is hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and/or excessive time spent sleeping. Suffers of hypersomnia find hypersomniathat even with adequate amounts of sleep at night, they still experience excessive sleepiness during the day and can fall asleep at any given time. While hypersomnia shares many of the same symptoms as narcolepsy, and is often misdiagnosed as such, it is a distinctly different sleep disorder. Narcoleptics have little or no control over when they fall asleep and they experience a sudden onset of sleepiness, whereas individuals with hypersomnia experience increasing sleepiness over a period of time. Hypersomnia is a relatively rare sleeping disorder and is estimated to affect anywhere from one to five percent of the population. It rarely affects children and women have a slightly higher risk then men of developing it.

Scientists have divided hypersomnia into two categories, primary and secondary. Primary hypersomnia is diagnosed when there are no other underlying conditions causing the symptoms. Idiopathic hypersomnia is one type of primary hypersomnia whose patients suffer extreme daytime sleepiness that never ceases, even with the proper amount of sleep during the night. They tend to fall into a deeper sleep than most individuals and can sleep soundly for more than ten hours during the night and still wake up feeling unrested. It is possible for them to override the pervasive sleepiness, however eventually they must succumb to it and they will end up sleeping pretty much around the clock.

Secondary hypersomnia is diagnosed when there is an underlying condition causing the excessive sleepiness. There are several medical conditions that can cause secondary hypersomnia such as hepatic, circulatory, endocrine, renal, metabolic, psychological and neurological conditions. Other underlying sleep disorders can also be attributed to a secondary hypersomnia diagnosis such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and uncontrolled circadian rhythm disorders. If the underlying conditions are not diagnosed and treated, the hypersomnia will get progressively worse until it is almost impossible to function on a daily basis.

It has been estimated that as many as forty percent of the population have experienced symptoms of hypersomnia from time to time without being diagnosed with the sleep disorder.  In order to accurately diagnose and treat the disorder, a doctor will perform a series of tests as well as discuss your normal sleeping habits over the course of several months. Some of the tests commonly performed to diagnose hypersomnia are sleep studies, CT scans and certain blood tests, sometimes doctors will also perform an EEG to measure brain activity.

Once a diagnoses has been made, a proper treatment plan will be discussed. Oftentimes hypersomnia is treated with drugs such as stimulants or antidepressants. If there is an underlying cause of the condition, such as untreated sleep apnea or some other condition, then doctors will prescribe a treatment plan for that condition first to determine if it alleviates the problem. Hypersomnia can be dangerous if left untreated and can directly impact a patient’s quality of life; it is important to talk to your doctor right away if you suspect you suffer from this condition. The longer a patient suffers from hypersomnia, the bigger toll it will take on cognitive ability and the body’s overall function.


Home sleep studies: easier, convenient and cost-efficient

Home Sleep StudyLately you’ve been having trouble sleeping at night and your doctor referred you to take an over night sleep study. The problem is, your schedule is already hectic, you’re exhausted, and there is absolutely no possible way you’re able to stay at an over night study. There is no need to stress out; many patients now have the opportunity to take a home sleep test in the comfort of their own home. Not only do you not have a long wait to schedule an appointment you even have the convenience of taking home a monitor that day after being briefed on how to operate the machine with a sleep technologist.

The home sleep study is relatively pretty easy. You will go through your normal daily routine. When it is time for bed, you place a belt around your mid section, apply an airflow sensor under your nose, and attach a clip to your finger, finally turn the machine and fall asleep. Not all machines are exactly the same; some may require you to add a few other stick-on sensors to the body. The following morning when you wake up, pack the machine up, return it to your doctor and wait to hear back with the results. Do keep in mind it could take a few days for the results.

The portable monitor will measure your oxygen levels, heart rate, airflow and breathing effort along with snoring while you sleep. Some machines will even record brain waves. If you were to go to an in-laboratory polysomnogram or PSG everything being measured is exactly the same as the home sleep study. In addition, the in-lab study will additionally measure EKG, sleep time, and leg movements and let’s not forget a licensed sleep technologist will be there to monitor you.

The cost to have an in-lab polysomnogram can cost up to $5,000, depending on what state you live in. Most insurance companies currently accept home sleep studies and actually prefer it instead of in-lab since it can cost as low as $200.

There are a few disadvantages to the home sleep test. The modified sleep study can only be used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). All other sleep disorder studies still have to be performed at an in-lab sleep center. For those with congestive heart failure, emphysema, seizures, pulmonary diseases and neuromuscular diseases a home sleep test is not recommended. Lastly, there is always a possibly the home sleep study might not record enough data to make a complete diagnosis. If this were to be the case, your physician will have you attend an over night sleep study at an in- laboratory polysomnography.

Interested in taking a home sleep test? Talk with a sleep specialist or watch our video to learn more.


Does your ethnicity affect your sleep patterns?

ethnic sleep disordersIt is rare for every person to get the recommended amount of sleep. One person may get more than the recommended amount of 7.5 to 9 hours per night, while another gets half as much of the amount needed. There are many reasons that contribute to the amount of sleep we receive. Did you know one of them could be caused by your race and ethnicity?

New studies have come out showing that depending on your race or ethnicity, you could be getting a sufficient amount of sleep – or not.   According to Journal Sleep, a study was conducted involving over 2,000 men and women from four different ethnicities that included Asian, black/African-American, Caucasian, and Latino. The ages of the participants ranged between 54 and 93 years old. In this study researchers found Black/African-American individuals were more prone to short sleep with less than 6 hours. In fact, Black/African-Americans were shown to have a greater chance of developing sleep apnea, poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness than Caucasians.  Out of the four ethnic groups, Caucasians had the highest rate of being diagnosed with insomnia.

Asian and Latinos have a greater chance than Caucasians with sleep-disorder breathing and short sleep duration. Although, according to Sleep in America poll, Asians reported getting the best sleep. Even though they were more likely to not talk to their healthcare provider about the amount of sleep they receive or discuss if they have a sleep disorder with others.  Just like in the sleep study, Black/African Americans were shown to get the least amount of sleep in the Sleep in America poll. The poll showed Blacks/African Americans reported an average of 38 minutes less sleep then Caucasians. However, it was reported in order to perform their best possible the following day they only needed 7 hours and 5 minutes whiles Asians and Hispanics reported they need 7 hours and 29 minutes.

Regardless of what is causing you to not get enough sleep, here are a few things to keep in mind:

The last hour before falling asleep is most vital. Take this precious time to put work, stress, and worries aside while focusing on relaxing and winding down. Since we cannot control what our race or ethnicity is and whether or not it is affecting our sleep, there are approaches that can be taken to help get a better nights rest.

Make a schedule for what time you go to bed and what time you wake up in the morning, and stick to it. Try to stop eating heavy meals late that way you’re not going to bed on a full stomach. Maybe try eating an earlier dinner and have a light snack later in the evening to keep you from going to bed starving. Avoid drinking caffeine late in the day along with taking late naps. To learn more about how to get a better nights rest read our article Preparations foPreparations for a good nights sleepr a Good Nights Sleep

If you’re still having difficulties sleeping or would like more information about your ethnicity affecting your sleep, contact a sleep specialist today.