Microsleep: WHO,WHAT,WHEN,WHERE,WHY?

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.

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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.

 

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Preparations for a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging, if not downright impossible, for many individuals. Nearly a third of Americans say they struggle with being able to fall asleep a few nights per week. Sleep deprivation has been linked to several health complications including high blood pressure, obesity, poor concentration and a pervasive lack of energy to name a few. Good health and a better quality of life begins with a good night’s sleep so let’s look at a few ways to help get you that quality rest your body requires.

While you may not be able to control all the factors keeping you from a full night’s sleep, adopting healthy sleep habits will ensure you are giving your body the best possible environment for achieving a restorative night’s sleep. The number one recommended healthy sleep tip is to establish a consistent schedule. It is so tempting to stay up late and then sleep in on your days off, but that actually disrupts your sleep-wake cycle, making it even harder to fall asleep when you need to. Along with a consistent schedule, it also helps to establish a bedtime ritual to signal to your body that it is time for sleep. Whether it’s taking a warm shower, reading a book or doing some relaxing yoga every night before bed, it will help ease the transition into sleep. The one caveat to this however, is to avoid using the TV or other electronic devices as part of your nightly ritual. There has been considerable research done that suggests the lights from the screen can actually stimulate your brain making it even harder to nod off.

What you eat and drink, especially close to bedtime, can be directly related to how well you sleep at night. Eating too much as well as eating too little, can disrupt your sleep. It is recommended that you finish dinner at least four hours before bedtime to eliminate reflux, heartburn or other sleep depriving symptoms. The converse is true as well, if you eat too little for dinner and go to bed on an empty stomach, you could have a problem getting to sleep and staying asleep; a small, healthy snack before bedtime can help you nod off more quickly. Indulging in nicotine, caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime can wreak havoc on your sleep quality as well. Even though alcohol can help you fall asleep, as it is metabolized in your system it can wake you up not too long later.

Stress is another trigger that causes insomnia. Finding ways to manage your stress levels can help alleviate insomnia. Creating a peaceful and comfortable sleep environment can help; cool, dark and quiet are ideal sleeping conditions. Physical activity throughout the day not only helps you manage stress, it also promotes better sleep at night. Work tends to be a major source of stress for many individuals, so a couple hours before bed, put away the computer and iPad and leave any emails and other work items for the next day. It will help to calm your mind and let your body wind down so you can fall asleep easier and faster.

If these strategies don’t help, and you still find yourself plagued with insomnia or just feel as if you are never rested properly, it could be a sign of another underlying condition. A visit to a sleep doctor might be in order. They can help you accurately diagnose the source of your symptoms, and a sleep study can determine if you have an undiagnosed sleep disorder that is preventing you from a good night’s sleep.

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All about Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is an actual sleep disorder that causes people to physically get up and walk while they are still sleeping, typically during one of the deep stages of sleep. Sleepwalking usually involves more than just walking during sleep; it is a series of complex behaviors that are carried out while sleeping, the most obvious of which is walking. Sleepwalking disorder symptoms can range from simply sitting up in bed and looking around, to walking around the room or house, to leaving the house and even driving long distances. It is a common misconception that a sleepwalker should not be awakened. In fact, it can be quite dangerous not to wake a sleepwalker as you can see by some of the common behaviors.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the presence of sleepwalking in the general population is estimated to be between 1% and 15%. The onset or persistence of sleepwalking in adulthood is common, and is usually not associated with any significant underlying psychiatric or psychological problems. Common triggers for sleepwalking include sleep deprivation, sedative agents including alcohol, febrile illnesses, and certain medications. Many patients who sleepwalk admit that they are embarrassed about their behaviors, especially when they learn what they did during their episode. Many of these behaviors tend to be crude, strange or sometimes hostile. It can be difficult to wake a sleepwalker up and when you do, they will probably be confused and lack any memory of the event. Episodes can occur rarely, or very often. They can even happen multiple times a night for a few nights in a row. Consulting a sleep doctor or our sleep center can help protect the sleepwalker or those around them. It will also help all parties involved get a better night’s sleep as sleep walking typically interrupts sleep for everyone.

Now you know that the symptoms can range from quiet walking about the room to agitated running or attempts to “escape.” Typically, the eyes are open with a glassy, staring appearance as the person quietly roams the house. On questioning, responses are slow or absent. If the person is returned to bed without awakening, he or she will usually not remember the event. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If you, a loved one or your child has any of these symptoms at night, our sleep doctors at any of our locations are ready to help. Our sleep centers have diagnosed and treated many people who suffered from sleepwalking and even sleep talking.Various treatment options may include behavior and lifestyle changes and recommendations, and/or prescribed medications. How you sleep tonight will affect how you feel tomorrow. Isn’t it time to diagnose your sleep disorder?

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Poor Sleep Due to RLS

RLSAccording to The National Sleep Foundation, approximately one in ten adult Americans suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease. This sleep-related movement disorder is known best for its overwhelming and often unpleasant urges to move the legs while at rest. RLS often impacts sleep quality and overall quality of life. Some people find falling asleep and staying asleep nearly impossible. Poor sleep can affect daily life, emotional well-being, social life and work life. But you’re not alone should this be your correct diagnosis.

RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable, and sometimes overwhelming, urge to move them. Symptoms occur primarily at night when a person is relaxing or at rest and can increase in severity during the night. Moving the legs relieves the discomfort. Often called paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), the sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful. Doesn’t sound like something you could sleep with, does it? We don’t think so and neither do our clients. But without further diagnosis from your physician or a professional sleep center, people have been incorrectly told that RLS was actually the symptoms of nervousness, insomnia, stress, arthritis, muscle cramps, or aging!

Treatment varies based on severity but can range from medication, supplements or a variety of other means. In people with mild to moderate restless legs syndrome, lifestyle changes, such as beginning a regular exercise program, establishing regular sleep patterns, and eliminating or decreasing the use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco may be sufficient. Treatment typically aims at reliving the associated symptoms so that the throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs can subside along with what patients express as sleepless nights, mental anguish and the relentless and tormenting feelings. Sometimes, RLS is caused by other health conditions such as high blood sugar related nerve damage or chronic vascular disease like deep vein thrombosis and arterial claudication and when those are treated, the symptoms can also subside.

We encourage you to contact our sleep center for proper diagnosis or speak with your physician. Our sleep doctors are prepared to treat your sleep disorder https://www.pmsleepcenters.com/ so that you can start living your life fully and rested. A good night’s sleep goes a long way!

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What to Expect During a Sleep Study

Sleep studies are an important tool used to conclusively diagnose a sleeping disorder. Doctors will often recommend a patient have a sleep study performed if it is suspected that they might suffer from sleep apnea, narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep related seizures or some other form of sleep disorder. There are several different types of sleep studies that are conducted, but the most common is the polysomnogram (PSG), which is used to help diagnose sleep apnea, sleep-related seizures and restless leg syndrome.
What to expect during a sleep study
During a PSG, you will usually stay overnight in a sleep center; the nurses or technicians will make the room as comfortable as possible and answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding the test. Once you are settled in bed, adhesive patches with sensors, called electrodes, will then be placed on various parts of your body, typically on the scalp, chest, face, arms, legs and a finger. Elastic belts will also be placed around the chest and abdomen to measure chest expansion and the strength and duration of inhaled and exhaled breaths.

The wires attached to the electrodes are very thin and flexible, and are bundled together so you can move about fairly easily, without feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmingly restricted. As you sleep, the electrodes record brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. This data is then transmitted to a monitor in another room where the technicians are able to monitor your sleep patterns.

If you show symptoms of sleep apnea during the procedure, it may be decided to transfer your PSG into a split-night sleep study. During a split-night sleep study, you will continue to sleep the first half of the night and then be woken up so you can be fitted with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask. A CPAP machine is a small machine that softly blows air into the mask, creating pressure that helps to keep your airway open during sleep.

The technician will periodically check how you are sleeping with the CPAP mask, while continuing to monitor all the same vitals as during the beginning of the PSG. They will then make air flow adjustments as needed or exchange the mask to achieve optimum breathing results and to get the most comfortable fit.

Once the sleep study is complete, the electrodes will be removed and you will be able to go home. Your test will then be carefully evaluated, and a sleep specialist will consult with your doctor to determine a diagnosis. If you are found to have some sort of sleep disorder, your doctor will discuss the right treatment options for you.

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