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




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.


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.


Do you talk in your sleep?

Sleep talking, also known as somniloquy, is a very common occurrence and while it can be upsetting to those listening or to those who did the talking, it is not usually considered a medical condition. There are times however, when it is caused by another underlying sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or REM sleep behavior disorder. If that is the case, it will usually resolve itself when the sleep disorder is treated. Other causes of sleep talking include emotional stress, fever, sleep deprivation, depression, substance abuse, certain medications or day-time drowsiness.

When you observe someone talking in their sleep, it can be quite amusing to hear what they are saying; oftentimes it’s just gibberish but other times sleep talkers can carry on complete conversations in their sleep. Their chatter may be completely harmless, but there are times when it morphs into the disturbing category. It is not uncommon for sleep talkers to become vulgar or offensive and some are even known to yell or appear terrified during one of their diatribes.

As much as fifty percent of children between the ages of 3 and 10 years old experience sleep talking episodes at least a few nights per week. This usually fades as they grow older and once they reach adulthood, only about five percent continue to talk in their sleep. If sleep talking begins suddenly as an adult, or if it involves intense fear, screaming or violent actions, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a sleep specialist. In rare cases, adult onset sleep talking can be an indication of nocturnal seizures or a psychiatric disorder.

Unless there is an underlying cause for sleep talking, such as an undiagnosed sleep disorder or other type of medical condition, there is no medical treatment necessary. Since sleep talking can be disturbing to bed partners however, there are some techniques you can try to help alleviate the severity and frequency of sleep talking episodes.

• Follow a regular sleep schedule 7 days a week
• Get adequate amounts of sleep during the night
• Avoid napping during the day which can disrupt the normal sleep–wake cycle
• Ensure adequate exposure to natural light during the day which can help maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle
• Refrain from stimulants before sleep such as caffeine, alcohol or nicotine
• Do not indulge in a heavy meal before bedtime
• Practice stress relieving techniques before bed such as yoga or meditation to help your body get into a relaxed state before attempting sleep

If these techniques don’t work, or your sleep talking episodes worsen, consider seeing a sleep doctor for a sleep study to determine if there are other conditions causing the episodes. A sleep study can diagnose a host of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy and night terrors to name a few. If a sleep disorder is diagnosed, a sleep specialist will work with your physician to determine the proper course of treatment to resolve the issue.


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 so that you can start living your life fully and rested. A good night’s sleep goes a long way!


Life with Narcolepsy

Most people have never heard of the phrase sleep attacks, but people living with narcolepsy deal with these moments chronically. Narcolepsy is not talked about enough and many people do not know what the term truly entails. At our Glendale, Peoria and Surprise locations, we are prepared to help you live life to the fullest and treat narcolepsy so that you no longer have to suffer from its debilitating effects. Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. Those suffering from this disorder 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. As many as 40 percent of people with narcolepsy are prone to automatic behavior during these “microsleeps” or “sleep attacks.”

Narcolepsy is more than just falling asleep on a whim. It can greatly affect daily activities. People may unwillingly fall asleep while at work or at school, when having a conversation, playing a game, eating a meal, or, most dangerously, when driving or operating other types of machinery. This makes everyday life very frustrating and difficult for those not being treated. Beyond just affecting sleep habits, other symptoms include cataplexy (a sudden loss of voluntary muscle tone while awake that makes a person go limp or unable to move), vivid dream-like images or hallucinations, as well as total paralysis just before falling asleep or just after waking-up.
Life with narcolepsy does not however mean that you sleep much more than those without the condition. You just may experience poor quality sleep or frequent interruptions to sleep. Most adults get an average of 8 hours of sleep which is composed of roughly four to six sleep cycles. A sleep cycle is defined as by a segment of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep followed by a period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and this is a whole other topic we will save for later. These typical sleep cycles last 100 to 110 minutes. They begin with NREM sleep and after about 80 to 100 minutes, move into REM sleep. People who have narcolepsy often enter REM sleep within a few minutes of falling asleep, a major difference from their counterparts.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) tends to be the most common symptom experienced and is usually the first to become clinically apparent. Mental cloudiness, a lack of energy, a depressed mood, or extreme exhaustion are all signs of EDS. Sleep deprivation has become one of the most common causes of EDS among Americans. Narcolepsy has also been shown to be linked to cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, disrupted nocturnal sleep and obesity. The most common major symptom, other than excessive daytime sleepiness EDS, is cataplexy, which occurs in about 70 percent of all people with narcolepsy. Sleep paralysis and hallucinations are somewhat less common. Only 10 to 25 percent of affected individuals, however, display all four of these major symptoms during the course of their illness.

How do we test for narcolepsy? First, you should begin by talking to your doctor who will refer you to a sleep lab for sleep tests. Narcolepsy requires several tests in order to reach a diagnosis. A sleep doctor will likely perform a physical examination as well as learn in-depth about your medical history to rule out other causes. Just because you have some symptoms of narcolepsy doesn’t mean that will be your diagnosis. Specialized sleep tests at a sleep disorder clinic also may include the polysomnogram (PSG) and the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). In addition, questionnaires, such as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, are often used to measure excessive daytime sleepiness.

With the diagnosis also comes treatment. Here in at PM Sleep Centers, our professionals are prepared to provide relief for you just as we have for thousands of other patients. Treatment options may include behavior and lifestyle changes and recommendations, and prescribed medications.

Life with narcolepsy comes with many challenges without a doubt, but these challenges can find some relief through education the patient, family, friends, communication and honesty, social flexibility and joining support systems. Even with treatment, narcolepsy patients may suffer from sleepiness, difficulties with attention, and cataplexy which can certainly affect the quality of interpersonal relationships and impact performance at school or work. But some relief is surely better than none at all. Contact us today to schedule a sleep test so that you can start feeling better and living life to the fullest. The good news is that narcolepsy is a manageable condition, you just have to make the first call and we are waiting to hear from you.


The Sleep and Heart Connection

Sleep. It is as vital as breathing. In fact, without proper restorative sleep even breathing becomes a problem! Individuals who suffer from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea experience numerous pauses in their breathing rhythm throughout the course of the night and often wake up gasping for air. Without treatment, this lack of restorative sleep can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and even heart healthheart failure are all associated with sleep apnea.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and stroke is not far behind at number five so it is not something to take lightly. If you suspect you or a loved one might have sleep apnea, it is essential to talk to your doctor right away and be set up for a sleep study. The longer you put off treatment, the more potential damage you could be doing to your heart. In a normal sleep cycle, the heart gets an opportunity to rest; blood pressure goes down as well as heart rate. Without this break, the heart rate stays elevated which then induces high blood pressure which leads to cardiovascular disease.

The European Heart Journal conducted a study of 475,000 individuals and discovered that those who slept less than six hours a night had a 48% greater risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease and a 15% increased risk of having or dying from a stroke. An individual who suffers from a sleep disorder sometimes never enters into restorative sleep even if they think they are sleeping, and that just plays havoc on the heart as well as other parts of the body.

The good news is that there is treatment available for sleep apnea sufferers. If a sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG) identifies a patient as having sleep apnea, they will most likely be fitted with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in the throat so that the airway does not become blocked during sleep; this allows the lungs to breathe properly and lets the body go into restorative sleep.

Patients who have heart arrhythmias or high blood pressure caused by sleep apnea, can oftentimes resolve the conditions by the use of a CPAP machine. Evidence has shown that proper treatment not only lowers blood pressure during the night, but it also lowers it during the day as well. Arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats are also decreased with proper treatment; sixty percent of patients never have to return for treatment of their arrhythmias after starting on a CPAP machine. Good sleep is vital, so don’t ignore it if you are not getting enough rest at night, talk to your physician and take the first step on the path to a healthier you.


Sleep is More Important than You Know

When you begin to understand the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, you can then begin to know when you’re sleeping well and when you’re not. You become more aware of your sleep habits, your body’s needs and the effects of

How many hours of sleep do we need?

See how many hours of sleep do you need based on your age.

not sleeping enough. In fact, in studies of humans and other animals, they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.

It may seem somewhat obvious to you that sleep is beneficial. No one will argue with that. Even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.

Are you getting enough sleep? And how much sleep is enough sleep? Does it vary by age? The answer is that many of us are not getting enough sleep for whatever reason. Sleep loss and even poor-quality sleep can lead to an increase in errors at the workplace, decreased productivity, mood changes and negative effects on your relationships. To know just how much sleep you truly need, we have a graphic which will break it down for you – How Much Sleep Do You Need. Adults need 7.5-9 hours of sleep each night and this is below what many of us actually get. Teens require 8.5-10 hours each night and we know this is probably not the case for the majority, especially with the temptation of technology and social media.

What happens if you try to sleep, but you cannot? That is where we come in. We can start by doing a sleep test and diagnosing why it is that you are not sleeping enough. Asking us why you cannot sleep is the first step in fixing the problem. There are many reasons that you may not be sleeping enough, some of which include too late caffeine consumption, sleep apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome and many more.

So you know you are not getting enough sleep, but what effect is being had on your daily life? Well, in the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.

Awareness can help you improve your sleep habits and in turn your safety. If you or someone you know is not getting the amount of sleep recommended by the graphic, we encourage you to come visit our sleep center and learn more about what we can do together to improve the amount and the quality of your sleep. Life is exhausting enough without getting too little sleep. Sleep more and live better with a little help from our doctors and staff.