Q&A About Getting Your Zzzzs

    Dee Summers, RRT, RST, RPSGT, Deaconess Sleep Center


     









    Are you sleepy right now? Feeling like you didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night?
    Read the Q & A below to learn about sleep disorders and treatment options. 
     

    Is it true obese people have a higher percentage of sleep problems than average/thin people?

    Answer: Yes, it is true. Individuals with a higher body mass index are at higher risk for sleep disordered breathing because of extra tissue in the upper airway that can contribute to obstructions. Not all overweight or obese people will have a sleep disorder, nor do all sleep disorders occur in overweight or obese people.
     
    What are some common sleep disorders?
    • Sleep apnea
    • Insomnia
    • Periodic limb movement disorder (leg movement during sleep)
     
    At the Deaconess Sleep Center, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder treated.


    What is sleep apnea?
     
    Answer: Sleep apnea is defined as a cessation or near-cessation of breathing for ten seconds or more that results in a reduction of airflow. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are:

    • Snoring
    • Pauses/ Gasping
    • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
    • Trouble concentrating, becoming forgetful, irritable, anxious or depressed
    • Morning headaches or nausea
    • Frequent nighttime urination
    • Loss of libido, impotence in men and menstrual irregularities in women

    When someone has OSA, their sleep partner will describe that they are restless when they sleep; or they may snore heavily, stop for a few moments, jerk or gasp, and then repeat that cycle throughout the night.
     

    How is OSA diagnosed?

    Answer: Formally diagnosing someone with OSA requires an overnight sleep study, which will provide extensive data for a sleep specialist to review. A sleep study, such as those conducted at the Deaconess Sleep Center, consists of a night spent in a private, comfortable room. Various sensors are applied to your body to assist in monitoring your sleep patterns.


    What are the treatment options for OSA?

    To treat OSA, the most common option is a continuous positive airway pressure device, also known as a CPAP. This device helps keep the airways open to prevent the obstruction that causes the OSA. Other options include:

    • A Bi-PAP device is a bi-level positive airway pressure device that works similarly to a CPAP, and is needed for patients who struggle with the constant air flow of CPAP.
    • Dental devices are occasionally used.

    What is insomnia?

    Answer: Insomnia is defined as the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. This problem is officially considered to be insomnia if the issue persists for a month or longer.
    • Insomnia affects all age groups.
    • Among adults, insomnia affects women more often than men.
    • An estimated 30%-50% of the general population are affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia.
     
    Insomnia will affect most people at some point in their lives. It can be a very temporary condition, or may afflict someone for years.


    How is insomnia diagnosed?
     
    Answer: Insomnia is not diagnosed with overnight testing. A comprehensive in-office evaluation is used. Usually a two-week sleep log (to help identify patterns), as well as a wrist-watch-like monitoring device, are used to confirm insomnia.


    What causes insomnia?

    Answer: Insomnia can be caused by a variety of issues, including:
    • Stress
    • Hormones (menopause is a major cause)
    • Poor sleep hygiene (not properly preparing oneself for sleep in the late evening)
     

    What are the treatment options for insomnia?
     
    Answer: Treatments can include medications or cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, improvements in sleep hygiene are taught and recommended.
     
    If you have any questions about sleep health, please visit our webpage.
    Posted: June 20, 2014 by Jessica Gerlach
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