As many as 40 million Americans are afflicted with over 70 types of sleep-related problems. Whether it is insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea, the consequences of sleep deprivation, specifically the "problem sleepiness" during the day that normally follows, can have extremely serious - even life-threatening - consequences.
Sleep Disorder Services
Mercy Sleep Specialists/Neurologists Alan Shatzel, DO and Robert Dias, MD, in addition to a comprehensive team of neurologists, psychologists and otolaryngologists work with each patient and their sleeping partner to diagnose sleep disorders and provide appropriate treatments. Depending on individual symptoms, treatment may be as simple as better sleep habits, or may involve special breathing equipment.
In-depth sleep disorder diagnosis may also require a sleep study in the Sleep Center at Mercy San Juan Medical Center. The Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, offers the latest digital technology and years of clinical experience provided by Dr. Stack (board certified in sleep medicine) and a staff of registered sleep technologists.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Sleep is as essential to your well-being as healthy diet and exercise. Chronic lack of sleep can increase blood pressure, contribute to stress and weight gain, and affect your judgment, leading to car accidents and poor work performance.
While an occasional problem for most everyone, insomnia is a chronic problem for 15 to 20 million people in the United States. It is defined not only as a lack of sleep, but as the inability to get enough restful sleep. It may involve trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning without being able to return to sleep.
A sleep disorder that usually appears in young adulthood, narcolepsy causes people to fall asleep suddenly - anywhere, at any time, even in the middle of a conversation. Lasting from a few seconds to more than an hour, these sleep attacks can be mildly inconvenient, embarrassing or - depending on where they occur - dangerous.
Rate Your Sleepiness
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is used to determine the level of daytime sleepiness. Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:
0 = would never doze or sleep
1 = slight chance of dozing or sleeping
2 = moderate chance of dozing or sleeping
3 = high chance of dozing or sleeping
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes sleeping difficulties for about 10 percent of Americans, who have overpowering urges to move their legs, especially when they are resting or sleeping. Arms and other body parts can also be affected. People with the syndrome usually describe the sensations using terms such as aching, creepy, crawly, electric, twitching, tingling, burning or prickling.
Snoring is a breathing problem which deprives patients of oxygen during sleep, causing people to wake up feeling tired. In 10 to 15 percent of cases, snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous medical condition in which breathing actually stops for 10 seconds to more than a minute, hundreds of times a night. This interruption in breathing lowers oxygen levels and raises carbon dioxide levels in the blood, a condition doctors call hypoxia.
Tips for Better Sleep
There are several self-care steps to get a better night's sleep. It may take a few weeks to establish a new, natural sleeping routine.