A Week to Practice Good Sleep

03/05/2015

(Bangor, Maine) – Most healthy adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but for the 70 million Americans who have a sleep problem, nighttime is often spent counting sheep instead of getting sleep.

“Sleep is incredibly important for the body,” says Deb Gerow, manager, Sleep Center of Maine. “When you become over tired, your stress level can increase. Chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease can be made worse if you don’t have enough sleep. It’s an important health issue on par with eating the right foods and getting regular exercise.”

EMMC’s sleep center experts encourage people to think about their sleep habits during National Sleep Awareness Week, which is recognized March 2-8. There are many symptoms that could indicate a sleep disorder, including:

-Headaches throughout the day
- Frequent fatigue during waking hours
- Loud snoring (often noticed by a bed partner)
- Stopping of breathing during sleep
- Personality changes or problems with memory and concentration

“Recognizing these symptoms can be the first step toward identifying a sleep disorder, adds Deb. “Keeping a sleep journal is a good way to begin understanding sleep habits. Write down what time you are going to bed, when you are getting up, how much caffeine you are drinking and at what times, and how much you nap during the day and share this information with your doctor.”

The first step in diagnosing a sleep disorder is to visit a primary care provider for an examination. Further diagnosis may require a visit with a sleep specialist and an overnight stay in a sleep disorders lab, where sleep technicians monitor sleep patterns throughout the night. If a sleep disorder is diagnosed, treatment options are available.

“The good news is that help is out there,” says Deb. “It’s amazing when you get a good night’s sleep. Patients who once had trouble sleeping are more active, have more energy, and feel better after treatment. Their lives are really improved.”

For more information about sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment, visit www.emmc.org or call 973-5892.