Make sleep a priority

Make sleep a priority

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PORTAGE — Trying to fit in all of our obligations often comes at the expense of sleep but it simply needs to be a priority. Sleep restores our body and fuels our day and you cannot adequately and consistently perform socially, at your job, and for your family without it. Simply put — it’s essential for good health and safety.

“The problem is many people do not view lack of sleep as a medical condition in need of attention” said Mike Lindner, director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Divine Savior Healthcare. “But according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than 70 million people in the U.S. have a sleep disorder and many of those are completely unaware of it.”

While an occasional late or restless night is normal, difficulty sleeping for several weeks can be dangerous and indicative of a more serious medical condition in need of attention.

If you or a loved one are experiencing problems sleeping, now is the time to take charge of your health.

Signs of disorder

If you experience the following, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder:

  • Loud, habitual snoring
  • Tired or groggy feeling upon awakening
  • Choking, gasping or holding breath during sleep
  • Falling asleep quickly, especially during normal wake hours
  • Overweight and/or have a large neck
  • Trouble falling asleep at night
  • Frequent morning headaches, dry or sore throat
  • Regularly irritable, anxious, or short tempered

Effects of lack of sleep

Lack of sleep can make your daily life feel more stressful or cause you to be less productive. Sleep loss has been found to impair the ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning and logical reasoning, while poor sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating, accomplishing simple tasks and handling minor irritations.

“Those diagnosed with sleep disorders suffer real consequences, including reduced energy, excessive daytime sleepiness, diminished mood, greater risks for motor vehicle and heavy equipment accidents, and pain resulting from the physical and mental effects from a lack of sleep,” Lindner said.

In addition, sleep disorders significantly increase your risk for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia/early aging, lower immunity and some cancers.

What you can do

“I recommend that patients who start experiencing problems sleeping keep a sleep diary for a week or more,” said Divine Savior pulmonologist and sleep specialist Dr. Clint Bonebrake. “This diary will help give you and your doctor a picture of your sleep habits and schedules.” Bring the diary in to your physician to discuss how things you are doing may be affecting your sleep. Your physician will evaluate you and discuss your options. If you need further evaluation, they can then refer you to a sleep specialist.”

“People experiencing problems with sleep do not have to continue to suffer. We now know more than ever about the process of sleep and can provide treatments to address the majority of sleep disorders,” Bonebrake said. “A patient may be recommended light therapy, medication, an oral appliance, surgery or other treatments to solve their sleep problems.”

Divine Savior’s Sleep Disorder Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The center performs a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic sleep tests and offers comprehensive follow-up with patients who have diagnosed sleep disorders. Talk to your primary care provider if you are experiencing sleep problems. For more information on sleep studies at Divine Savior, call 608-742-4131 or visit www.dshealthcare.com.

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