SIMEDHealth

National Sleep Awareness Week

Everyone needs sleep. Humans spend roughly 33 years of their lives sleeping. Without sleep, we can’t function and without quality sleep, we can’t function to the best of our abilities. March 11th through the 15th is National Sleep Awareness Week and we sat down with Dr. Galina to discuss why sleep is so important and she gave us some easy, simple things we can do to get better sleep.

HOW DOES LACK OF SLEEP AFFECT HOW YOU LIVE?

According to Dr. Galina Bogorodskaya, lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can increase anxiety. An average of 7-9 hours of sleep for an adult is essential for overall health. Inadequate sleep is associated with several health problems leading to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Other potential problems from lack of include depression and lower sex drive which can significantly affect your personal as well as your social life.

 HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE POOR QUALITY SLEEP?

You tend to have a poor quality of sleep if you take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, you regularly wake up more than once per night, and you find yourself staying awake for more than 20 minutes before falling back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Other factors can be noticed best by your bed partner such as you snore loudly, you make gasping and choking sounds during your sleep and you act out in your sleep or dream.

IS THERE A MAJOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SLEEP AND QUALITY SLEEP?

It’s good to start with a good quantity of sleep, 7-9 hours for adults where children and young adults need more. The most important factor in quality sleep, however, is how fresh you feel the next day. If you still feel tired, fatigue, yawning and depressed after good hours of sleep, it is time to see a sleep specialist and discuss your problems.

WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR GETTING QUALITY SLEEP?

Use your bed for only 3 things, Sleep, Sickness and Sex. Avoid watching television or using electronic devices in bed. Stop such devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Follow a consistent sleep schedule. Try to keep your bedroom clean and avoid any distractions such as posters, to do lists, deadlines to stop you from falling asleep.  Eat your meal at least 3 hours prior to your bedtime.  Stop drinking caffeine after noon time and limit alcohol consumption to 1 or 2 drinks per day.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER THINGS YOU TREAT AT THE SIMEDHEALTH SLEEP CENTER?

In the sleep center, we start with extensive consultation and evaluation of your sleep problems and concerns with our Board Certified sleep specialists. Based on the consultation, we perform a sleep study, if needed, to diagnose and treat your sleep problems. Such problems include but not limited to Obstructive sleep apnea (snoring, stopping breathing), Periodic limb movements (kicking legs at night), Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Bruxism, and many more. For more information or to schedule an appointment click here.

The Relationship Between Heart Disease and Sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year. Since February is National Heart Disease Awareness month, we sat down with Dr. Anthony Ackerman of SIMEDHealth’s Sleep Center to discuss the relationship between sleep, untreated sleep apnea, and heart disease.

HOW ARE SLEEP AND HEART DISEASE CONNECTED?

If you suffer from untreated sleep apnea, heart disease could be in your future. Sleep apnea is a common yet severe disorder that causes patients to briefly and repeatedly stop breathing while they are asleep. Dr. Ackerman explained that untreated sleep apnea can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, clogged arteries, and high blood pressure which all down the road can cause heart disease.

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR HEART WHILE YOU SLEEP?

He explained further that during sleep, when you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your body go down. This causes a signal to be sent to your blood vessels to constrict causing an increase in blood pressure.  In a lot of instances this increase in blood pressure during apnea events, result in consistently high blood pressure. Dr. Ackerman said “What’s good for the heart is often good for the brain” so sleep apnea can also increase your risk of stroke and dementia.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA?

Common symptoms include:

  • Snoring
  • Day time sleepiness
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Waking up gasping or choking during the night
  • Waking up feeling unrefreshed
  • Difficulty controlling blood pressure
  • Gastric reflux
  • Morning headaches
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Waking up with dry mouth

IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SLEEP APNEA…

Dr. Ackerman encourages you to talk to your primary care physician about it. It is also important to get your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol checked and make sure they are under control. Talk to your doctor about visiting our sleep clinic to discuss treatment plans such as sleep tests and positional therapy.   

Why Your Phone May Be The Reason You Can't Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, at least 95 percent of people use some kind of electronic device — TV, a computer, a phone or a tablet — within an hour of bedtime. 

Watching Netflix, checking emails or scrolling through social media before bed might seem harmless, and at times, necessary, however, it's the complete opposite. We spoke with Dr. Larissa Lim of SIMEDHealth’s Sleep Center to ask her a few questions about screen time and the importance of sleep.

Why is sleep so important?

“Sleep is what allows our bodies to rest and recuperate from the day. When we sleep we dream and process all the information we’ve received throughout the day,” she said.

Not getting enough sleep can mean decreased attention, slower processing speeds, general fatigue, and weight gain.

“People who are chronically sleep deprived are also more prone to depression and increased pain. If you get only 5 hours of sleep, you’ll feel it the next day,” Dr. Lim said.

Those of us who spend more time on screens before bed are more prone to these symptoms.

Why are screens bad for sleep?

The Pineal gland makes melatonin, which is the main hormone that sets our circadian clock (our internal sleep timer). Blue light from screens is meant to mimic the sun. This suppresses melatonin production and tells our brains that it’s daytime, keeping us awake longer.

 

How to detox from screen time:

Dr. Lim says that breaking the habit of constantly using our phones is a hard but important habit to break.

“A lot of us are mindlessly picking up our phones all the time, constantly checking texts, emails, or Facebook. We need to limit ourselves,” she said.

Here are a few techniques you can use to decrease your screen time:

1. On the iPhone’s latest operating system update, there’s a feature called “Screen Time.” This allows you to see exactly how much time you spend on your phone and on specific apps. You can also set screen time limits and limit notifications on certain apps. 

2. If you don’t have an iPhone, feel free to check out these free apps to monitor and limit your screen usage:

  •  BreakFree App
  •  Unglue
  •  AppDetox
  • Moment
  •  bSocial

3. Dr. Lim says using “Night Mode” on your cell phone before bed, might decrease the risk of exposure to blue light.

“If it’s not blue light, it may be useful in improving sleep,” she said.

4. Avoid “phubbing”, or using our phones in social situations. 

5. Dr. Lim’s top recommendation to limit screen time: Try turning off cellphone alerts during certain times of your day and give yourself a daily allowance of screen time.

If you find that it is not screen time that is keeping you from getting enough sleep, you may need to assess your sleep hygiene.

When should you see a doctor about sleep?

If you experience difficulty with falling or staying asleep for more than 3-6 months, or if lack of good sleep is beginning to affect your daily life, you should schedule an appointment with your provider, said Dr. Lim.

Sometimes the cause of your sleep concerns may be an underlying condition such as sleep apnea or seizures. This is why SIMEDHealth’s Sleep Center treats sleep disorders and evaluates multiple conditions. Dr. Lim goes on to express just how imperative it is that we limit phone use, for the sake of our sleep.

“We as a country are becoming addicted to smartphones. Each person needs to assess their phone use and minimize use before sleep.”