How To Set Up A Home Sleep Study

A sleep study is a non-invasive, overnight exam that allows doctors to monitor you while you sleep to see what’s happening in your brain and body. Overnight sleep studies are typically thought of as taking place in a hospital or sleep clinic laboratory setting.

However, a few years ago, new technologies made it possible for sleep studies to take place in patients’ homes.

What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study may involve the following: Polysomnogram (PSG) – a diagnostic test which monitors brain activity, breathing and leg movements which helps to evaluate sleep apnea (obstruction of air flow) or a condition known as periodic leg movements of sleep. Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) – a daytime sleep study which evaluates how fast a person falls asleep.

Should You Get a Sleep Study?

The National Commission on Sleep Disorders estimates that millions of Americans are needlessly suffering from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed sleep disorders. Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to increased health risks and an overall lower quality of life.

To determine whether you might benefit from a sleep evaluationask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you regularly have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep?
  • Do you have a problem with snoring? Has anyone ever told you that you have pauses in breathing or that you gasp for breath when you sleep?
  • Are your legs “active” at night? Do you experience tingling, creeping, itching, pulling, aching or other strange feelings in your legs while sitting or lying down that cause a strong urge to move, walk or kick your legs for relief?
  • Are you so tired when you wake up in the morning that you cannot function normally during the day?
  • Does sleepiness and fatigue persist for more than two to three weeks?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a complete sleep evaluation should be considered.

Finally…

The Sleep Disorders Center at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is a comprehensive clinic supervised by a physician board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and is a Diplomate, American Board of Sleep Medicine.

Our sleep professionals are dedicated to providing the highest quality of sleep for our patients. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.

(Some information provided by the National Sleep Foundation).

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5 Important Sleep Mistakes You Might Be Making

Sleep isn’t just “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. Listed below are top reasons people regularly fail to get a good night’s sleep:

1. “Catching up” on Sleep

Though you may feel more rested on Monday morning after sleeping in all weekend, that extra shut-eye doesn’t erase all of the drawbacks from not getting enough sleep during the week. While extra weekend sleep does help reduce daytime sleepiness and stress, your ability to focus and pay attention will still be reduced. It can also throw off your internal body clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) and lead to Sunday night insomnia.

2. Caffeine

When it comes to sleep, caffeine has the power to interfere with regular sleep patterns, as well as help hide existing sleep deprivation, which can, in turn, lead to issues like insufficient sleep disorder. To avoid caffeine-related sleep problems, stop intake of the substance—whether through coffee, soda, chocolate, or any other form—for at least four to six hours before going to sleep. Doing so is one step toward creating good sleep hygiene habits. And remember: caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, so if you’re a person who is highly susceptible to caffeine-related side effects, it’s best to avoid having caffeine any time after lunch.

Solution: Give yourself three good night’s sleep to get back to a  normal routine after serious sleep deprivation.

3. Hitting The Snooze Button

The extra sleep that you can get by hitting snooze comes in small chunks and isn’t good quality—and it can actually do you some harm. Since the snooze session doesn’t last long enough for you to finish a complete sleep cycle, you could end up feeling super groggy for the first hour and a half of your day.

Solution: Set your alarm for when you actually need to get up. Try to set it for the same time every day (even on the weekends). This regularity can help you wake up without the need for an alarm in the long run.

4. Alcohol

Drinking actually increases deep sleep during the first part of the night. Although this is true, you aren’t actually getting the rest your body needs. Here’s why: during the second half of the night, this sleepy effect wears off and you’ll be more likely to wake up or toss and turn, reducing your overall time spent asleep. In addition, REM sleep (the deepest stage of sleep, during which you dream) is negatively affected by booze. This is the stage of sleep that helps boost memory, concentration, and learning, so paying attention at work may feel a tad challenging after a night of one too many drinks.

Solution: Avoid drinking alcohol just before you go to bed. On average, it takes an hour for the body to process one unit of alcohol. Instead, opt for herbal teas, such as chamomile or sleepy time tea.

5. Technology

It may seem harmless to knock out a few emails before bed or unwind with a favorite movie, but by keeping your mind engaged, technology can trick your brain into thinking that it needs to stay awake. And if you’re surfing the web, seeing something exciting on Facebook, or reading a negative email, those experiences can make it hard to relax and settle into slumber. After spending an entire day surrounded by technology, your mind needs time to unwind.

Solution: Give yourself a tech curfew, move your electronics out of the bedroom if needed.

Finally…

The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort.

Sleep isn’t just a “time out” from daily life. It is an active state important for renewing our mental and physical health each day. If you’re failing to get a good night’s sleep, contact us to schedule an appointment or answer any questions.

(Some information provided by Sleep.org)

Problem Sleepiness and Teenagers: How Much Sleep is Actually Needed

Research shows that most teenagers and do not get the sleep that they need on a daily basis. Teens are at an important stage of their growth and development. Because of this, they need more sleep than adults. The average teen needs about nine hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well rested.

There are many factors that keep teens from getting enough sleep. Causes for their lack of sleep include the following:

  • Rapidly changing bodies
  • Busy schedules
  • Active social lives
  • A wrong view of sleep

Teen sleep problems can begin long before they turn 13. The sleep habits and changing bodies of 10 to 12-year-olds have a close link to the teen years. The sleep patterns of teens are also firmly set in their lives. It is not easy for them to change the way they sleep. Thus teen sleep problems can continue well into their years as adults. For these reasons, the information found here may apply to anyone from 10 to 25 years old.

Sleep-Wake Cycle

Sleepiness can be due to the body’s natural daily sleep-wake cycles, inadequate sleep, sleep disorders or certain drugs. Many U.S. high school and college have signs of problem sleepiness such as:

  • Difficulty getting up for school
  • Falling asleep at school
  • Struggling to stay awake while doing homework

The need for sleep may be 9 hours or more per night as a person goes through adolescence. At the same time, many teens begin to show a preference for a later bedtime, which may be due to a biological change. Teens tend to stay up later but have to get up early for school, resulting in their getting much less sleep than they need.

Many factors contribute to problem sleepiness in teens and young adults, but the main causes are not getting enough sleep and irregular sleep schedules. Some of the factors that influence adolescent sleep include:

  • Social activities with peers that lead to a later bedtime
  • Homework to be done in the evenings
  • Early wake-up times due to early school start times
  • Parents being less involved in setting and enforcing bedtimes
  • Employment, sports or other extracurricular activities that decrease the time available for sleep

Teens and young adults who do not get enough sleep are at risk for problems such as:

  • Automobile crashes
  • Poor performance in school and poor grades
  • Depressed moods
  • Problems with peers and adult relationships

Many adolescents have part-time jobs in addition to their classes and other activities. High school students who work more than 20 hours per week have more than 20 hours per week have more problem sleepiness and may use more caffeine nicotine and alcohol than those who work less than 20 hours per week or not at all.

Sleep – There is no substitute! 

The amount of sleep needed each night varies among people. Each person needs a particular amount of sleep in order to be fully alert throughout the day. Many people simply do not allow enough time for sleep on a regular basis. A first step may be to evaluate daily activities and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained. If you are consistently getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, more sleep may be needed.

Finally…

Try to help your teen have a proper view of sleep. Sleep is not something to fight off or try to avoid. Sleep greatly benefits teens who make it a priority. They feel more alert and have more energy. They think more clearly and make better decisions. They will be happier and enjoy life more. There are simply too many benefits of good sleep for a teen to miss out on them. If you think you are getting enough sleep, but still feel sleepy during the day, check with your doctor to be sure your sleepiness is not due to a sleep disorder. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by UCLA Health).

Our Top Tips: How To Get the Sleep You Need

Unfortunately, getting a full night’s sleep is not an easy task for some. The good news: ADC is here to help. The bad news: You won’t be able to change your sleep schedule overnight.

The most effective tactic is to make small changes slowly, starting with your sleep schedule. If you’re trying to go to sleep at 10:00pm, rather than midnight, for example, try this: For the first three or four nights, go to bed at 11:45pm, and then go to bed at 11:30pm for the next few days. Keep adjusting your sleep schedule like this. By working in 15-minute increments, your body will have an easier time adjusting.

What Are My Options?

Sleep disorders are diagnosed and treated by many different healthcare professionals, including general practitioners and specialist in neurology, pulmonary medicine, psychiatry, psychology pediatrics, and other fields. As part of its mission, the American Academy Of Sleep Medicine (AASM) strives to increase awareness of sleep disorders in public and professional communities. The AASM is the major national organization in the field of sleep medicine. We represent several thousand clinicians and researchers in sleep disorders medicine. At ADC, we focus on diagnoses and treatment of patients who have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep at night, problems with excessive daytime sleepiness or other medical problems that may occur or exacerbate during sleep.

What Is Our Advice?

The following guidelines can be used for a variety of sleep disorders. They will help most people sleep better. For more specific guidelines for your particular sleep problem, consult your healthcare professional.

  • Maintain a regular wake time, even on days off work and on weekends.
  • Try to go to bed only when you are drowsy.
  • If you are not drowsy and are unable to fall asleep for about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity elsewhere. Do not permit yourself to fall asleep outside the bedroom. Return to bed when, and only when, you are sleepy. Repeat this process as often as necessary throughout the night.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep, sex, and times of illness.
  • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals such as a warm bath, light bedtime snack or 10 minutes of reading.
  • Exercise regularly. Confine vigorous exercise to early hours, at least six hours before bedtime, and do mind exercises at least four hours prior to bedtime.
  • Keep a regular schedule. Regular times for meals, medications, chores, and other activities help keep the inner clock running smoothly.
  • While a light snack before bedtime can promote sound sleep, avoid large meals.
  • Avoid indigestion of caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
  • Do not drink alcohol when sleepy. Even a small dose of alcohol can have a potent effect when combined with tiredness.
  • Avoid the use of nicotine close to bedtime or during the night.
  • Sleeping pills should be used only conservatively. Most doctors avoid prescribing sleeping pills for periods longer than three weeks.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking sleeping pills or other medications.

Talk To Us

A good night’s sleep is within reach. If you suspect that you may have a sleep disorder, contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by Sleep.org).

Stay Awake at The Wheel: Putting an End To Drowsy Driving

Your body requires three things: water, food and sleep. You can choose not to drink water or not eat food until you eventually die. Your body’s need for sleep is so strong, however, that you can try not to sleep, but your brain will eventually make your body sleep. When you deprive yourself of sleep (or aren’t getting quality sleep), you become drowsy.

Drowsiness is a feeling of being sleepy and lethargic. Drowsiness can be triggered by your body clock, exposure to daylight/darkness and how long you’ve been awake. The average amount of sleep recommended for an adult is eight hours. Any less can impair you speech and motor skills. It is even likened the effects of being under the influence of alcohol.

How Common is Drowsy Driving?

Drowsy driving is responsible for 100, 000 police-reported crashes annually, involving 76,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths. However, studies suggest an even higher rate of drowsy driving. One study goes as far as to say 55% of people drive while drowsy, while 23% fall asleep behind the wheel without incident, and 3% have been in a drowsy/sleep-related accident.

Drivers that are drowsy are usually unaware of how tired they are prior to an accident, and as of now, there is no test for sleepiness after a wreck.  This is due, in part, to the release of adrenaline that an accident causes the brain to release. Drowsy drivers are often fully alert after an accident, which can be misleading. Drivers also tend to be reluctant to tell police they were drowsy after a crash.

What are the Common Characteristics in Drowsy Driving Accidents?

The time of day could be a cause for a driver being drowsy. Our brain tells our body to sleep in the quiet midnight hour, but we get a similar call at the peak hours of the afternoon. In turn, most accidents happen between midnight and 8 a.m., closely followed by 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. So, if you must drive during these times, provide yourself with plenty of sleep beforehand.

82% of reported drowsy crashes involved an individual driving alone. Another person in the vehicle provides a buffer to keep the driver alert. At very least, the passenger has the opportunity to notice when the driver is getting sleepy. Driving with the “buddy system” can allow the passengers in the vehicle to drive on a shift schedule.

One report stated  4% of all fatalities are attributed to people driving drowsy. Good indicators can include no skid marks or witnesses not seeing brake lights.

Who is Most at Risk?

Young drivers make up the majority of drowsy drivers. 55%, to be exact. Males make up 75% of those car wrecks, while females account for the the remaining 25%. Other attributing factors include lifestyle or behavioral choices. Younger people to make tiresome decisions such as to stay up late and work longer hours.

What are the Signs of Drowsy Driving?

  • Drifting from your lane or hit the rumble strip.
  • Finding yourself yawning frequently.
  • Catching yourself “nodding off” and have trouble keeping your head up.
  • Weakened attention or wandering mind.
  • Tailgating and missing of traffic signs.
  • Having trouble focusing and keeping your eyes open.

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving?

Prevent drowsy driving by making sure you (or your driver) is well rested before extended car trips-trips. Another effective measure is to stop and sleep when you feel tired. Also, avoid alcohol and medications that impair your ability to drive. Don’t fall under the fallacy that you’ll be able to shake it off and be fine when you can feel your eyes getting heavy.

Alerting devices can save your life. One of the most effective alerts is the roadway rumble strip to wake a driver who is drifting off but it isn’t a cure-all. Auto manufacturers are also creating new devices to help keep a driver awake on the road.

If healthy sleep habits don’t help your drowsiness, you should get a sleep study. Learn more about sleep studies and sleep disorders.

Shift Work and Problem Sleepiness

ADC shift work and problem sleepiness

Some information provided by The National Sleep Foundation.

About 20 million Americans (20 to 25 percent of workers) perform shift work. Most shift workers get less sleep over 24 hours than day workers. Sleep loss is greatest for night shift workers, those who work early morning shifts, and female shift workers with children at home. About 60 to 70 percent of shift workers have difficulty sleeping and/or problem sleepiness.

Sleep-Wake System

The human sleep-wake system is designed to prepare the body and mind for sleep at night and wakefulness during the day. These natural rhythms make it difficult to sleep during daylight hours and to stay awake during the night hours, even in people who are well rested. It is possible that the human body never completely adjusts to nighttime activity and daytime sleep, even in those who work permanent night shifts.

In addition to the sleep-wake system, environmental factors can influence sleepiness in shift workers. Because our society is strongly day-oriented, shift worker who try to sleep during the day are often interrupted by noise, light, telephones, family members and other distractions. In contrast, the nighttime sleep of day workers is largely protected by social customs that keep noises and interruptions to a minimum.

Problem sleepiness in shift workers may result in:

  • Increased risk for automobile crashes, especially while driving home after the night shift
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Decreased productivity (night work performance may be slower and less accurate than day performance
  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries at work

What Can Help? 

Many people simply do not allow enough time for sleep on a regular basis. A first step may be to evaluate daily activities and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained. If you are consistently getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, more sleep may be needed. A good approach is to gradually move to an earlier bedtime. For example, if an extra hour of sleep is needed, try going to be 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights and then keep the last bedtime. This method will increase the amount of time in bed without causing a sudden change in schedule. However, if work or family schedules do not permit the earlier bedtime, a 30 to 60 minute daily nap may help.

For some shift workers, napping is essential. It can be extremely effective at eliminating fatigue-related accidents and injuries and reducing workers compensation costs. Although most employers do not allow napping in the workplace, a ban on napping may soon prove to be a legal liability. Thus, efforts to make workplace policies nap-friendly may soon gain popularity as the issue increases in global significance.

Here are some tips for sleeping during the day:

  • Wear dark glasses to block out the sunlight on your way home.
  • Keep to the same bedtime and wake time schedule, even on weekends.
  • Eliminate noise and light from your sleep environment (use eye masks and ear plugs).
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages and foods close to bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol; although it may seem to improve sleep initially, tolerance develops quickly and it will soon disturb sleep.

If you think you are getting enough sleep, but still feel sleepy during the day, check with ADC to be sure your sleepiness is not due to a sleep disorder. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment. 

Problem Sleepiness And Adolescents

ADC - Adolescents and problem sleepiness

Sleepiness can be due to the body’s natural daily sleep-wake cycles, inadequate sleep, sleep disorders or certain drugs. Many U.S. high school and college have signs of problem sleepiness such as:

  • Difficulty getting up for school
  • Falling asleep at school
  • Struggling to stay awake while doing homework

The need for sleep may be 9 hours or more per night as a person goes through adolescence. At the same time, many teens begin to show preference for a later bed time, which may be due to a biological change. Teens tend to stay up later but have to get up early for school, resulting in their getting much less sleep than they need.

Many factors contribute to problem sleepiness in teens and young adults,but the main causes are not getting enough sleep and irregular sleep schedules. Some of the factors that influence adolescent sleep include:

  • Social activities with peers that lead to a later bedtime
  • Homework to be done in the evenings
  • Early wake-up times due to early school start times
  • Parents being less involved in setting and enforcing bedtimes
  • Employment, sports or other extracurricular activities that decrease the time available for sleep

Teens and young adults who do not get enough sleep are at risk for problems such as:

  • Automobile crashes
  • Poor performance in school and poor grades
  • Depressed moods
  • Problems with peers and adult relationships

Many adolescents have part-time jobs in addition to their classes and other activities. High school students who work more than 20 hours per week have more than 20 hours per week have more problem sleepiness and may use more caffeine nicotine and alcohol than those who work less than 20 hours per week or not at all.

Sleep – There is no substitute! 

The amount of sleep needed each night varies among people. Each person needs a particular amount of sleep in order to be fully alert throughout the day. Many people simply do not allow enough time for sleep on a regular basis. A first step may be to evaluate daily activities and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained. If you are consistently getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, more sleep may be needed. If you think you are getting enough sleep, but still feel sleepy during the day, check with your doctor to be sure your sleepiness is not due to a sleep disorder. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

The Problem With Problem Sleepiness

ADC - problem sleepiness

Everyone feels sleepy at times. However, when sleepiness interferes with daily routines and activities or reduces the ability to function, it is called “problem sleepiness.” A person can be sleepy without realizing it. For example, a person may not feel sleepy during activities such as talking and listening to music at a party, but the same person can fall asleep while driving home afterward. You may have problem sleepiness if you:

  • Consistenlty do not get enough sleep or get poor quality sleep
  • Fall asleep while driving
  • Struggle to stay awake when inactive such as when watching televison or reading
  • Have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school or home.
  • Have performance problems at work or school
  • Are often told by others that you are sleepy
  • Have difficulty remembering
  • Have slowed responses
  • Have difficulty controlling your emotions
  • Must take naps on most days

What Causes Problem Sleepiness?

Sleepiness can be due to the body’s natural daily sleep-wake cycles, inadequate sleep, sleep disorders or certain drugs.

Sleep-Wake Cycle

Each day there are two periods when the body experiences a natural tendency toward sleepiness: during the late night hours (generally between midnight and 7 a.m.) and gain during the midafternoon (generally between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.). If people are awake during these times, they ahve a higher risk of falling asleep unintentionally, especially if they havent been getting enough sleep.

Inadequate Sleep

The amount of sleep needed each night varis among people. Each person needs a particular amount of sleep in order to be fully alert throughout the day. Research has shown that when healthy adults are allowed to sleep unrestricted, the average time slept is 8 to 8.5 hours. Some people need more than that to avoid problem sleepiness; others need less.

If a person does not get enough sleep, even on one night, a “sleep debt” begins to build and increases until enough sleep is obtained. Problem sleepiness occurs as the debt accumulates. Many people do not get enough sleep during the work week and then sleep longer on the weekends or days off to reduce their sleep debt. If too much sleep has been lost, sleeping in on the weekend may not completely reverse the effects of not getting enough sleep during the work week.

 

What Can Help?

Many people simply do not allow enough time for sleep on a regular basis. A first step may be to evaluate daily activites and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained. If you are consistently getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, moe sleep may be needed. A good approach is to gradually move to an earlier bed-time. For example, if an extra hour of sleep is needed, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights and then keep the last bedtime. This method will increase the amount of time in bed without causing a sudden change in schedule. However, if work or family schedules do not permit the earlier bedtime, a 30 – to 6o minute daily nap may help.

A person with problem sleepiness is limited in reaching their full potential, let us help you find a solution. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.