Pershing Memorial Hospital continues to offer sleep studies. Hundreds of patients in Northern Missouri have been tested for sleep disorders at our sleep lab. Sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders can have serious effects on your health. Inadequate sleep impairs a person’s ability to think, handle stress, and maintain a healthy immune system. Without adequate sleep, the brain’s ability to function can deteriorate. The brain works harder to counteract sleep deprivation and operates less efficiently. Sleep disorders can cause depression, heart disease, obesity or weight gain, hypertension, irritability, daytime sleepiness and slower reaction times. The national highway traffic safety administration reports that 80,000 to 100,000 car accidents a year can be linked to daytime fatigue or sleepiness. The American Academy of Sleep estimates that 50 percent of people 65 and older suffer from the effects of sleep disorders.
Sleep apnea is the number one cause of sleep disorders. Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which your breathing temporarily stops during sleep due to a blockage of upper airways. These pauses in breathing interrupt your sleep and lead to being awakened several times an hour. Most people are unaware of these arousals but will feel sleep deprived in the morning. Symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, frequent pauses or cessation in breathing, gasping, snorting or choking during sleep, or feeling tired and sleepy during the day. Another sleep disorder is Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS, which causes an irresistible urge to move your legs or arms during sleep. Common signs of RLS are an uncomfortable sensation within the legs and an urge to move them, cramping or jerking legs during sleep. Narcolepsy is another sleep disorder that involves daytime sleepiness. Common signs of Narcolepsy are seeing or hearing things when drowsy or starting to dream before getting to sleep. The human body has an internal clock that regulates a 24 hour sleep cycle, also known as the circadian cycle. When the sun comes up in the morning, the brain tells the body it’s time to wake up. At night when it gets dark the brain triggers melatonin a hormone that helps you sleep. When the cycle is thrown off, you may feel groggy, disoriented or sleepy at inconvenient times. You can improve your sleep by allowing at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and by going to sleep and getting up around the same time each night. Make sure it is dark where you sleep and avoid drinking anything a few hours before bedtime. Also turn off televisions, smart phones, I pads and computers before bedtime as they emit light and stimulate the brain which reduces the amount of melatonin your body produces which can affect your body’s internal clock.
If you, a loved one or anyone you know have these sleep disorder symptoms, contact your local doctor. You may also call the Respiratory Care department at PMH for other information on sleep disorders, or to schedule an overnight sleep study. 660-258-1169