Why Aren't You Sleeping?

Everyone has spent a night or two tossing and turning while trying to fall asleep. And, most of us have also experienced occasional difficulty sleeping through the night. Although disturbing at the time, laying awake once in a while is not a significant problem. However, experiencing sleeping problems on a regular basis can be a sign of a sleep disorder. If left untreated, sleep disorders can be very damaging to your health and well-being.

"Sleep disorders can be very common and also quite serious," notes Theodore Feinson, M.D., a internist at Lowell General Hospital. "It is important to detect these problems as quickly as possible so that they can be properly treated." Symptoms of sleep disorders may vary. Sufferers will often show problematic signs while asleep, such as excessive dreaming, snoring, twitching and sleep walking or talking. In addition, such individuals may also feel very tired during the day, experiencing poor concentration and/or forgetfulness. "It is easy to overlook the signs of a sleep disorder," continues Dr. Feinson. "But that can be a hazardous mistake because of the dangerous side effects that may result from loss of sleep. Many work-related and roadway accidents are the direct result of the excessive fatigue caused by a sleep disorder."

Many people have heard of the sleep disorder known as insomnia, the inability to fall or stay asleep. But, there are other disorders that, while perhaps similar to insomnia, have unique identities all their own.
Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing while asleep, for as long as a few minutes.
Night terrors are frightening, traumatic dreams that drastically interfere with sleep.
Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome (PLMS) is a disorder that causes twitching or muscle movement, often interrupting the sleep process. In addition, to the sleep disorders that reek havoc at night, there is also one that interrupts daily routines. Narcolepsy causes people to fall asleep suddenly, without any warning, at any time of day.

According to Dr. Feinson, there are special procedures to diagnose and treat sleep disorders. "One treatment option is the use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (C-PAP)," he explains. "Patients wear a small device on their nose. This opens up the airway and allows the wearer to breath in a steady flow of air, eliminating breathing disturbances." There are also devices that can be worn in the mouth to stop snoring. Surprisingly, weight reduction is another way to treat some sleep problems, specifically sleep apnea. "Extra weight can actually diminish a person's ability to breath, especially while in a prone position," says Dr. Feinson. Even minor changes in life style or sleep habits can help improve your ability to sleep as you will see in Sleep Briefs.
We all need sleep in order to function properly and effectively in our daily life. Everyone deserves a good night's sleep. Get yours tonight!

Sleep Briefs.

We all need sleep in order to function properly and effectively in our daily life. Everyone deserves a good night's sleep. It's more than a right, it is a necessity. Get yours tonight!

o A Good Attitude

Don't worry, be happy. Worrying about problems all night long certainly won't help you fall asleep. Instead, keep a notebook by your bed and write down what you will need to work on the next day. Then forget about it until morning.

o A Good Night's Work

Working the night shift? Current research shows that night shift workers who are exposed to bright lights of the same intensity as daylight stay more alert. These individuals may also perform better if they drink one cup of coffee at 10:30 p.m. and another at 1:30 a.m.

o A Good Day's Sleep

People working the night shift may sleep better during the daytime if they wear dark goggles in the morning on their way home from work. Body rhythms of night shift workers, or rotating shift workers, can remain anchored in the daytime, causing sleep trouble during the day. Light entering the eyes may be a factor that sets one's biological clock to a daytime schedule.

o A Good Fragrance

Lavender oil may have a light sedative effect for people with sleeping problems. The scent of lavender has been shown to increase the amount of time a person sleeps, and it allows that sleep to be restful.

Lowell General Hospital, 295 Varnum Avenue, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854, Main Telephone: (978) 937-6000
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