If you get less than six hours of sleep per night, snore, or find that you sleep fitfully and are tired every day, you might have chronic sleep issues that need attention. People who suffer from chronic lack of sleep feel fatigued, have poor concentration at work, and may become irritable and stressed; if sleep habits don’t improve, it takes a toll on one’s cognitive and mental health. Recent research has shown that some sleep disorders may even lead to serious consequences like heart disease and diabetes.
The good news is that having a sleep study can pinpoint the cause of your sleep disorder and help get you sleeping more soundly. Many years ago, a friend of mine had an initial sleep study to get to the bottom of why he kept waking up nights and having trouble getting back to sleep, which made him feel tired and irritable throughout the day. The study indicated that he was experiencing moderate sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can have serious side effects if left untreated.
Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted and thus keeps waking the person from a deep sleep. It is caused by blockage of the airway from soft tissue at the back of the throat, often the result of being overweight or obese. Once this diagnosis was revealed, my friend’s physician referred him to a dietician in order to help him eat more healthily and lose the weight that caused the sleep apnea. Months later, having shed the excess pounds and adopting a more healthy lifestyle, a second sleep study showed that he no longer had sleep apnea. Today, he sleeps soundly and feels great during his workday.
A sleep study is a painless procedure. Here’s how it works:
- You sleep overnight at a sleep center, in a small room. Sensors and electrodes are placed on your scalp, face, chest, limbs and on one finger. These sensors record your heart rate and rhythm, brain activity, blood pressure, eye movements, and your blood oxygen levels.
- All data is transmitted to a computer in the next room that records the results.
- If you would prefer to conduct a sleep study in the privacy of your own home, you can often arrange to have a home-based, portable monitor test. A technician will instruct you on how to use it, and the set up is not very complicated. When you return the equipment, they will analyze the results. Home sleep devices also require that you attach fewer wires and electrodes; your doctor will be able to tell you if you are an appropriate candidate for a home sleep study (and whether your insurer will pay for one type of study vs. another).
The important thing to remember is that a sleep study will identify what is preventing you from getting a good’s night’s sleep, and can point you in the right direction to get the treatment you need.
A well-rested, enthusiastic, and productive workforce will help your business flourish. If you, or anyone with whom you work is chronically tired, then I recommend scheduling a sleep study today. You can find an accredited sleep center through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
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