We all know that adequate sleep is vital to physical and mental health; and apart from the obvious effects such as lack of energy and difficulty concentrating, there’s evidence that lack of quality sleep may also be a factor in the development of such conditions as type 2 diabetes, weight gain, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
The Sleepiness Epidemic
So it’s alarming that research by The National Sleep Foundation suggests that around 20% of adult Americans suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, which is usually caused by a regular failure to get the 7-9 hours of night time sleep which is recommended.
Of course, there may be perfectly understandable external causes of this lack of sleep. New parents, in particular, are unlikely to be able to sleep undisturbed through the night, as are people working irregular or night shifts.
But if you are experiencing excessive sleepiness while keeping to a normal routine and working regular hours, it may be necessary to investigate what is happening during the night to prevent you sleeping well and feeling refreshed on waking.
Some Tips For Getting Quality Sleep
As a starting point, it is a good idea to take a close look at your bedtime routine and sleep environment.
Firstly, avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening, and preferably after midday. Also be aware that although drinking alcohol close to bedtime may induce a pleasant feeling of drowsiness, excessive intake may lead to unwanted wakefulness in the early hours of the morning.
It’s a good idea to power down all electronic devices, including the TV, at least half an hour before going to bed to allow the brain time to relax and recover from the sometimes excessive stimulation that these can cause. Ideally these devices should not be present in the bedroom at all, but if they are, make sure that they emit no light or sound and that your bedroom is dark. The room should also be maintained at a comfortable temperature and you should ensure that your bedding is clean and fresh.
Excessive Sleepiness As A Symptom Of Underlying Health Issues
But if after taking all these steps you still find that you have difficulty in going to sleep, are still waking during the night, or find that you are excessively tired during the day even though you think that you have had a full night’s sleep, it may be time to seek expert help.
It’s important first to talk to your regular doctor to eliminate any underlying physical cause of your sleeping problem. Blood sugar levels, allergies, asthma and gastrointestinal problems are just some of the possible causes of excessive daytime sleepiness, but if these are ruled out you should consider asking for a specialist sleep study.
What To Expect From A Sleep Study
This will involve an overnight stay at a center such as the El Paso Sleep Center, whose experts will gather detailed data while you sleep.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) will monitor the electrical activity in your brain to identify any possible disturbances as you pass through the normal sleep cycles. Eye, head and body movements, snoring, blood oxygen levels and pulse rate will also be closely monitored to provide a complete analysis of your sleep patterns.
Any problems such as sleep apnea, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep disorder or restless leg syndrome which may have been severely disrupting your sleep without your knowledge can thereby be diagnosed and the appropriate treatment prescribed.
For more detailed information on how a sleep study may help you, contact El Paso Sleep Center!