Without doubt, one of the most common topics of discussion during clinic visits with our patients at Pandya Medical Center (PMC) is that of insomnia. Insomnia, the perception of not sleeping well, may involve challenges with falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking too early. Patients also frequently complain of unrefreshing sleep with persistent daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Not only does insomnia often have a negative impact on one’s quality of life, it can also have marked permanent health consequences leading to increased morbidity and mortality in the future.
Psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety are common in the general population and almost invariably affect one’s ability to sleep and/or quality of sleep. Other important considerations include neurologic diseases (head trauma, stroke, Parkinson’s), and hundreds of medications. Physical conditions such as chronic pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease, heart failure and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often play a central role in sleeping difficulty as well.
Identifying sleep apnea is of particular importance to your health. Snoring, unrefreshing sleep, and persistent daytime sleepiness are hallmarks of this condition. Left untreated, it can lead to hypertension and cause irreversible heart failure in the future. Depending on the severity and underlying cause of the sleep apnea, sometimes lifestyle changes and weight loss alone can resolve the problem. However, patients often need additional treatment/therapies such as a CPAP machine or oral device that can eliminate snoring. With this simple intervention patients can enjoy much more restful sleep and avoid the long-term unwanted complications of sleep apnea.
At PMC we are firm believers in the power of preventative care in preserving your future health. We invite you to meet with one of our providers at either of our two convenient locations to further discuss your difficulty sleeping. For those of you who struggle with insomnia, take a look at our Sleep Hygiene Tips below:
- If you have trouble falling asleep at night, avoid naps during the day.
- Exercise is important, but make a concerted effort to do this earlier in the day. Exercising late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Many of us are creatures of habit-try to stick to a consistent relaxing routine as bedtime approaches.
- Maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle. Having a regular bedtime and sticking to it helps train your body and brain to fall asleep
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime
- Avoid alcohol in the evening.
- Make an effort to keep work in the office-leave potentially stressful things out of the bedroom.
- If you have difficulty “shutting your brain down” at night, make a checklist of things to do and how you plan on accomplishing those items.
- Avoid all technology (phone, ipad, T.V.) use 1 to 4 hours prior to sleeping. It is well known that the blue light on devices disrupt sleep cycle
In addition to on-site phlebotomy for both of our clinic locations, stress testing, and ultrasound, we are now able to offer you in-home sleep studies. If you do indeed have sleep apnea, we can help coordinate care with medical equipment companies, sleep specialists and dental specialists to help reduce snoring. If it appears you need a more in-depth assessment of your insomnia we have strong relationships with pulmonologists and sleep medicine specialists in the community who can consult on your health as well.