For millions of Americans, quality sleep is hard to come by. Sleep disorders affect millions of Americans, with insomnia affecting one in three people. The seven to eight hours of sleep many doctors recommend can be an impossibility for many people.
Some of the most common sleep disorders we see are insomnia, sleep apnea, night terrors, sleepwalking/talking, snoring and restless legs. The causes of sleep disorders can often be unknown, but for many they can be caused by numerous factors. Sleep disorders can be hereditary or caused by environmental stressors or lifestyle choices.
The importance of adequate sleep is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, it’s vital to your physical and mental health and overall well-being. Fatigue can lead to a host of problems including low energy, decreased brain function, as well as body function. Your mental state can be greatly impacted and have negative effects on your relationships, work and family life. Those suffering from sleep disorders are also at a greater risk for many health complications, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Sleep disorders can often go undiagnosed and many don’t even know that they are suffering. Here are some tell-tale signs that you may have a sleep disorder:
- It takes over 30 minutes to fall asleep
- You constantly feel tired or irritable even when getting adequate sleep
- You wake up frequently throughout the night
- You have difficulty concentrating on daily tasks
- You feel the need for a nap or increased caffeine throughout the day
- You experience any of the following -- falling asleep unintentionally, loud snoring and leg movements and tingles while trying to fall asleep
According to Louise Weadock, MPH, RN, president and CEO of ACCESS Nursing Services: “We always tell our clients that being your own advocate is extremely important. Take your health into your own hands and take control of your sleep. Remember to always be consistent -- make a bedtime for yourself, stick to it and aim to exercise each day for about 30 minutes. Don’t drink or at least limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption, especially leading up to bedtime. And lastly, create a sleep routine: draw a bath, read a book, listen to relaxing music or meditate before bedtime. These simple things can greatly improve your sleep and your life!”
For more suggestions and other health information and tips, check out our blog at blog.accessnursing.com.