Sleepless in Pamlico County

Not unlike the rest of America, we are sleep deprived!  Over the past few years, the National Sleep Foundation has conducted polls to assess whether or not we are getting enough sleep.  Through the Sleep in America polls, about 20% of Americans report that they get less than 6 hours of sleep on average.  Based on my professional experience I feel the percentage of sleep disturbance is even higher.  Many patients do not mention their concerns of sleep to their providers, thinking “it’s normal to have problems, especially with aging”. Providers often don’t ask about sleep issues and if they do the common reaction is to prescribe a sleep aid, which the patient often continues year after year (even when the disturbance continues). In many cases the very medicine to help the insomnia may be the culprit! Unfortunately discussing the various causes of sleep disturbance can be time consuming and often prohibitive in the tightly managed health care system many providers find themselves working in. All the more reason to be your own advocate, talk to your provider about it!

People often do not realize how important sleep is, and what the health consequences are of not getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.  Sleep is just as important for overall health as movement and adequate nutrition.

There is strong evidence that lost sleep is a serious matter.  Sleep deficit is related to poor work performance, driving accidents, relationship problems and mood problems like anger and depression.  There is also a growing list of health risks that are associated with chronic sleep loss; heart disease, diabetes and obesity to name a few. Insomnia is a broad term and presents itself in many ways and no one treatment modality covers the many types of sleep difficulty.  Trouble falling asleep or trouble staying asleep effect the normal sleep cycle in different ways. The sleep problem may present as being more “physical”; for example chronic pain, restless leg syndrome or snoring. While each of us may have an occasional restless night, a thorough medical evaluation is recommended if the sleeplessness is persistent.

Sleep expert Dr. Sunil Sharma will be a guest speaker at Body Balance Yoga Studio on June 16, 2012. (Check the website for More Info)

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