Hendricks Regional Health Blog

FAQs About Sleep and Your Health

Posted by: Eric DeWeese, MD   |   Friday, August 2, 2013   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog

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As a physician specializing in sleep disorders, I often have the opportunity to talk with patients about their sleep health. I am sometimes surprised about the misconceptions out there about sleep. Here are accurate answers to some of the most common questions.

Why is sleep important?
Sleep is essential to physical and emotional health. Adequate sleep may also play a role in helping the body recover from illness and injury. Getting inadequate or poor sleep over a long period of time is associated with chronic medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Those who have trouble getting enough sleep may report impaired memory and cognitive skills. And even occasional sleep problems can make daily life feel more stressful and less productive.

Consider these facts from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Drowsy drivers take the blame for at least 100,000 police-reported crashes in the U.S. annually.
  • At least 40 million Americans report having sleep difficulties. Sixty percent of adults in the U.S. have never been asked about their sleep quality by a doctor, and 20 percent have never asked their doctors for sleep information.
  • Sleep problems increase with aging.
  • Health care expenses and lost productivity from sleep deprivation cost approximately 100 billion dollars a year.

How much sleep is needed?
Although sleep needs vary from person to person, generally, most healthy adults need no more than seven to nine hours of sleep a night. If you have some of the following problems, you may need more sleep, or a better quality of sleep, than you are getting:

  • Trouble staying alert during boring or monotonous activities
  • Tendency to be unreasonably irritable with coworkers, family, or friends
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering facts

What are the different types of sleep problems?
There are many types of sleep problems. In fact, the Hendricks Regional Health Sleep Disorders Center can diagnose, manage and treat 60 different types of sleep disorders. These problems range from staying awake or having a regular sleep/wake cycle to sleepwalking, nightmares, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, snoring, and sleep apnea.

When should I see a doctor about my sleep issues?
It is important to know that sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can be evaluated and treated. Thatís why it is crucial to get medical help if you experience symptoms of any sleep disorder including excessive sleepiness during the day, loud snoring, difficulty falling or staying asleep, headaches during sleep or upon waking, nightmares or hallucinations when falling asleep, leg jerking, or even vigorous or violent movements while dreaming.

How are sleep problems evaluated?
Hendricks Regional Health Sleep Disorders Center uses advanced equipment to determine the cause of a personís sleep disorder and how it can be treated. During a sleep study, brainwave activity, breathing patterns, heart rate and oxygen levels are closely monitored and evaluated.

What kind of doctor treats sleep disorders?
At Hendricks Regional Health, sleep disorders are diagnosed and treated by board-certified sleep medicine specialists. Our Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, ensuring the highest quality of medical care for those with a problem related to sleep or daytime alertness.

Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your sleep. Or, contact the Hendricks Regional Health Sleep Disorders Center at (317) 745-3680 to schedule an appointment or get your questions answered by a Sleep Specialist.

Eric DeWeese, MD, is located at Hendricks Pulmonary Medicine and the Hendricks Regional Health Sleep Disorders Center. He is board-certified in Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine and Internal Medicine.

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