Do You Have A Sleep Disorder?

Man lying in bed struggling to fall asleep

By: Rebecca Purnell, PA-C

Each night millions of people in the U.S. struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that 10% of adults in the U.S. have a chronic insomnia disorder (i.e. problems with sleep a minimum of three nights per week for three months or longer). Unfortunately, sleep disorders have worsened this year due to individuals struggling with anxiety and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sleep Hygiene Tips

One way to improve your sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene. Some sleep hygiene tips include:

  • Make sleep a priorityGo to bed when you are sleepy
  • Maintain a comfortable cool bedroom temperature and minimize exposure to noise and light
  • Avoid computer and cellphone screens within 2 hours of bedtime (or use blue-blocker glasses)
  • Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, or alcohol before bedtime
  • Exercise regularly, but not 2 hours before bedtime
  • Try physical/mental relaxation techniques
  • Avoid late afternoon or evening napsEstablish a regular wake time schedule

How Do I know If I Have A Sleep Disorder?

If you have tried to improve your sleep hygiene, but are still struggling with getting good night’s sleep, you may have a sleep disorder. Often, the symptoms and signs of a sleep disorder are misdiagnosed. A quick way to assess whether you may have a disorder is to answer the questions below. If you answer “yes” to any question, this may be an indicator that you have a sleep disorder.

  • Have you been told by a friend or family member that you snore?
  • Do you often feel tired or have headaches upon awakening?
  • Do you have daytime fatigue or sleepiness?
  • Have you been told you stop breathing during sleep?
  • Do you fall asleep sitting, reading, watching TV or driving?
  • Do you have issues with memory or concentration?
  • Do you have hypertension, weight gain, heart issues?

Common sleep disorders include: obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking, central sleep apnea, nightmare disorders, sleepwalking, teeth grinding, sleep-wake cycle disruptions.

Living with a sleep disorder can negatively impact other areas of your health. If left untreated, sleep disorders can cause heart problems, obesity, hypertension, and memory issues. The good news is that sleep disorders can be treated, and often without the use of prescription medicine. CPAP and BiPAP machines, improved sleep hygiene, alternative medicine, and mental health counseling are often solutions for sleep disorders.

Seeking Help For A Sleep Disorder

Broadlawns Sleep, Lung, and Allergy Center is here to help. Our team of providers, certified in both adult and pediatric sleep medicine, are able to diagnose your sleep disorder and improve your sleep.

One common first step to securing restful sleep is participating in a sleep study. This would require you to use a home sleep study device, or to stay overnight in the sleep clinic, while data is collected to help develop a diagnosis and treatment plan. A sleep study is the best way to test for sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy.

Broadlawns also offers a Clinical Sleep Training Program where a licensed therapist will help improve your sleep through exploration of thoughts and beliefs about sleep, lifestyle habits that may be working against you, and relaxation practices.

To stop letting a sleep disorder keep you up at night and start getting a more restful night of sleep, contact the Broadlawns Sleep, Lung, and Allergy Center at (515) 282-4015. Specialized treatment from sleep medicine professionals can improve your sleep, increase your energy, and change your life.