Up at Night?

A sleep disorder may be to blame.

Is Mr. Sandman ignoring you? Many people have trouble sleeping from time to time, but if the problem is lingering night after night, you may have a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are conditions that affect how well and how much you sleep.

Struggling through the day with less sleep isn’t the answer – insufficient sleep is a serious problem that can take a toll on nearly every aspect of your daily life. Research has linked sleep deprivation to car accidents, relationship issues, poor job performance, work-related injuries, memory lapses and mood disorders. Studies also suggest sleep disorders may contribute to health problems such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Poor bedtime habits, such as coffee too late in the afternoon, eating heavy foods before bed or falling asleep with the TV on could be to blame. However, sometimes medical problems that disrupt your sleep cycle are the culprit.

When to call the doctor

There are steps you can take to combat sleep disorders on your own, but some situations require medical attention. Call your doctor if you snore loudly or gasp during sleep, if you think a medical condition is keeping you up at night, if you’re tired all the time or if you fall asleep during daytime activities. Your doctor can recommend a sleep study to get you back to snoozing well.

Sleep studies analyze your body’s sleep patterns throughout the night. This involves the placement of special sensors that record the activity of your heart, lungs, brain and muscles during the study. The sensors also monitor the air flow from your nose and mouth, as well as the level of oxygen in your blood.

Most sleep disorders are easily treated and can greatly improve your quality of life. Sleep studies are usually covered by insurance as an outpatient procedure and is completed with a short stay in the sleep lab.