Many Americans struggle to get enough sleep. Despite their attempts to do it all, pressure to meet the demands of an active, on-the-go lifestyle may be holding adults back from achieving the type of uninterrupted slumber that leaves them feeling rejuvenated in the morning.
These issues are common, as the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that nearly 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems.
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently conducted an informal sleep survey that compiled data from 1,000 people across the U.S. who chose to participate in the online survey about how much and how well they sleep.
Furthermore, 55 percent of those surveyed indicated that stress prevents them from falling asleep.
Following these simple steps and winding down after a hectic day remain more important to sleep than many may think.
As teenagers return to school, the nightmarish reality of increased homework along with more social demands may make getting a full night sleep just a dream. They may feel trapped for time and feel forced to sacrifice their sleep. Teens may model themselves on their sleep-deprived parents and peers and think they are supposed to get less sleep as they mature. Yet science confirms that making healthy sleep a priority will help teens and their families in many ways. Alternatively, sleep deprivation is associated with serious problems including irritability, learning difficulty, motor vehicle accidents, and increased risk of suicide.
For a maturing teenager, developing an autonomous lifestyle is a matter of choices. When they make a decision, they must weigh what is in it for them. Making sleep a priority is a lifestyle choice that quickly pays off.
By Jerrold Kram, MD, FCCP
Medical Director, California Center For Sleep Disorders
Centuries ago there was a belief that going to sleep was like dying and waking up was coming back to life. It was not until the 1800′s that scientists began to realize that in fact there was brain activity during sleep and not until the 1950′s the fact that there were different stages of sleep during the night was discovered.
We now understand that in fact humans experience 3 different states of existence, wakefulness, Non-REM sleep and REM sleep. Non-REM sleep has 3 different stages and occurs for about 75% of the night, the remainder REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the state where most dreaming takes place. Yet despite our ability to measure these stages of sleep we actually do not know why we need to sleep and the exact purpose of each stage of sleep. We all know we can’t function without sleep but what exactly takes place during that 1/3 or our lives remains unknown.
The Talk About Sleep advocacy mission is to increase sleep disorder awareness in both the public and medical professional communities. This will be achieved by coordinating efforts to “get the word” out through mass media vehicles. Advocacy Services is a highly focused group whose goal is to create global awareness of sleep disorders as a life issue. In general, the Talk About Sleep Advocate is a friend of sleep who disseminates information, motivates groups and influences individuals regarding a wide variety of sleep related issues with the goal of forwarding sleep awareness.
What Is Sleep Advocacy?
National Sleep Foundation/Centers for Disease Control Funding Request
Forty million Americans suffer with debilitating sleep disorders, and surveys show that an additional sixty million people experience sleep difficulties more than once per week. The cost to society is lost productivity, wasted medical resources, and a greatly reduced quality of life.
Even more distressing is the fragmented healthcare market which has had great difficulty in channeling resources back into the medical system to help identify and facilitate the management of the primary sleep problem. The paradigm needs to change. Sleep is not a cost center, but an unrecognized medical illness that, in the case of sleep apnea, will result in twice the consumption of medical resources when compared to a similar person without the sleep disorder.
The statistics are graphic. One hundred deaths per night are contributed to by sleep apnea alone. Three out of four people with Narcolepsy remain undiagnosed. The cost of sleep related traffic accidents exceed $64 billion per year.
From the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic
Talk About Sleep, in conjunction with the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic, is pleased to bring you a photo essay and personal tour to demystify the Sleep Study that your doctor has prescribed for you. To see a detailed view of any of the photos shown below, simply click on the photo.
The Polysomnogram (PSG)
A Sleep Study or Polysomnogram (PSG) is a multiple-component test, which electronically transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. The recordings become data, which will be “read” or analyzed by a qualified physician to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder.
Throughout the tour, we will discuss the many components of a PSG and explain the 4 types of Polysomnographic Studies. They are:
- Diagnostic Overnight PSG - General monitoring and evaluation.
- Diagnostic Daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) - Used to diagnose Narcolepsy and measure the degree of daytime sleepiness.
What Is A Polysomnogram?
Based on the outcome of your initial visit, you may require a polysomnogram. Other terms used for polysomnogram are PSG, sleep study, or sleep test. A night in the sleep center is necessary for evaluation of physical factors affecting sleep, commonly found in Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD), or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
The good news is that a polysomnogram is noninvasive, painless, and lasts no more than a couple of nights. Think of it this way – you’re on your way to a diagnosis and treatment for your sleep problems.
Every sleep center is slightly different – some are private, while others are part of a hospital. In any case, you will be assigned to a testing area, and a private bedroom and bathroom.
One of the most well-known works about sleep is the booklet published by Elizabeth Mitler and Dr. Merrill Mitler. Done in a simple question and answer format, the booklet is entitled 101 Questions About Sleep And Dreams. Talk About Sleep is pleased to offer you the entire text of this material for your use and continuing self-education about sleep.
By William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center
The five billion people living on earth go through the cycle of sleep and wakefulness at least once every 24 hours. Sadly, many, many of these people do not know the joy of being fully rested and alert after their sleep. The alternation of wakefulness and sleep is one of the most fundamental aspects of the human condition.
However, it is only recently, with the advent of highly technological societies, that poor sleep and substandard levels of wakefulness have been of real interest to humans.
Here are our suggestions for your next steps. We call it our New-Patient Toolkit. Follow these links below, in the order listed, and we’ll walk you through the process of getting your sleep problem diagnosed and treated.
Completing the forms below before you visit your doctor might help the doctor with his diagnosis. These require Adobe Acrobat – you can download it for free here.
Need help finding a sleep doctor? We can help you Find a Sleep Center.
Your doctor may want you to have an overnight sleep study, or Polysomnogram, to help determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder and how severe it might be.
This patient summary on sleep disorders is adapted from a summary written for health professionals by cancer experts. This and other credible information about cancer treatment, screening, prevention, supportive care, and ongoing clinical trials is available from the National Cancer Institute. Sleep disorders may be caused by tumor growth, cancer therapy, or other factors. This brief summary describes sleep disorders, their causes and treatment.
Overview of Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders occur in some people with cancer and may be caused by physical illness, pain, treatment drugs, being in the hospital, and emotional stress. Sleep has two phases: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM). REM sleep, also known as “dream sleep,” is the phase of sleep in which the brain is active. NREM is the quiet or restful phase of sleep. The stages of sleep occur in a repeated pattern of NREM followed by REM. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and is repeated 4 to 6 times during a 7- to 8-hour sleep period.