Sleep Awareness Week

The keys to a healthy lifestyle are eating right, exercise, and what’s the third thing?  Oh yes, sleep. While we give a great deal of attention to the first two, the importance of a good night’s sleep is often overlooked.

Serene woman sleeping at night

March 10th through the 16th  has been designated Sleep Awareness Week and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) want to raise awareness and educate the community about how important sleep is to each and every one of us. While most of us understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, we often do not make sleep a priority.

There are many health benefits that sleep can provide. Sleep aids our heart, brain, lungs, and muscles to function properly.  Additional benefits include:

  • Improved immunity
  • Decreased pain
  • Increased alertness
  • Lower risk of injury
  • Improved memory
  • Better mood

The NSF recommends that adults receive seven to nine hours of sleep each night. They also provide the following tips to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual Try to separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety; a lot of which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Napping may help you during the daybut it can interfere with your ability to sleep at night
  • Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages at least five to six hours before bed.
  • Exercise dailyVigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
  • Evaluate your sleep environmentRemove any noisy distractions, eliminate bright lights and set a comfortable temperature to optimize your sleep.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and  Make sure your mattress is supportive.

If you still have trouble falling asleep or getting a restful night’s sleep, you should speak with your doctor as there may be an underlining medical issue. Jamaica Hospital operates a state-of-the-art sleep center that can help diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders. For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sleep Apnea

America’s expanding waistline may be responsible for another growing problem in our country – sleep apnea. Approximately 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and many of them are overweight or obese. In fact, the most common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in adults is obesity.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep. People with this condition often have trouble staying in a deep sleep because their throats close, blocking their airways. As a result, they partially awaken to start breathing properly. They don’t realize they’re waking up and may become very sleepy during the day.

Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even death. People with sleep apnea are also at an increased risk of work and driving-related accidents, due to inadequate sleep at night.  It’s important that anyone with signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea — especially loud snoring, repeated nighttime awakenings and daytime sleepiness speak with a physician.

Fortunately, sleep apnea is treatable. Making an effort to lose weight is the best way to help people sleep better. Recent studies have proven that weight loss can significantly improve and potentially eliminate obstructive sleep apnea symptoms in obese individuals. If, however, weight loss attempts are not successful, a common and effective treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), where patients wear a mask connected to a machine that blows air into the throat, keeping it open while they sleep at night.

If you believe that you have sleep apnea, it is imperative that you get tested. Speak with your doctor and request a referral to a sleep center so experts can perform an overnight sleep study. Jamaica Hospital operates a three-bed, fully private, sleep center. For more information, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)

If you work outside of normal daytime hours such as evening shifts, night shifts, rotating shifts or swing shifts, you may be at greater risk for developing shift work sleep disorder (SWSD).

SWSD is a sleep disorder that disrupts the circadian rhythm of an individual.

Your circadian rhythm is often called a “body clock.” It is a cycle that lets our bodies know when to rise, sleep, and eat.

More than 15 million people in the United States work various types of shifts. Some are better able than others to adjust to working irregular hours, but for those that are unable to adjust, SWSD can become a major factor in lessening their quality of life.

Some symptoms of sleep shift disorder are:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Increase risk of making mistakes and having accidents

SWSD can also have adverse effects on your health. Chronic sleep shift disorder can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive issues and depression.

If you are a shift worker with irregular hours there are some treatment measures that can help:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Keep a healthy diet
  • Keep your sleep area dark with black out drapes or use a sleep mask
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least three hours before bedtime
  • Put away digital devices. The light from your device can play tricks on your brain, making it think it is daylight
  • If possible, take a 10-20 min nap during your shift

If none of the above treatment options seem to help you adjust to your irregular work schedules, you might want to consider contacting a sleep clinic. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s has a state-of-the-art Sleep Center. Call 718-206-5916 for more information or to make an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Too Much Sleep Be Bad For Your Health?

“You have to get enough sleep if you want to stay healthy.” It’s a common phrase that emphasizes how important getting enough sleep is to our overall well-being. So if sleep is that important, it would make sense that the more we get of it, the better we will feel. However, the idea that there is no such thing as getting “too much sleep” is one that is totally wrong.  In fact, chronic oversleeping can lead to a wide variety of health issues.

While the recommended amount of sleep for adults varies based on age, activity level, and lifestyle habits, generally speaking, most adults should get an average of between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.  Sure, it’s okay to sleep in a little late on the weekends, but if you find yourself requiring over nine hours of sleep on a consistent basis, or feel that you don’t feel well–rested when you don’t, it may be a sign of a another issue.

For some, oversleeping could be due to a condition known as hypersomnia, which causes people to require unusually long periods of sleep at night and suffer from extreme sleepiness throughout the day.  Those with hypersomnia also have low levels of energy, experience problems remembering things and do not feel recharged from a nap like the rest of us do.

Hypersomnia is not the only reason one might require extra sleep. Other reasons may include the use of certain substances, such as alcohol or some prescription medications. Obstructive sleep apnea may also be another reason why someone needs more sleep as those with this condition have their sleep cycles obstructed, making them feel less rested.  Lastly, depression is another leading cause for oversleep in many individuals as those who are clinically depressed are more lethargic and more likely to want to stay in bed.

Regardless of the reason why someone sleeps too much, the condition needs to be addressed as studies have indicated that oversleep can lead to many other health problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Headaches
  • Back Pain
  • Depression
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Fertility Issues

In addition to, or perhaps as a result of these other issues, those who oversleep have been found to have higher death rates than people who sleep seven to nine hours a night.

If you are oversleeping, it is important to address the reason why. If it is caused by alcohol or prescription medications, look to cut back or eliminate those substances from your daily routine. If you think you are oversleeping due to depression seek help from a mental health professional. Likewise, if you have been diagnosed with hypersomnia or another medical condition, treating the disorder may help you return to a normal night’s sleep.

You should also look to ensure that the sleep you get is restful by practicing good sleep habits. Try to establish a set bedtime and wake-up time, avoid eating a heavy meal or consuming caffeine before bed, and maintain a comfortable sleep environment. Exercising before bed can also help you relax and fall asleep easier.

Jamaica Hospital offers a comprehensive sleep center, which diagnoses and treats a wide variety of sleep disorders.  If you believe you require too much sleep, we can help you figure out why. To make an appointment at our Sleep Center, call 718-206-5916.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Power Napping

It has been proven that taking a power nap during the day has many benefits. A nap can lower blood pressure and also reduce the level of stress.

Research has shown that the benefits of a midday power nap are determined by the length of the time a person spends napping. A nap that lasts 20 minutes will help alertness and will also increase motor function. Naps that last 30 to 60 minutes will improve decision-making skills, and a nap that lasts 60 to 90 minutes will improve the ability to solve creative problems. Most people will only be able to take a short nap. A person who naps longer than 20 or 30 minutes runs the risk of waking up and feeling groggy.

If your typical day starts at 7:00 AM and you go to bed for the night around 11:00 PM, then napping between 1:30 and 3:00 PM is when you will benefit from a power nap the most.

If you are having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, specialists at Jamaica Hospital’s Sleep Center can conduct sleep studies to help determine the causes of your sleep deprivation. To schedule an appointment for an evaluation, please call 718-206-5916

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Holiday Stress Affects Sleep

There are countless things we need to get done during the holidays. In our minds, we are constantly checking off items on our lists and thinking about future tasks to tackle.  Often our stress levels increase as a result of trying to juggle it all.

Elevated stress levels can have a negative effect on our health, specifically our quality of sleep. Stress causes many people to lose hours of much-needed rest, as they lie in bed worrying. Lack of sleep, in the short term, can affect concentration, mood, and increases the risk of serious accidents and injury. Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Getting a good night’s sleep can reduce the effects of stress. Here are a few tips to help you manage holiday stress and get some rest:

  • Eat a healthy diet- During the holidays we tend to indulge in foods that are unhealthy. Foods that are rich in fat and sugar can make us feel lethargic and make our bodies less capable of combatting stress. Additionally, what you eat during the day can affect how you sleep at night. High- fat and high-sugar meals can lead to indigestion and a night of tossing and turning.
  • Delegate responsibilities- Sometimes our holiday to-do lists are overwhelming. Ask friends and family to help you by taking some of your responsibilities off your plate.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques- Practicing techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help you to relax and improve sleep.
  • Exercise- All forms of exercise help the brain to release feel-good hormones such as endorphins which can help combat stress.  Studies have shown that exercise also improves sleep.

The holidays are a busy time of year; however, it is highly advised that you carve out time to get adequate sleep.  Getting your daily recommended amount of sleep not only helps you to reduce stress but also benefits your overall health.  If a lack of sleep is affecting your health, you should speak with your doctor. To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital, please call, 718-206-5916.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)

If you work outside of normal daytime hours such as evening shifts, night shifts, rotating shifts or swing shifts, you may be at greater risk for developing shift work sleep disorder (SWSD).

SWSD is a sleep disorder that disrupts the circadian rhythm of an individual.

Your circadian rhythm is often called a “body clock.” It is a cycle that lets our bodies know when to rise, sleep, and eat.

More than 15 million people in the United States work various types of shifts. Some are better able than others to adjust to working irregular hours, but for those that are unable to adjust, SWSD can become a major factor in lessening their quality of life.

Some symptoms of sleep shift disorder are:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Increase risk of making mistakes and having accidents

SWSD can also have adverse effects on your health. Chronic sleep shift disorder can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive issues and depression.

If you are a shift worker with irregular hours there are some treatment measures that can help:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Keep a healthy diet
  • Keep your sleep area dark with black out drapes or use a sleep mask
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least three hours before bedtime
  • Put away digital devices. The light from your device can play tricks on your brain, making it think it is daylight
  • If possible, take a 10-20 min nap during your shift

If none of the above treatment options seem to help you adjust to your irregular work schedules, you might want to consider contacting a sleep clinic. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s has a state-of-the-art Sleep Center. Call 718-206-5916 for more information or to make an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do You Need More Or Less Sleep As You Get Older?

Research indicates that as you get older, you will need less sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following hours for each age group:

• Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

• Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

• Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

• Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours

• School-age children (6-13): to 9-11 hours

• Teenagers (14-17): to 8-10 hours

• Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

• Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours

• Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

It was also found that adults tend to take longer to doze off, sleep more lightly and wake up more often during the night than children and adolescents.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jet Lag and Sleep

jet lag Jet lag can profoundly affect sleep and alertness.  This sleep disorder occurs when your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythms), which tells you when to sleep, becomes imbalanced after traveling to different time zones.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, when a person travels to a new time zone their “circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it’s actually the middle of the afternoon, or it makes us want to stay awake when it is late at night.”

Jet lag can lead to daytime fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, mood changes, a general unwell feeling, headaches, mild depression, insomnia and difficulty staying alert and concentrating.   These symptoms generally appear within a day or two of travel and can worsen the longer you travel and the more time zones you cross.

There are several ways to combat or minimize the effects of jet lag.  Here are a few you can try:

  • Avoid alcohol the day before your flight and during your flight.
  • Get plenty of rest before you fly.
  • Avoid caffeine or other caffeinated beverages before or while traveling.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Wear sunglasses during your flight.
  • Move around the plane on long flights.
  • Adapt immediately to the schedule of your destination. While it may be tempting to sleep during the day after your arrival, it is advised that you stay up and active and expose your body to sunlight.
  • Avoid heavy meals upon arrival to your destination.

Symptoms of jet lag are mostly temporary and typically last a few days; however, if you are a frequent flyer they may become more severe. You can speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist who may recommend treatments such as light therapy, melatonin supplements or prescription medication.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718- 206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Immune System?

Hispanic girl lying on her mother's lap

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system, but how? Studies show that people that don’t get quality sleep or enough hours of sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus like the flu. The recovery time from a cold is also prolonged as a result of not getting enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation may decrease production of the amount of infection-fighting antibodies and cells that strengthen the immune system. Essentially our bodies need sleep to fight infectious diseases and recover faster from common cold viruses.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

It’s very common to be told to get some rest when fighting off a cold or infection. Now we know why. As we move through cold and flu season, the key to staying healthy might just be getting a good night’s sleep.

However sleep does not always come easy to everyone. If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble with their sleep patterns, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Sleep Center is available to treat you. This state-of-the-art Sleep Center is a 4-bed unit that features comfortable, homelike rooms with sound proof walls for total privacy. For more information please call, 718-206-5916.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.