Restful sleep is incredibly important to your overall health. But is sleep one of the first things that you sacrifice for the sake of your to-do list? If so, you’re with a third of Americans who sleep less than the recommended seven to ten hours a night.
Waking up in the night, daytime fatigue, and snoring are becoming more common, yet with less sleeping disorders diagnosed. And while snoring may seem like just another regular, annoying phenomenon, it could be pointing to a more significant health issue.
Risks for Sleep Disorders
Many of the risks for sleep disorders have become normalized in today’s culture, such as sleeplessness and snoring. It’s important to note that many things could cause snoring, including being overweight, drinking alcohol, sleep position, and nasal problems. Snoring is also more common in men. Not all people who snore have a sleep disorder, but a majority of people with sleep disorders do snore.
Taking note of your potential risk factors enhances your awareness of your sleep patterns. Answering the following questions could help you discern if you should see a doctor.
Do you snore?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48% of people in the U.S. reported snoring problems in the last year. If you are a snorer, you not only disrupt the sleep patterns of those close to you, but you also impair your sleep quality. Habitual snoring is a typical symptom of disrupted sleep patterns.
Do you wake up feeling tired even though you slept all night?
Excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and difficulty concentrating can all point to a poor night’s sleep due to a sleep disorder.
Do you suddenly wake up gasping for air during the night? Or, have you been told that you stop breathing while sleeping?
Sleep apnea is characterized by loud snoring and short periods of silence when breathing seems to have stopped. If you or your partner has noticed this symptom in you, it’s time to visit a doctor.
Do you have high blood pressure?
During sleep apnea, your blood oxygen levels experience sudden drops that increase your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure or other heart problems, sleep disorders can heighten your risk for heart failure and heart attack.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be at risk of a sleep disorder.
The most common sleep disorder associated with snoring is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common, treatable sleep disorder that can have serious consequences such as heart attack, stroke, and acid reflux if left untreated. Other sleep disorders that may be prevalent are:
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
- Periodic Limb Movements (PLMD)
Scheduling an appointment with your physician is the best practical step to take if you want to learn more about sleep disorders.
50 to 70 million people suffer from one or several sleep disorders, while an estimated 10 million people in the United States remain undiagnosed. Sleep disorders can be severe medical conditions that you should take seriously.
If you feel like you may have a sleep disorder, the first step is scheduling an appointment with your physician. If you are at risk, your physician will evaluate you for a sleep study.
A sleep study is a non-invasive procedure to monitor your sleep patterns and sleep behavior to determine if there are any abnormalities. Your sleep study will consist of evaluating your brain activity, heart rhythm, muscle tone and movement, airflow, respiratory effort, and oxygen saturation.
Participating in a sleep study will give you and your physician valuable information and more conclusive evidence about your sleep patterns, symptoms, and potential sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders are increasingly common, and often go undiagnosed. Take the time to meet with your trusted physician to learn about how your snoring could be affecting your health and your life.
If you experience these or any other sleep-related symptoms, call 205-996-WEST to schedule an appointment for an evaluation with a UAB Medical West provider. We are here to serve the communities of Hoover, Bessemer, McCalla, and Vance, and more!