Do you feel stressed, overworked, or too old for your age? You may have a sleep disorder. Research and history show us that many serious medical problems have been worsened or even caused by sleep disorders. According to research, over 70 million people in the United States are affected by a sleep problem. But only about 10 percent of people are actually being treated. Even if you think your sleep is normal, it is impossible to understand how and why improper sleep is affecting your health without the proper testing and evaluation.
Common Sleep Myths
- “I don’t snore so I don’t have a sleep disorder.”
- “I sleep all the way through the night without waking up.”
- “I get my 7 to 8 hours of sleep and that’s enough.”
- “I wake up feeling rested knowing I had a good night’s sleep.”
- “Sleep just isn’t as important as diet and exercise.”
- “My grandpa died of a stroke during his sleep so how could a sleep disorder have caused that?”
- “I get really tired during the day but who doesn’t?”
- “My child snores; he just needs to have a tonsillectomy.”
- “I just went through several traumatic experiences and my depression stems from that. Not from a sleep disorder.”
- “The only reason I’m not sleeping is because of my medication.”
- “I don’t have a sleep disorder. It’s just stress and getting older.”
- “I sleep well about 50% of the time, so that’s good enough.”
- “My health problems are hereditary and couldn’t be sleep-related.”
- “How could a sleep disorder affect my weight?”
- “The only way to lower my blood pressure is to eat right, exercise and take proper medication.”
- “I always wake up for a midnight snack, it’s just part of my routine.”
The only person who can truly make a judgment call on whether or not you are suffering from a sleep disorder, or combination of sleep disorders, is a board certified, fellowship trained sleep physician. In addition, Dr. Barker has 30 years’ experience as one of them leading practicing sleep specialists in the country. Sleep problems are serious and can cause dangerous medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, stroke, and even sudden death. In the past century, we have reduced our average time in sleep. Though our society has changed, our brains and bodies have not. Sleep deprivation is affecting us all, and we are paying the price.
When we sleep properly, many things are happening within our body. Our immune system is getting a boost, our nervous system is getting repaired, and essential hormones are being released, so that not only can we wake up feeling refreshed, alert, and ready to face daily challenges, but our bodies can fight off deadly, debilitating diseases and illnesses. When we don’t get the right kind of sleep, every part of our lives can suffer. Our jobs, relationships, productivity, overall health, and safety (and that of those around us) are all put at risk.
The importance of sleep and sleep disorder therapy has become widely recognized as vital to health and safety. Testing and treating numerous sleep problems is a complex process. There are more than 100 sleep disorders, and many can be difficult to diagnose or may have multiple causes. Because diagnosing and treating sleep disorders is an intricate process, it is crucial that patients be seen by a board certified sleep physician and at an experienced, accredited sleep program.