Saturday, May 24, 2008

Piedmont Fayette Hospital Encourages the Community to Catch More Zzz’s

The standard 8-hour business day is no longer the norm in America, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) 2008 Sleep in America poll. The poll reports the average American’s work day is now nine hours and 28 minutes, while the average time spent in bed is six hours and 55 minutes – with six hours and 40 minutes spent actually sleeping. NSF recommends getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. May is Better Sleep Month, and Piedmont Fayette Hospital encourages anyone concerned about their sleep habits to contact their physician.

There are more than 80 different forms of sleep disorders affecting people of all ages, and more than 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. NSF found that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are estimated to cost Americans more than $100 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property and environmental damage. Common symptoms of sleep disorders to be aware of are daytime fatigue, inability to sleep for long periods of time, and breathing difficulties during sleep.

“Everyone’s sleep needs are different, so when patients ask me how many hours of sleep they should get each night, I tell them sleep needs are individual and not only do different age groups need different amounts of sleep, but the amount of sleep one person needs to function best may be different than for someone else who is the same age and gender,” said Connie White-Daniel, RPSGT, clinical manager of the Piedmont Fayette Hospital Sleep Center.

According to NSF some of the biggest “sleep stealers” are stress, jet lag, shift work, lifestyle stressors, such as drinking alcohol and exercising close to bedtime, environmental interferences such as temperature or noise, physical factors, such as arthritis or back pain, and medications. Some tips for getting good sleep include:

· Avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.
· Exercising regularly, at least three hours before bedtime.
· Only using the bed for sleep.
· Establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine to “signal” the brain it is time to sleep.
· Avoiding napping during the day if having trouble sleeping at night.

Some of the more common sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea and snoring. Insomnia is an experience of inadequate or poor quality sleep as characterized by one or more of the following sleep complaints: difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep and waking too early in the morning. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep and can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. Snoring is defined as “breathing during sleep with hoarse or harsh sounds as caused by the vibrating of the soft palate.” Snoring can be a marker of sleep apnea, a risk factor for vascular complications such as hypertension, and it may lead to daytime dysfunction due to the fragmented sleep resulting from snoring.

The Piedmont Fayette Hospital Sleep Center is currently a four-bed sleep center expanding to six beds in late June and is the only hospital-based sleep center in the county that provides full-service diagnostic capabilities for people with sleep disorders. An experienced, multidisciplinary team of doctors, sleep technologists and other sleep disorder specialists provide total and comprehensive care for adults and children who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea and other sleep-related conditions. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing problems related to sleep or for more information call the Sleep Center at 770-719-6031 or visit

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