Updated: Dec 14, 2021
During National Sleep Month, we remind you about the importance of sleep to your overall health. Memorial Hospital has been providing Sleep Diagnostic testing since 1998. Memorial provides services for sleep diagnostic testing and treatment of all sleep disorders, home sleep studies, education on the many sleep disorders and support services for patients with CPAP systems. Sleep is more than a “time out” from your busy routine. Sleep is an important contributor to good health, mental and emotional wellness and safety. When you sleep well, you wake up feeling refreshed, alert and ready for your day. But when sleep is poor, it can have a big impact–not just on your daily routine, but on your health.
Do you find yourself struggling to feel rested? Do you have mood and memory problems?
Sleep apnea affects 18 million Americans—and there are certain characteristics that can put you at a higher risk for the disorder. Look out for these five.
A Higher BMI:While not everyone who is overweight or obese has sleep apnea, carrying around extra weight greatly increases your risk. The reason: Being overweight puts added pressure on your respiratory system, making it harder to breathe at night.
A Large Neck Circumference: Pay special attention if your neck measures 17 inches or greater (for a man) or 16 inches or greater (for a woman) in circumference. The extra weight of a larger neck pushes on the airway while you sleep.
Snoring: Around half of everyone who is a loud snorer has sleep apnea. The sound of snoring is caused by not breathing freely. With sleep apnea, snoring can actually get so bad that it sounds like you’re choking or gasping for air.
Smoking and Alcohol Use: Alcohol can relax the muscles in the throat, which makes it easier for them to become obstructed. Smokers are also at a higher risk for sleep apnea—possibly because the tobacco irritates and inflames the upper airway, causing it to narrow.
A Small Airway:Since sleep apnea occurs when you have trouble breathing at night, having a smaller airway can increase your risk.
If you have a sleep problem that lasts for longer than a week, or if sleepiness is getting in the way of how you feel and function during the day, do something today to address it. Dr. Terry M Brown, DO, is the Sleep Lab Medical Director at Memorial Hospital. He attended and graduated from the University Of Osteopathic Medicine And Health Sciences in 1984, having over 36 years of diverse experience, especially in Sleep Medicine. He is affiliated with many hospitals including Memorial Hospital of Chester, Heartland Regional Medical Center and Massac Memorial Hospital. Contact your Family Physician to discuss your symptoms and schedule a consult with Memorial Hospital’s Sleep Lab.