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Sleep Is Essential

A good night's sleep is getting even more rare these days. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed in a poll by the National Sleep Foundation said that they experience some kind of sleep problem a few times a week. A majority of those report problems such as waking up several times each night and excessive snoring, which may be signs of a sleep disorder.

In recent years, more health care providers have recognized that sleep disorders can be serious health problems that impact an individual's quality of life. If untreated, they can affect a person's work productivity and relationships as well as cause a wide range of health problems, from high blood pressure and heart disease to heartburn and depression. In addition, when people do not get enough sleep, they are less alert while driving, which is a dangerous situation for everyone on the road.

But there still are many who do not recognize the seriousness of sleep disorders. Only 45 percent of those surveyed by the National Sleep Foundation said they would talk to their doctor if they thought they had a sleep disorder. Eighteen percent felt that any sleep problems would resolve on their own, without medical treatment.

Signs of a sleep disorder include:
  • A loud, persistent snore
  • Brief periods of breathing and/or choking or gasping during sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Personality changes/disorders 
  • Depression
  • Frequent night-time urination
  • Muscle spasms and twitching
  • Loss of concentration
  • Morning headaches
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times