We test our eyes, our hearing; we get yearly dental cleanings, and physical exams. Why don?t we test our sleep?
Sleep ? it?s the one thing that both the medical field and consumers both agree on. We need it, we want it, and we wish we had more of it. Many consumers feel that desire to go right back to bed as soon as they get up in the morning, thinking more time in bed would solve their fatigue and exhaustion. Recently I sat down with owner of Lion Sleep Laboratories, Keith Martin, to get the skinny on sleep.
Wikipedia?s points out that during sleep, most systems in a person are in a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems. A sleep disorder is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning.
Jen: Why do most people complain about poor sleep?
Keith: In general we are not resting as soundly because most people sit for prolonged periods of time when they are at work or home. Years ago many were in physically demanding job that helped keep them active and at a healthy body weight and allowed for more restful sleep. Now we have between 84-86 total sleep disorders.
Jen: Wow ? I had no idea that many even existed.
Keith: Yes, but 90% of people fall into sleep apnea disorder. Which is a type of sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep.
Jen: Basically ? you stop breathing or you lose the ability to breath while you sleep?
Keith: Yes, and interestingly enough, early on sleep apnea went undiagnosed. People simply passed away in their sleep out of no-where and most of them were cases of sleep apnea. The other most common sleep disorder that people are familiar with is insomnia. All of us have suffered from insomnia at some point in our life. You could have worked out too hard, your muscles are really sore and you are uncomfortable when you try and rest, you drank some caffeine you shouldn?t have, eat a heavy meal before bed, stress at work, stress in a relationship, etc.
Jen: What is it about sleep apnea that is capturing 90% of people being tested?
Keith: There are 2 major factors that contribute to sleep apnea. First, an increase in BMI second elevated blood pressure. BMI stands for Body Mass Index, which is your mass (weight) to your height ratio. With modern society elevated BMI?s are more prevalent than ever as are elevated blood pressures and these are the 2 keys to developing sleep apnea.
Jen: Develop? So is sleep apnea reversible?
Keith: Absolutely ? lifestyle changes can reverse sleep apnea since most sleep apneas are benign.
Jen: I see, so for people who have either of those 2 indictors should they be tested for a sleep disorder? If so, how?
Keith: Yes, that is correct. We would perform a sleep study to determine if a sleep disorder is detected. In many cases it is.
Jen: What outlets are available to conduct a sleep study?
Keith: You have private sleep labs and you have your hospitals. The biggest difference between private sleep study labs like Lions Sleep Laboratories and your hospitals are the costs involved. Private sleep labs are often 3 times less expensive than hospitals. The issue most people face is they are not aware they would benefit from a sleep study until some other complications land them in the hospital. Once in the hospital the physicians order a sleep study and you end up paying 3 times what you should have. Anytime you end up in the hospital you will see tests costs significantly higher than if you had them performed in the private sector.
Jen: I see, why do you think people find themselves in that predicament?
Keith: Often we do not think of sleep as a measuring stick for our health but we should. Just like blood pressure, BMI, heart rate, sleep is a measuring stick on your current health. For people who currently suffer from an elevated BMI &/or high blood pressure they should be getting tested.
Jen: It seems like most people I know who suffer from sleep apnea are men. Any thoughts to why?
Keith: Education on our genetics for one. It takes much more for women to show an increase in blood pressure and other health indictors than men as a direct result to elevated weight. Strictly studying and consulting our genetic codes, men were built to hunt and gather, to fight and protect. They were genetically built to be leaner so they could travel, climb, etc. While women were genetically built to bear children. They were meant to naturally carry more weight for longer periods of time through the childbearing process. Naturally they have a pre-disposition to carry more fat than men. Because their body was designed to handle the load, when they are tested for sleep apnea the results that come back on women will often show a low rating, ?especially when compared to a men?s rating on the same test. I argue that any indictor should be considered especially for women. To wait until they test at the same extreme as a man is putting the same standard on a different genetic code.
Jen: So for a female who tests for a sleep disorder her results may not sound the alarm as much as a man with similar BMI and blood pressure indicators.
Keith: Yes, the message has been that men are a bigger concern when in reality the male to female genetic differences are not always being considered when the test results come in. It is why I personally feel women are going undiagnosed and left untreated until their health declines further.
Jen: If someone is diagnosed with sleep apnea and they do not want to sleep with a mask on the rest of their life do they have options?
Keith: Absolutely. If a low dose of blood pressure medication is prescribed it is often an indicator of diet, exercise, and sleep concerns. That low dose prescription is a red flag for the individual. Sleep apnea is another red flag to make lifestyle changes. As they accomplish better nutrition and activity then the sleep apnea is often reversed.
If you are tired of being tired our call to action to you today is to ask yourself:
1)??? Do I have an elevated BMI?
2)??? Do I have hypertension?
If you answered yes to any either of these questions consider contacting Lion Sleep Laboratories or another private sleep lab in your area to schedule a sleep test today. To learn more about Keith Martin and Lion Sleep Laboratories please visit them at www.lionsleeplab.com.