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24/7 World Wrecks Sleep

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Thursday, 28 May 2015 04:14 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The combination of the Internet and our electronic gadgets allows us to be connected 24/7. No matter the time of day where we are, somewhere in the world someone is awake and conducting business or simply chatting.

This situation causes some people to feel they must be awake as long as possible to fit as much activity as they can into their day.

The problem with this way of thinking is that we are eliminating the most important source of refueling and renewal our bodies have — sleep.

A lack of quality sleep is becoming pervasive in our society, leaving us depleted and sick. And this problem is only going to get worse as we age and lose hormones that promote good sleep.

In fact, menopause is often precluded by changes in sleep pattern, insomnia, or waking up in the middle of the night.

Older people have difficulty sleeping, and insomnia and sleep apnea are very common for them. Sleep apnea is breathing stoppages during sleep and is associated with greater risk of diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and premature death.

The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

• Waking up with a sore or dry throat
• Loud snoring
• Sleepiness while driving
• Waking up in the middle of the night choking or gasping
• Sleepiness during the day
• Changes in mood
• Morning headaches
• Forgetfulness
• Loss of interest in sex
• Insomnia and or recurrent awakening

Studies are conducted in specialty labs at academic medical centers to analyze the reasons people suffer with sleep disorders like sleep apnea. During one night a patient spends in the lab, electrodes are attached to her head and a video camera follows the sleep patterns.

Ideally, a person falls asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed and stays asleep for segments of time varying between three to four hours, during which the most restorative and renewing sleep, known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, occurs.

Most people with sleep disorders don’t experience prolonged segments of REM sleep and often don’t even enter that stage. Instead, they sleep in fitful segments of 30 to 45 minutes.

Taking sleeping pills does not boost REM sleep, but does increase the amount of time a person stays asleep.

Continuous oxygen helps people with sleep apnea reach better sleep levels, but not everyone with the disorder needs to use the machine known as CPAP — continuous positive airway pressure — to help them sleep. It pushes air through a mask applied to the face, and the oxygen flow keeps the person from going into cycles of apnea.

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Dr-Schwartz
The combination of the Internet and our electronic gadgets allows us to be connected 24/7. No matter the time of day where we are, somewhere in the world someone is awake and conducting business or simply chatting.
insomnia, apnea, diabetes, heart disease
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2015-14-28
Thursday, 28 May 2015 04:14 PM
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