The Importance of Sleep Studies

The Importance of Sleep Studies

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The Importance of Sleep StudiesWe all know sleeping is important for both our mental and physical health. Unfortunately there are many sleep disorders out there that prevent proper sleep and are detrimental to our health. Oftentimes individuals won’t even know they’re affected by a sleep disorder, but they do indeed afflict millions of people in various ways.  A person who knows they have a sleeping issue should seek help as soon as possible.  Studies can be beneficial and helpful both in the short and long term. The lasting effects of sleeping disorders can potentially be deadly.  During a sleep study, patients undergo tests that record what happens with the body during the sleeping period. Upon conclusion of the sleep study, a physician will be able to prescribe a proper treatment plan. Some tangible items that are recorded are eye movements, fitfulness, breathing patterns, and brain and muscle activity, to name a few.

The Prolonged Effects

Many of us have a sleeping disorder of some kind, but we don’t know that we have them. Most of the time, we just go through a normal day without realizing it, but sooner or later it catches up to us. Experiencing mental and physical weakness, shortness of breath, shortness of patience, paranoia, and less mental acuity are all common symptoms of having a sleep disorder.

It’s extremely difficult for an individual to diagnose a sleep disorder on their own, especially since some of the most telling signs can occur during sleep. However, if someone else brings to your attention your sleep difficulties it can be possible to procure a diagnosis in the early stages of your sleep disorder.  You can set up an appointment at your local sleep clinic or hospital to have a sleep study conducted.

Below are some common sleep disorders that may be afflicting you:

  • Sleep Apnea – This is a common problem caused by blocked airflow, or narrow airways (which is more common than people think).  The result is you periodically stop breathing during sleep for 10 or more seconds.  Proper breathing is absolutely essential in sleeping well and sleeping right.  Left untreated, sleep apnea can potentially lead to fatal cardiovascular conditions.
  • Sleepwalking – Though less common than sleep apnea, sleep walking is a danger not just to yourself, but those around you.  In a sleep walking state, you are not aware of your surroundings and your actions are not controlled.  In most cases, the person who sleepwalks isn’t even aware of it. Believe it or not there are several stages of it ranging from docile to violent. In 2009 there was a documented case of a man in Texas who sleepwalked his way 8 miles from his house.
  • Night Terrors – These are essentially intense nightmares that jar you awake.  They are realistically vivid drams that set your heart pounding in many cases. Some cases of night terrors happen only once every few months, while others have the tendency to happen almost daily.  There are cases where those who suffer night terrors blur the line between reality and dreaming. The terrors can be a result of many things from taking antidepressants or even eating snacks before you go to sleep.
  • Narcolepsy – This is a serious sleep problem because it can hit just about anywhere at any time.  There is an inability of the brain to control sleep and wakefulness, causing it to induce sleep at inappropriate times. You can suddenly fall asleep or have periods of muscle weakness while awake.  In 2011 a high school football player fell asleep in the middle of a game, causing onlookers to think he was seriously injured.

The above sleep disorders are just a handful of the potential sleep issues that can afflict individuals. Lifestyle and hereditary factors can severely influence susceptibility to various disorders, making it important to be aware of the risk factors associated with sleep disorders.

We often take our sleep for granted, but the consequences of missing sleep can be severe.  When you go to a doctor you will get the help you need through testing and close observation. Taking care of your body should be a top priority and it all starts with getting a sleep study.  Sleep studies can quickly reveal abnormalities in your sleep patterns, allowing physicians to diagnose you and provide you with a treatment plan.

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