Nearly one in three adults sleep six hours or less each night of the work week; however, the National Sleep Foundation says average adults need about eight hours a night. Despite efforts to get those extra hours in, millions of Americans still have problems feeling awake and refreshed in the morning.
The Sleep Disorders Center at North Florida Regional Medical Center helps people learn more about the benefits of adequate sleep, the symptoms of sleep disorders and how they can be helped.
“Signs of sleep disorders can be anything from snoring and restless legs at night to excessive drowsiness during the day,” says Peter B. McCullagh, director of the center.
As sleep deprivation mounts, people become less alert, more irritable and more prone to accidents and injuries at home or in the workplace. When the time change approaches, the risk of accidents and injury is greater, McCullagh says.
Anyone who thinks they are affected by sleep disturbances can talk to sleep professionals to help improve their quality of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of people affected by sleep disorders remain undiagnosed. The sleep center was designed to pinpoint sleep disorders while they occur – as patients are sleeping.
Bedrooms in the lab look as if they belong in someone’s home, and the staff tries to make them as comfortable as possible for patients sleeping out of their regular environment.
Prior to their stay, patients answer questions and are screened by physicians to determine what their sleep experiences feel like to them. During the night, technicians monitor brain wave activity, blood pressure, heart rhythms and muscle tone. Eye movement and leg and chest movement also is watched closely.
Patients usually spend one night – or whenever their regular hours of sleep occur - and then work with Sleep Lab staff on ways to solve their sleep problems at home.
One Sleep Lab patient says getting treatment for her sleep disorder not only improved the quality of her sleep, but the quality of her life as well.
Gainesville legal assistant J.M. Mott would wake up exhausted after terrible nightmares and was ready to give up driving because she felt so tired during the day.
“I know life is busy, but I just kept feeling worse. I would wake up exhausted and hurting all over,” Mott says. “I was even disturbing my husband’s sleep.”
She went to see her doctor, but her sleep problems maintained. She then was recommended to the Sleep Disorders Center at North Florida Regional.
“By that time, I was really sick and would do anything it took,” she says. “I stayed at the sleep center one night and began treatment as soon as possible.”
Although at first she was unsure of sleeping in the lab, Mott says it was very comfortable and “homey.” Today, she recommends family and friends, and anyone affected by sleep disorders, to visit the Sleep Lab.
“No matter what it took, they worked with me until I felt better,” she says.
For more information on the Sleep Disorders Center, please call (352) 333-5236