In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s natural to cut corners and rejigger priorities. However, if you’re playing that game with your sleep, it could be working against you.
Studies show that most adults need 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Yet, nearly 30% get less than 6 hours day after day. On top of that, 35% of Americans report their sleep as “poor” or “only fair.”
So, how do you know if you need a sleep test?
Dr. Nehal Mehta and Dr. Prashant Patel specialize in sleep medicine at Respacare in Bridgewater, New Jersey. If you answer yes to any of these questions, they recommend scheduling a consultation to learn more.
1. Do you fight to fall — or stay — asleep?
More than 50 million Americans live with chronic sleep disorders. There are over 80 of these conditions, but the most common one is insomnia.
People diagnosed with insomnia struggle to fall or stay asleep at least three times each week for at least three months.
In some cases, you can ease insomnia symptoms by improving sleep habits, such as:
- Making and sticking to a sleep schedule
- Avoiding daytime naps
- Exercising regularly
- Creating a relaxing sleep environment
- Avoiding alcohol and heavy meals before rest
- Adding calming activities to your pre-sleep routine
If you continue struggling to fall or stay asleep, it’s time to schedule a sleep study.
2. Does your snoring wake you — or others — up?
Another common sign of a sleep disorder involves snoring, gasping, or choking while asleep. This symptom occurs when the airway gets blocked, making it difficult to breathe.
One of the most serious sleep disorders associated with snoring is sleep apnea. This breathing disorder causes the cardiovascular system to work harder than necessary to ensure the body gets the oxygen it needs to thrive.
Without treatment, this sleep disorder increases your risk of numerous health complications, including Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, and even shortened lifespan.
Don’t know if your snoring or breathing is a problem? Other signs of this issue include waking up with a dry mouth or headache.
3. Do you suffer from daytime fatigue?
While it’s normal to need a nap from time to time, struggling with daytime sleepiness ongoing is often a sign of an issue.
If you think you’re getting enough sleep each night but still wake up exhausted, it could indicate poor sleep quality.
Similarly, if you can’t fight the urge to sleep or lapse into sleep several times throughout the day, it’s time to schedule a sleep study.
Several sleep disorders can leave you feeling exhausted throughout the day. And conditions like narcolepsy cause an irrepressible need to sleep.
4. Do you have weird sensations in your legs?
Do you ever find yourself with an uncontrollable need to move your legs? Do they ever have a strange crawling, tingling, burning, creeping, or itching sensation?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) may not seem like a sleep disorder, but it’s often worse in the evenings or at night — which can significantly disrupt sleep.
RLS can cause issues on both sides of the body and sometimes even affect the arms. If you experience unpleasant sensations in your limbs that are difficult to control or describe, a sleep study could help.
5. Do you have problems focusing or paying attention?
Finally, sleep may seem like wasted time in your busy schedule, but it’s essential for healthy brain function.
While you sleep, your brain goes through three distinct cycles. During each stage, different chemicals get activated or deactivated to coordinate the rest and recovery process.
Without enough quality sleep, the brain struggles to function. Neurons get overworked and can’t perform as well.
If this becomes a chronic issue, it’s common to see an ongoing negative effect with focus, even when performing simple daily tasks. It also increases the likelihood of cognitive decline and dementia in the future.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Sleep has direct links to numerous issues, from heart disease and diabetes to personality changes like irritability.
Disturbed sleep can also indicate medical and neurological conditions like osteoarthritis, congestive heart failure, and even Parkinson’s disease.
Diagnosing sleep disorders
Fortunately, our team can diagnose and treat sleep disorders at Respacare — the first step is scheduling a consultation.
If you have questions or concerns about your sleep quality, we can recommend the best course of action.
Could you need a sleep study? Contact Respacare by calling 732-356-9950 or requesting a visit online with one of our experts today.