HEALTH NEWS UPDATE - End of Daylight Savings Time and Sleep Disruptions: How to Tell When Its Serious

Sleep is one of the key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle - but the truth is, most of us dont get enough of it," said Dr. Peter Riley, pulmonary, critical care physician and a sleep expert and medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Porter Adventist Hospital. A lack of sleep can damage our health, increase stress, and reduce the concentration we need to perform in our daily lives."

The four functions of sleep are rest, remember, recovery, and revive. Sleep helps our body to rest and to speed up the healing process when we are sick. We should feel revived when we are awakened. Also the saying, Ill sleep on it," actually does work, as sleep help us to remember better.

Sleeping disorders are common, and can be as simple as our habits producing a poor nights sleep, or even no nights sleep. The most common sleeping problem is poor sleep hygiene, which has a lot to do with our routine - or lack thereof. Poor sleep hygiene includes going to bed too late, getting up too early, interrupted sleep due to medications, stress, family problems and work.

To improve poor sleep hygiene, have a set bedtime and awake time, avoid naps during the day or limit them to late afternoon and no more than 45 minutes. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy or fatty foods four to six hours before bed. Make sure your body knows this spot is for bedtime and sleep, and is not meant for work, studying, reading, homework, etc.

A common sleeping disorder is insomnia. Insomnia affects 9 percent to 12 percent of people in the U.S., and can be caused by stress, change in time zones, change in sleep schedule and poor sleep hygiene. Insomnia can be a warning sign for much bigger problems - emotional, mental or physical. Lack of sleep increases the risk for illness and makes it harder for your body to heal or recover. It can be caused by multiple challenges, stress or family issues. To treat insomnia, improve your sleep hygiene, practice relaxation and consider cognitive behavior therapy.

Perhaps the most dangerous sleep disorder is sleep apnea; this is the stopping of breathing during sleep. These gaps of breathing can be as much as 10 - 30 times an hour, for 10 - 20 seconds each time. Once you have stopped breathing, your body wakes itself back up to begin breathing again. It leaves your brain without oxygen, and disturbs your sleep constantly. People with sleep apnea are at higher risk for heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.

Going to sleep doesnt have to be a fearful thing if you have sleep apnea; there are various treatments that can help improve lifestyle and health. A sleep study is required to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and other sleep disorders. The most common treatment for OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which helps keep your airway open while you sleep. For mild OSA, another option is weight loss, which reduces the weight of the upper body on your airway; sleeping on your side rather than your back or sleeping semi-upright can also help. For more information on sleep disorders, or to take a free sleep quiz, visit www.porterhospital.org/sleep.

About Porter Adventist Hospital
Porter Adventist Hospital is a full service, Nursing Magnet designated, 368-bed acute-care referral center for complex medicine and surgery patients. In addition to being ranked No. 1 for 2010 in overall cardiac care in Colorado by a national hospital reporting company, Porter specializes in cancer care, joint replacement, spinal care and transplant. Porter is sponsored by Adventist Health System and is part of Centura Health, Colorados largest hospital and health care network delivering advanced care to more than half a million people each year, across 13 hospitals, seven senior living communities, medical clinics, affiliated partner hospitals, Flight for Life Colorado, and home care and hospice services. Porters and Centura's strength lies in the ability to offer a team of connected networks and shared resources to deliver accessible, reliable and cost-effective health care across the state. For more information about Porter Adventist Hospital, visit www.porterhospital.org or the Media Room at http://porter.mediaroom.com.