Education

More than 40 million Americans have a sleep disorder and about another 30 million have intermittent sleep-related problems. It is important for people with sleep disorders to be tested at one of Epoch Sleep Centers’ laboratories to identify the problem and determine the appropriate treatment. Common sleep disorders include:

A dangerous condition characterized by shallow breathing or an interruption of breathing during sleep. It is associated with numerous maladies. (Learn more)

A sensory motor disorder that causes a person’s legs to move after feeling an uncomfortable tingle that occurs while at rest.

A sleep disorder where the patient involuntarily moves the limbs during sleep.

A problem with falling or staying asleep. There are several causes, including stress and poor bedtime habits. (Learn more)

What some consider a genetic disorder that makes it difficult for people to stay awake during the day.

A questionnaire that involves ranking whether certain situations make you sleepy and, if so, how sleepy. Responses help doctors diagnose disorders.

Tests that measures the electrical activity of your brain, heart and eyes and observation by specialists during the night.

A test that measures how long it takes for you to fall asleep during the day and determines the kind of sleep you get during such a nap. Sleep specialists analyze your brain waves, heart rate, muscle activity and eye movements.

Pharmacological treatments

Medication is an effective way to treat sleep problems, and the professionals at Epoch might recommend a prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) or herbal aid. Clients should consult with their primary care physician before taking an aid. It is not advisable to take medicines for long periods of time because of possible side affects. It is better to use a sleep aid in conjunction with therapy to condition your body to fall asleep on its own.

Some of the classes of prescription sleep aids are:

They affect the same area of the brain as melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. The medication works with receptors in the brain that are believed to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.

They are medications that are less likely to cause daytime sleepiness because they are quickly eliminated from the body. Non-benzodiazepines such as Ambien CR target specific receptors in the brain that are believed to be associated with sleep.

They are medications frequently prescribed for sleep problems and anxiety. Benzodiazepines include long-acting medicines that can linger in the body and cause daytime drowsiness and short-acting medicines that do not stay in the bloodstream as long.

They are not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to treat insomnia but they are prescribed at times to help people cope with sleep problems.

Most over-the-counter sleep medications found at a grocery or drug store are effective because they contain antihistamines also used in cold remedies. OTC aids may help you fall asleep, but you may feel drowsy the following day because of the antihistamines in the medications.

Natural sleep aids are often associated with herbal supplements that can be obtained without a prescription. Some of the supplements are not approved by the FDA and may not have been tested for safety. Well-known supplements marketed to treat insomnia are melatonin and valerian. Because our bodies produce melatonin to promote sleep, there is a question whether adding more of the hormone is useful. It’s possible that valerian may induce sleep, but recent government studies of its effectiveness were inconclusive.

Quality of Life

It is widely known that long-term sleep loss can lead to health problems such as weight gain, hypertension and a weakening of a person’s immune system. Without enough sleep, it is likely that your quality of life will diminish on social, personal and professional levels. Because sufficient sleep is so critical to your well-being, you must address sleep disorders with a sense of urgency at facilities such as the ones offered by Epoch Sleep Centers.

Adults should have at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to:

  • Maintain peak learning and memory capabilities.
  • Allow for the efficient processing of food necessary to avoid weight gain.
  • Ensure the safe operation of occupational equipment, machinery and motor vehicles.
  • Prevent irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, more stress and moodiness.
  • Dodge cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and irregular heartbeats.
  • Preserve healthy immune systems needed to fight off illness and disease.

Clinical Trials

Call Epoch Sleep Centers at 401.541.9188 or go to www.epochsc.com to learn more about our clinical trials, which adhere to all federal and state government safety regulations. Participants may receive medication and may be compensated for their time and travel.

Cardiovascular Risks

It’s hard to find any aspect of health untouched by sleep, and the prevalence of systemic hypertension in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is high, according to Dr. Shahrokh Javaheri, professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and director of Sleepcare Diagnostics in Mason, Ohio, and Dr. William T. Abraham, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.

In addition to the prevalence of hypertension – high blood pressure – there is a greater risk of other health problems in OSA sufferers. They are:

  • Coronary arterial disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Heart failure.
  • Arrhythmias.