Sleepy at work, home and in your life? You’re not alone, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – a shocking 1/3 of adults sleep less than 6 hours a night on a regular basis. While sleep needs vary from person to person, the National Sleep Foundation recommends between 7 and 9 hours every night for optimal health.
But what if I don’t need that much sleep, you say?
Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honor, it’s a trend that’s causing irreparable damage to your long-term health, says James B. Maas, Ph.D., author of Sleep for Success! on Business Insider. “You can become conditioned to waking up earlier but you can’t alter your body’s sleep requirements… over time, some aspect of your health like weight or mental focus will be affected by lack of sleep.”
If lack of sleep has become your new frienemy (someone you think is a friend but hurts more than she helps), it’s time to seek professional help.
If you spend your nights gasping, choking or stopping breathing and struggle with oppressive daytime sleepiness, there may be an underlying medical issue causing your sleep deprivation. It can be tricky to know when to seek medical help but if you’ve tried self-help sleep remedies with no success, it’s time to consult your family doctor. Ask yourself the following questions about your sleep. Do you:
Before you visit a sleep doctor, track your sleep quality and patterns with a journal or sleep tracker, like FitBit. The more information you present your doctor with, the faster you’ll get the help you need. And remember, a sleep disorder like insomnia might be a symptom of another medical condition, which is why it’s important to consult a doctor if you think you have a problem.
The following links will help you find a board certified sleep specialist.
An organization of doctors and researchers dedicated to the advancement of sleep research and medicine. You’ll find a list of accredited sleep centers, many of which have certified behavioral sleep medicine specialists with expertise in behavioral and cognitive methods to prevent and treat sleep problems. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
The American Board of Sleep Medicine certifies doctors and researchers in sleep medicine, which makes it easier for patients to find “board certified” specialists. The ABSM works with AASM to maintain their list Board Certified Sleep Specialists by state or name. If you’re looking for a specific doctor, their searchable database will help.
It’s not unusual for your dentist to spot a health issue before your family doctor – mostly because we visit our dentists more often. Dentists interested in treating sleep disorders with oral appliances are often members of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (formerly the Sleep Disorders Dental Society). To find a dentist in your area who specializes in sleep health, consult AADSM’s searchable directory. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
Curious about how sleep governs your health? The following resources will fill you up on helpful sleep information you can use tonight.
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