I-Team Report: Sleep success - WNEM TV 5

I-Team Report: Sleep success

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

If you're like most people, your day starts off with a cup of coffee in the morning, which leads to a mid-morning pick me up in the office break room.

Then that turns into an afternoon jolt, but you don't actually need more caffeine. Maybe what you really need is a good night's sleep.

"Well sleep affects everything. Heart problems, lung problems, EO cognital problems," said Dr. Shaffi Kanjwal, director of St. Mary's sleep center.

He said not getting enough good sleep can cause physical and behavioral consequences that really affect your day to day.

"Waking up during the night, gasping for air, stop breathing, snoring and what happens if you have those things when you should be sleeping, you have fragmented sleep and your brain doesn't sleep. It's awake most of the night," Kanjwal said.
One of the most common sleep problems that keeps you drowsy all day long often goes undiagnosed. It's sleep apnea.

Kitty Bouchard knows firsthand how important a good night sleep is because for years she wasn't getting one.

"I live about 40 miles from here, driving home and almost falling asleep before I got home. That was quite scary. That's what made me really think I need to do something," she said.

Bouchard said she was falling asleep in meetings, not able to keep up with her grand kids and generally just sleepy all day. So she scheduled a sleep study.

"They was telling me how many times a night I woke up and I just couldn't believe it. I'm like, you're kidding me. It was a phenomenal amount," Bouchard said.

That study changed her life. Doctors discovered she she sleep apnea. She would stop breathing several time during the night.

Now Bouchard wears a C-pap machine at night. It opens up her airflow while she sleeps and she said she won't miss a night without it.

"I was so energized. I felt like a totally new person that I could concentrate when I was at meetings. I was in the game," Bouchard said.

A lack of sleep doesn't just affect adults. For children and teens, doctors say often times behavioral problems, like ADHD, are actually just sleep problems.

"Children will miss their ability to develop their executive function, which involved delayed gratification, focus and study, get along with their peers and parents," said Dr. Richard Macauley, sleep physician.

Macauley said children who have any of those symptoms should get a sleep study. It's not as scary as it sounds.

You're hooked up to monitors that check your pulse, breathing and movement. Then, it's in bed and lights out.

But if your restless nights are not caused by sleep apnea, there are also items you can use at home to get better shut eye.
"We want to create a good environment, educate ourselves and sleep properly at night," said Dr. Christopher Winter, with the National Sleep Association.
Winter is a sleep specialist. He said for those who don't have sleep apnea, there's new at-home technology to help you get better sleep.

"There's a device called the Thimb. Slides on your finger at night. The Thimb will provide vibrations throughout the night, subtly wake you up and make you fall back asleep," Winter said. "The smart pillow has sensors embedded in it that measure your body position and ambient room temperature. Nightingale plug into the jacks in the bedroom. Creates a very healthy sound environment."

If you aren't into all of the high-tech solutions, doctors said you can always lean on the tried and age old remedy of good exercise, healthy nutrition and lots of water to get you to sleep and keep you asleep.

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