5 Questions: Peaceful Rest
More than 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders each year, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems. To get the lowdown on sleep disorders and sleeping problems, we turned to the Sleep Disorder Program at St. Luke’s South in Overland Park and its medical director, Dr. Ann Romaker.
Q: What kinds of sleep disorders are there?
A: There are more than 150 recognized types of sleep disorders today. These range from teeth grinding to snoring to sleepwalking.
Q: I seem to be tired all the time. Should I just chalk it up to insomnia?
A: While insomnia can occur due to stress, anxiety or depression, being tired all the time is not normal and could be a sign of a sleep disorder.
Q: What effects can lack of sleep or interrupted sleep cause?
A: According to the American Sleep Association, concentration, memory, physical performance, social interactions, mood stability and even appearance can be impacted by the amount and quality of sleep a person gets each night.
Q: Aren’t sleep disorders overblown?
A: Undiagnosed sleep disorders can worsen and/or partially trigger conditions such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart failure, emphysema, depression and arthritis.
Q: Can sleep disorders be life-threatening?
A: Sleep apnea can cut life expectancy in half for middle-aged individuals as well as older adults. It increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, congestive heart failure and rhythm problems.