Healthy Living: Identifying and treating insomnia

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Normal sleep probably cannot be defined by most people. Take snoring for example. A lot of people snore and do nothing about it. Doctors say that snoring can lead to serious health issues like stroke or even erectile dysfunction.

Let's discuss the signals first.

"My eyes are getting heavy during a meeting. I think attention, and concentration, focus so people can say I have brain fog or my spouse told me something and I don't remember, it can even be these sort of memory issues," explained board-certified neurologist and founder of Sound Sleep Guru in Bellevue, Dr. Meredith Broderick.

She has spent 13 years sending even the most challenging insomniacs into rem sleep. Broderick says poor sleep could be the route to most of your problems.

"There are certain medical conditions that we want to check people for. High blood pressure, glucose intolerance, even a pre-diabetic, chronic migraines that are hard to treat, depression, anxiety, those things all get so much better with treatment for sleep apnea or whatever the sleep disturbance is," said Dr. Broderick.

Dr. Broderick says sleep disturbances are more common in women, than in men because of all the hormonal changes women go through at different stages of life
like menstruation, pregnancy, the 4th trimester, and menopause.

A sleep study is the best way to determine unhealthy sleeping habits and modern technology makes it incredibly easy with this disposable test called Watchpat One.

"You would just start the test on your phone, wear it overnight, take it off, upload the data in the morning and I'd give my patients a call that day and tell them whether they have sleep apnea or they snore," said Dr. Broderick.

If lack of sleep is attributed to oral snoring, that's where Dr. Katharine Christian with the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Center in Seattle, comes in.

"If you look in the back of your throat and your little uvula, that punching bag is big and inflamed, you have an oral snore," said Dr. Christian.

Both doctors say prescription pills are not the best remedy, especially long-term because it isn't natural, restorative sleep. They say a natural remedy like melatonin can help for some.

  • Here are some do's and dont's:
  • No caffeine eight hours before bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • No electronics one hour before bed
  • Be consistent with a regular wake time
  • Be active during the day.

Experts recommend cognitive behavioral therapy to treat chronic insomnia. When asked if CBD or THC products help with sleep, Broderick said because of the various chemicals in marijuana, there just isn't enough research to confirm if it helps achieve restorative sleep.

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