Tired of Being Tired - Part 2 - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Dawn Mercer's

Tired of Being Tired - Part 2

(Columbia) Feb. 11, 2003 - You may be tired because you're not practicing good sleep habits or it could be something more serious like sleep apnea, which is one of the more prevalent sleep disorders.

When the sun sets, we focus on winding up our schedules and calling it a night. When the sun rises, it's time to meet all the demands of the day. What happens when the time between the two is not long enough?

Despite the active schedules most of us keep, experts like Dr. Campbell McLain say sleep is not negotiable, "You can negotiate it for a day or two or even a week or two sometimes, but it will catch up with you."

WIS newsroom assistant Katie Paxton was sleeping around nine hours, but complained of always feeling tired. Her doctor sent her to Sleepmed at Palmetto Health Baptist. It's a national sleep lab that started in Columbia.
Katie will spend the night there so doctors can monitor her brain and body systems, "It's strange. I can't imagine sleeping with all this, tangled up in them."

It was actually Katie's husband, Kip, who encouraged her to be examined. His concern was her, well, obnoxious snoring. Light snoring is just a minor nuisance, but when it becomes loud and disruptive, it can be a sign that something is wrong.  Katie's husband was noticing a "snore, pause, snort." 
Doctors found she would snore, then stop breathing for a few seconds, then start again with a loud snort. That is sleep apnea. It's a disorder affecting as many as 18 million Americans. 

The sleep technologist, Jared Johnson, woke Katie and had her wear a device called a CPAP, an acronym for "continuous positive airway pressure." It is a small mask that keeps the airway open by pushing in a continuous flow of air. The next morning, Katie had no idea the test would show the apnea caused her to stop breathing several times, "So, before you put that thing on my mouth, I quit breathing 20 times?"

The mask is not attractive, but for patients, like Katie, who could face serious health threats if the sleep apnea is left untreated, it's worth it.

Katie still has the same workload, but after a month with the CPAP device, she's convinced doctors found the answer. She's sleeping better and feels alive again, "It's still hard to meet the demands of this newsroom, but at least I have the energy for it. I'm not exhausted. I go home and still have some energy leftover."

We need seven to eight hours a night for all of us to have energy to meet the day and for our bodies and minds to work properly. If you're not having sweet dreams then the answer may lie in a sleep lab. A night costs $1800, but most of it is covered by insurance.

Make sure you're practicing good sleep habits before going to a doctor or sleep lab. Doctors say go to bed and get up at the same time each day. The routine helps train your body to sleep when it's suppose to. If you can't sleep, go to the other room for a quiet activity like reading or knitting. Don't do something stimulating like watching TV. If you take a nap during the day let it be less than an hour and not after 3:00pm.

Caffeine too close to bedtime will keep you awake. Alcohol, although it will make you sleepy at first, will wake your body later in the night as the alcohol is leaving your body.

Only a light snack before bed.

Avoid strenuous exercise in the evening because it will get your system going again.

Limit the light and noise in your bedroom. Think dark and quiet.

By Dawn Mercer
Posted 9:54pm by BrettWitt

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