The Sleep You Need for Optimal Health

sleepDespite dependable sleep habits, some of us may continue to have trouble sleeping.  While it is normal to have trouble sleeping now and then, if you are experiencing the following on a regular basis, you may have an untreated sleep disorder:

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Still feeling tired as a full night’s sleep
  • Sleepiness during the day, or falling asleep at inappropriate timesDes
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping or snort while sleeping
  • Trouble moving your arms or legs when you wake up


“I woke up every morning feeling tired, by late morning I was yawning, and it was hard for me to focus,” said Chris O’Higgins of Port Townsend.  ““My wife complained of my snoring the whole time we have been married—34 years.  She was the one who encouraged me to do a sleep study after she had one done.”

Insufficient sleep puts us at risk for health issues including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, a weakened immunize system, and depression. According to researchers at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Center for Disease Control, sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems—even a greater risk of death.  Sleep is involved in supporting healthy brain function, repairing heart and blood vessels, regulating blood sugar levels, and maintaining the balance of hormones that make you feel hungry or full.  Sleep plays a vital role in our physical and emotional well-being.

Long-term sleep loss will affect health. Short-term solutions, like napping or extra sleep on days off, may provide a temporary boost in alertness but won’t provide all the benefits of night-time sleep.

The idea of a sleep study was intimidating to Chris, he was unsure of what would happen and what it would feel like.  His wife continued to encourage him until he made an appointment.

From the start Chris felt at ease. He was able to get an appointment quickly and at a convenient time.  Once he got to the clinic “the sleep technicians were so caring and addressed my concerns without making me feel silly, I didn’t feel nervous anymore”, said Chris.  “The whole process took only a few weeks and now I’m sleeping through the night.  I used to have 18 sleep events a night, now I average .05 events a night.  I wish I would have done it a long time ago.”

Choosing an accredited sleep center is important.  The Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) requires a strict adherence to specific sleep center guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.  Jefferson Healthcare Sleep Center is fully accredited by the AASM and through the accreditation can diagnose and treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia, periodic leg movements, narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness syndrome.  Jefferson Healthcare is among only a few labs capable of treating bariatric patients with extreme OSA. Board-certified in sleep medicine, Dr. Jak Nikomborirak can evaluate and treat all types of sleep disorders and has practiced at Jefferson Healthcare for nearly twenty years.

Talk to your doctor if you think you have sleep problems or if you often feel sleepy during the day, don’t wake up feeling refreshed and alert, or have trouble adjusting to shift work.  Your provider might not detect sleep problems during a routine visit because you’re awake but they can recommend a sleep study to carefully evaluate your sleep complaints, apply appropriate tests/studies and institute necessary treatment.






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