UK HealthCast: Here's how you can sleep better
UK HealthCast is a podcast series featuring interviews with UK HealthCare experts on a variety of health-related topics, from how to recognize stroke symptoms to what patients need to know about clinical trials – and more.
This episode's subject is something we all struggle with at some point in our lives: sleep. We talked to pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine specialists Dr. Rajan Joshi and Martha Rosenthal about sleep disorders, how they impact your health and what you can do to sleep better.
What sleep-related issues do you treat at the UK Sleep Disorders Center?
Joshi: We see all different kinds of sleep apnea, which includes obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, hypoventilation, upper airway resistance, nighttime low oxygen disorders, insomnia shift work disorder and circadian rhythm disorder.
Also, we see patients who have nightmares, night terrors, REM behavior disorder, and sleepwalking and sleeptalking disorders.
What are signs of a sleep disorder?
Joshi: If you find your sleep is not satisfying enough to make you feel better the next day, that would be a very simple thing that you can look for.
Other signs include difficulty with sleep initiation, more sleepiness and fatigue, poor concentration and difficulty at work or at studies, and loss of interest in work as well as hobbies.
How do sleep disorders impact your health?
Joshi: Many times, patients would have poor daytime performance due to daytime sleepiness and fatigue. They also have medical risk of dementia, memory problems, increased incidence of strokes, cardiovascular events, sudden deaths in sleep, heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias.
Rosenthal: Sleep is very important. It affects so many things: our ability to learn new information, our memory, decision making. It also affects our immune system, our muscle regeneration at night and, most importantly, our mood.
What makes a good sleep environment?
Rosenthal: We want it to be somewhere that we enjoy going to.
Cool is better. Keep the room temperature around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A dark room, a quiet room, something cozy.
I encourage patients to separate the sleep environment. We want to reserve our bed only for sleep. It really messes with our circadian rhythm when we have that lack of separation between sleep and daytime work.
Listen to the full podcast: