House Calls

WIN 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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h o u s e c a l l s { winter 2018 } 27 SLEEP ANXIETY: IT'S A REAL THING While the words psychophysiologic insomnia may not sound familiar, the term defines a situation many of us know all too well. "You get so worried about not sleeping that you can't sleep," explains Dr. Carswell. While he knows of no studies that indicate counting sheep actually helps people overcome this phenomenon, he suggests improving your sleep hygiene with these six tips: Exercise daily, but not right before bed Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evenings Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and comfortable Turn in and wake up at a consistent time Avoid daytime naps Use the bed only for sleep and sex Lastly, warns the doc, "Don't watch the clock! It only worsens the anxiety. If you're in bed and not sleepy, get up and do something quiet like reading for a few minutes before returning to bed." regulates, snoring subsides, and sleep improves. In some cases, doctors may opt for other treatments, including oral appliances to maintain an open airway (which are provided by dentists), or surgery to remove some of the tissue blockage. "A newer and less common treatment option is implanting a pacemaker in the chest to give the airway an electrical signal to stay open," says Dr. Carswell, who has made referrals to surgeons that provide such alternatives. If the home sleep test points to more complicated disorders such as narcolepsy, dreaming disorders, or restless leg syndrome, the patient is sent to a sleep lab for a similar but more extensive test that provides insights into sleep staging and sleep quality. If indicated, these disorders may be treated with medications or psychological counseling. For the majority of people who experience occasional bouts of sleeplessness, a change in lifestyle habits typically helps, notes Dr. Carswell. Getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity tires your body, avoiding heavy meals at night wards off sleep-stifling stomach woes, reducing day-to-day stress helps the mind shut down, and making a few small tweaks to your bedroom can help you doze off faster (see next page). Finally, "it's imperative that you make sleep a priority in your life," says Dr. Carswell. That means protecting its place in your day-to-day schedule just as you would a dinner date with an old friend or an important meeting at work. After all, our daily endeavors aren't nearly as enjoyable—or productive—when we're in a drowsy daze or daydreaming about our beds. And when you do retire each night, rest assured that your body is hard at work prepping for the next day's to-do list. "It's imperative that you make sleep a priority in your life." —DR. JAMES CARSWELL Researchers at the University of Chicago recently determined that today's adults snooze anywhere from an hour to two less than their peers of 60 years ago.

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