Have you ever wondered what it takes to get a good night’s rest or why you wake up feeling just as tired as you did before you went to sleep? Dr. Walter James, board-certified in sleep medicine and founder of the Sleep Center at Piedmont Hospital, answers some of the frequently asked questions about your sleep concerns.
1. What are some tips for a good night’s sleep? The keystone to good sleep is getting up at the same time every morning. Most adults need 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Good sleep quality is variable because it depends on personal preferences for sleep environment, setting, temperature, etc. Determine what works best for you and make it routine.
2. When do you need a sleep doctor? Someone who sleeps enough hours per night, but feels sleepy all the time, may have a problem with sleep apnea (frequent interruptions of sleep). Narcolepsy may be the problem if someone falls asleep regardless of how much quality sleep he or she gets. Someone who can't sleep may have insomnia. All three of these are common reasons people need to see a sleep doctor. Other, less common, reasons are abnormal experiences and behaviors during sleep, such as nightmares, seizures or violence.
3. What are causes of sleep disorders and what are some solutions? Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by abnormal anatomy of the throat and facial structures, causing recurrent blockages of the airway during sleep. The solutions include aggressive weight loss, positional control, oral appliances (mouthpieces) that hold the jaw forward, positive pressure devices (e.g., CPAP) that splint the airway open with air pressure and surgery. Narcolepsy responds best to alerting medicines. Insomnia may respond best to cognitive therapy provided by a sleep psychologist.
Piedmont Hospital Sleep Center
1968 Peachtree Road, NW
77 Building, 5th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30309