Creve Coeur resident Donna Gall talks with sleep specialist Venkat Rao-Chintapally, MD, about her problems with snoring and fatigue. After obtaining a complete sleep history, Dr. Rao referred Gall to St. Anthony’s Sleep Center.
The Power of Slumber
Good sleep is vital for your health
"I felt so good...this is how most people feel when they are rested. I had been missing that for years." – Donna Gall
Not getting enough zzz’s? Tell your doctor. Chronic sleeplessness is a major health problem. It can affect work performance, driving, memory retention, eating or exercise habits and even sexual activity. If untreated, you’re at risk for serious medical conditions such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
“You breathe, eat and sleep, but nobody really thinks sleep is necessary, especially in this sleep-deprived nation of ours,” says Venkat Rao-Chintapally, MD, board-certified in neurology, neurophysiology and sleep medicine. “But sleep is vital to health. Any sleep problems lasting longer than a few weeks should be discussed with a physician. You spend one-third of your life sleeping, and the quality and quantity of sleep impacts the other two-thirds of your life.”
The average amount of good sleep should be between seven and nine hours nightly. While infrequent interruptions are normal—to use the bathroom, for example—trouble falling or remaining asleep should be a red flag. Don’t think that you can “bank” your sleep hours on the weekends to make up for lack of weeknight sleep, either. While that works for a short period of time, it’s not effective over the long-term. Neither are the typical morning boosters of caffeine or cold showers.
See what Donna Gall thinks of using the CPAP mask
“Your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter medications to help you sleep, but the real question to ask is why do you have difficulty sleeping?” says Dr. Rao-Chintapally. “If there’s no specific issue that leads to sleeplessness, start keeping a sleep log of when you wake up, and how you were feeling at the time. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist to evaluate your problems and determine if a sleep study is needed to uncover the reason you can’t sleep.”
Diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, Donna Gall now puts on her CPAP mask every night before she goes to bed. “The first night I thought I wasn’t going to be able to sleep with the mask on,” she says. “But in the morning, I felt so good that I thought, my gosh, this is how most people feel when they are rested. I had been missing that for years! Now I feel great.”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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