Studies show that getting at least seven or eight hours of sleep each night is essential for doing well at work.
Tom Conner, RN, BSN, MBA, interim associate vice president at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna shared some insight on sleep and its importance to job performance.
"Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning in general," Conner said. "Poor sleep quality can lead to car accidents and injuries while on the job. Not getting enough sleep is also known to give people a larger appetite, which often leads to obesity."
The sleep center at Robinson Memorial, which is located in Streetsboro, has conducted surveys of its own employees to witness the effects of sleep quality.
"We want to educate our staff about what a lack of sleep can lead to," Conner said. "Many people think they have adapted to only six hours a sleep a night, but this is usually never the case."
Mary Krulycik, registered polysomnographic technologist at Aultman Sleep Center in Canton, also shared some insight on the sleep disorder issue.
"People put sleep aside and do not consider it a main priority," Krulycik said. "There are over 80 diagnosable sleep disorders and 40 percent of Americans have reported getting less than seven hours of sleep a night."
Aultman Sleep Center does general sleep studies for patients who come in complaining about not being able to function. According to Krulycik, if the person is not found to have a sleep disorder, they go over the patient's sleep hygiene with them. Sleep hygiene is the amount of sleep a person gets each night as well as the consistency of times in which they sleep.
"A doctor may suggest keeping a sleep diary," Krulycik said. "This will help the person get back on track with good sleep quality."
Akron General Medical Center Director of Physiology Mark Beebe is also familiar with sleep and its effects.
"Cognitive impairments, mood and depression can be caused by sleep deprivation," Beebe said. "Decision making in general can be compromised. Traditional sleep studies for our employees and patients usually show poor sleep hygiene."
According to Beebe, people who lack good sleep quality often experience a loss in energy and wake up still feeling tired.
According to all three specialists, the most common sleep disorder is sleep apnea.
"The muscles in the back of the throat relax while we are sleeping," Conner said. "This causes the tongue to fall back and constrict our airways. A person can wake up 100 times a night from this and have no idea."
Krulycik said sufferers can stop breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time.
"Common signs of sleep apnea are chronic snoring and waking up with chest pain or a headache," Conner said.
Sleep apnea can be life threatening if not treated.
"It can increase your heart rate and blood pressure," Krulycik said.
Sleep apnea can be treated with a CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) machine.
"The CPAP is a mask that acts like a splint and provides a constant airflow," Krulycik said.
Once on the CPAP most people will be on it for life unless they are reevaluated and a doctor decides they no longer need one.
According to all three professionals, the majority of sleep disorders can be cured with medications and life style changes.
"Exercise during the day and turn off any stimulants at night," Conner said.
"Make sure your bedroom is dark and that there are no distractions such as television and smart phones," Krulycik said. "We live in a 24/7 world. We need to slow down, get some sleep and everything else will fall into place.SDRq