HONESDALE- If you’re reaching for an extra cup of coffee to stay awake or taking that big yawn in the middle of the day, you may not be getting enough sleep – and putting yourself at risk for other health issues.
    The Lead Technologist at Wayne Memorial’s Sleep Disorders Center hoped the community viewed World Sleep Day on Friday, March 14th as, no pun intended, a “real wakeup call” to make healthy sleep a part of their everyday lives.
    “Lack of sleep can cause a lot more than just irritability or memory lapses,” says Linda Vose, CRT, RPSGT, RST. “It can impair your immune system, increase your diabetes risk and even lead to obesity, all of which can lead to even more serious health complications.”
     Some experts say the chances of being overweight can shoot up to more than 30 percent when the body’s biological clock is askew. Here’s why: too little sleep can affect normal levels of appetite hormones, which can lead to increased food consumption and weight gain.
   “Obesity is a major cause of obstructive sleep apnea,” adds Vose. Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing stops repeatedly during the night. If left untreated, it can increase the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, headaches, chronic fatigue and even death. Wayne Memorial’s Sleep Disorders Center, which offers both daytime and nighttime studies, treats hundreds of people with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders each year.
   The theme of this year’s World Sleep Day, set by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) is “Restful Sleep, Easy Breathing, Healthy Body.” But how do you get there?  At the Sleep Disorders Center, which is supervised by board-certified pulmonologist Sean McVeigh, MD, patients are encouraged to follow good “sleep hygiene.”  
    “Try to establish a regular bedtime routine,” explains Vose. “Turn down the lights in the evening, turn off the TV & other electronic devices. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol too close to bedtime. These are just some of the ways to prepare the mind and body for sleep.”
   The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends seven to nine hours sleep for adults, 8.5 – 9.25 hours for teens, and for children ages 6 to 10, between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night.
     “Sleep should be a priority for everyone,” says Vose. “If you or a loved one is experiencing sleeping issues, please ask your healthcare provider for a referral to our center. It could save your life.”     
For more information on symptoms and treatment of sleep disorders, visit www.wmh.org/Patients__Visitors/Sleep_Medicine.