Many Americans struggle with getting a good night’s sleep.
According to a recent study, insomnia affects approximately 23% of all U.S. workers, resulting in 367 million lost work days per year, and the cost to employers is nearly $63.2 billion per year in medical expenses and lost productivity.
In addition, more than 40 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), of which 18 million have moderate to severe disease.
Long term side effects of sleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure, increased stress hormone levels, increased risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
“There are several different treatment options for someone struggling with sleep apnea. It can range from lifestyle changes, CPAP, oral breathing devices or even surgery,” said Dr. Andrew Gould, a physician at Advanced ENT and Allergy.
A new treatment is now available to patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea that consists of a surgically implanted system to help keep their airway open at night.
The Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation system was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April for people age 22 and older. It’s installed during outpatient surgery and can be wirelessly turned off and on by the patient, using a remote.
Inspire consists of a small, pacemaker-like device with leads (wires) attached to it that’s implanted into the upper chest. The system senses breathing and stimulates the hypoglossal nerve that controls the tongue, moving it forward so that the patient’s airway stays open when it needs to.
“Inspire is a great alternative for patients who have failed — or been unable to tolerate — positive airway pressure treatments, such as using a CPAP machine that requires wearing a mask while sleeping,” Gould said.
Sleep is important for functioning effectively in life and plays a significant role in health and well-being. Here are some tips that may help with trying to get a good night’s sleep:
- Stop work-related activities at least two hours before bedtime. This means computer, phone, and related work activities. Give your brain a chance to slow down before going to bed.
- Don’t exercise in the late-evening hours. Effective exercise is a stimulant.
- Turn off technology, especially the computer, and dim the lights around your house.
- Ease into a restful mode by having something warm and soothing to drink (not containing caffeine or other stimulant).
- A warm bath can help your muscles relax, which can encourage the rest of your body to do likewise.
- Listening to soft music can be restful, along with light reading. Read from an actual book and not a brightly lit device, such as an e-reader or smartphone.
- Resist the temptation to have a TV in your bedroom, which can stimulate your brain instead of calming it.
- Clean, cool, fresh air creates a healthy environment for a good night’s sleep.