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Dr. Larry Ayers is a Sharp-affiliated pulmonologist and specialist in sleep disorders at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. He answers a few sleep-related questions below.
Why is sleep so important for your health?
Getting enough sleep is vital to your health, as chronic lack of sleep is associated with shortened survival, obesity, increased incidence of diabetes, difficulty concentrating and increased accidents.
What is the most common cause of sleep issues for the average person?
The most common problem for the average person is restructuring sleep — spending time on various tasks or activities that should be spent on getting the proper amount of sleep. It is becoming more common for people to use the evening hours on the computer, thus decreasing the number of hours they can sleep.
How does caffeine impact quality of sleep?
Although caffeine allows individuals to stay awake when feeling tired, too much caffeine consumed too late in the evening will result in poor, interrupted sleep.
Is snoring a cause for concern?
Snoring can be a cause for concern. It is commonly associated with partial breath holding during sleep, resulting in frequent partial arousals, fragmented sleep, oxygen reduction and heart rate irregularities. Snoring and sleep apnea (seen together) are associated with increased incidence of hypertension, heart disease, obesity and daytime sleepiness. Snoring generally becomes a problem when you become very tired during the day and you have a hard time doing your job in spite of getting what you thought was an adequate amount of sleep. Any concerns about snoring should be shared with your doctor.
What effect can alcohol have on the quality of your sleep?
Alcohol ingestion in the evening leads to sleepiness. As the alcohol is metabolized sleep becomes fragmented. Chronic heavy alcohol use often results in permanent sleep problems characterized by difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
What tips can you share for getting a healthy night’s rest?
The following suggestions can help you get a good night’s sleep:
For More Information
Sleep assessment is provided with physician referral only. To learn more, contact the Sleep Disorders Center directly, please call 619-740-4488.
To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about sleep disorders, visit Sleep Problems in Adult Health or read the Sleep Disorders News archive.