19 Feb

Increase in late-night texting causes less daytime productivity

With society engulfed in a technologically-driven world, it’s no surprise that people are sleeping less each night. What’s to blame? According to studies, cell phones and computers are the biggest distractors.

Many sleep specialists have reported that texting is still on the rise, especially among adolescents and young adults. According to studies, teenagers send an average of 100 text messages a day and are now even responding to text messages subconsciously. It happens so frequently that it’s been given a name—“sleep texting.”

“The phone will beep [and] they’ll answer the text,” said Elizabeth Dowell, a nursing professor at Villanova University. “They’ll either respond in words or gibberish. [It] can even be inappropriate. Ex-girlfriends contacting ex-boyfriends, saying ‘I miss you; I want to see you.’ The thing that happens, though, is that when they wake up, there’s no
memory.”

And this doesn’t only happen to teenagers. Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist, told the Huffington Post that based on his conversations with patients, he believes that anyone who sleeps with a phone nearby is susceptible to this growing trend.

“It’s basically what we call an arousal disorder,” said Breus. “Somebody gets woken up but is not completely awake from the process of sleeping.”

The bottom line is that this behavior is negatively affecting the bottom line. According to a Harvard Medical School study, chronic exhaustion is costing the economy $63.2 billion in lost productivity. Because of this, employers nationwide are finding ways to encourage workers to sleep better at night. Experts suggest that adults should sleep seven to nine hours per night, while teenagers need more than that to function properly.

What can you do to improve your sleep schedule? The National Sleep Foundation suggests that you:

  1. Treat your bedroom as your sanctuary—by creating a comfortable, distraction-free area, your body will recognize your bedroom as a place to relax, thus allowing you to fall asleep faster.
  2. Adjust the lighting—turn off your phones, televisions and iPads one hour before hitting the hay. The light emitted from these devices stimulates your eyes and increases alertness levels. In addition, ensure your room will stay dark from the time you fall asleep until you wake up in the morning. Use curtains/shades if you don’t already.
  3. Establish a routine—when your body gets into a routine, it’s much easier to function day-to-day. It’s important to go to bed and wake up the same time every day. And yes, that means on weekends too!
  4. Cut the caffeine—it’s not a bad idea to skip that extra cup of coffee while watching the evening news. Experts recommend that you stop all caffeine consumption by 2 p.m. Eliminating large meals and alcohol before bedtime will also help you sleep better at night.
  5. Remember to exercise—Exercising isn’t just for looks. Exercising in the morning will also help you sleep better at night. Just remember to avoid rigorous exercising too close to bedtime.

15 Feb

The Real Difference Between HST and Sleep Facilities

Have you been told you need to complete a sleep
study? Are you torn between completing it at a sleep facility versus at home? What
are the differences? Are the results really the same?

Blackstone Medical Services offers those suffering from
obstructive sleep apnea the opportunity to complete a home sleep study rather
than spending the night at a sleep facility. Once you receive a prescription
for the test, a home sleep study device (about the size of a cell phone), is
shipped directly to your home. The package comes with detailed instructions,
along with an instructional video explaining how to perform the sleep study.
Once the study is completed, you ship the device back using the pre-paid
shipping label provided for you. It’s as easy that!

Because home sleep testing is a newer option, many
are skeptical to complete the test on their own. However, home sleep testing
offers many things that a sleep institute study cannot. For instance, you will
be able to move freely in any position during the study. This is highly
beneficial if you need to get up at any point during the night. At a sleep
facility, if you need to use the bathroom you must notify the sleep technician
so he/she can disconnect all of the wires. With a home sleep study, the small
device is attached around your chest and allows you to get up and move around. In
addition, your partner can sleep in the same bed during the study. This is much
more comforting and will allow you to maintain your normal sleep schedule.

Another benefit of home sleep testing is cost. Home
sleep studies, if the proper criteria are met, are covered by most insurance
plans. If you would prefer to self-pay, the out-of-pocket cost is $329. This is
significantly lower compared to the thousands it costs to have a study
conducted at a sleep lab.

Time also plays a major role in home sleep testing.
Although a home sleep test requires participation for two nights (compared to
the one night required by labs), the results arrive much quicker. Once the test
is ordered, the test may be completed in as little as 24 hours, as opposed to
the average 1-to-2 week waiting period for labs. The same can be said for the
reading of the results. Once the test is completed and the device is sent back,
it takes 24 hours to process the results. With a sleep lab, it may take up to
two weeks to receive the results upon completion.

So, is the quality of the results the same? YES! A
home sleep study device measures the same things that the sleep lab is
measuring—respiratory effort, snoring, pulse rate, oxygen saturation and body
position. However, home sleep devices do not monitor heart rhythms, brain waves
or eye and leg movements. What’s the difference? Home sleep studies specialize
in the diagnosis of sleep apnea while sleep facilities monitor for a variety of
sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome and REM sleep.

If you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from
sleep apnea, don’t spend thousands of dollars on traditional out-patient
facilities when you stay in your own home. Home sleep studies are more
affordable and less invasive. Visit our website for more information on home
sleep testing—www.blackstonemedicalservices.com.

06 Feb

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Worsens During Colder Months

Although obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an ongoing
condition, studies show that OSA symptoms tend to worsen during the winter
months and times of climate change.

A recent 10-year-study conducted by researchers at
the Chest Journal found that OSA patients experienced more breathing pauses
during colder months than warmer ones. This study,
based on findings of 7,500 patients participating in a one-night sleep study,
showed that patients stopped breathing an average of 18 times during the winter
and 15 times during summer months.

This shows that OSA may be negatively affected by
seasonal changes. In addition to temperature, weight change, allergies and
other various illnesses may cause OSA symptoms to worsen during as the year
progresses.

It’s important to understand that OSA can be life
threatening. If left untreated, sleep apnea may cause high blood pressure,
heart disease, stroke and depression. If you or someone you know suffers from
fatigue and/or daytime drowsiness, we can help! Call us toll-free at
800-710-2727 or visit www.blackstonemedicalservices.com
for more information on home sleep testing.

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