Cleveland Clinic seminar helps those with winter sleep disorders

LYNDHURST, Ohio - Experts at the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic estimate 10 – 15 percent of the population in this country suffer some form of insomnia. People with this sleep issue may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

A wellness expo at the Clinic's facility in Lyndhurst highlighted sleep issues as well as some possible fixes for those afflicted with sleep disorders.

This time of year, when the hours of daylight are limited, sleep disorders may become more pronounced.

“Their insomnia will worsen in the winter time when there’s a lack of sunlight,” said Michelle Drerup, Psy.D. with the Sleep Disorders Center, Cleveland Clinic.

She added insomnia and depression rates increase in the winter as well.

With the world more connected, devices like computers and smartphones are impeding sleep.

“People are bringing their tablets and smartphones to bed which can disruptive to sleep patterns,” Drerup said.

Dr. Silvia Neme-mercante said the reasons for sleep issues are as varied as those suffering with the problem.

She said some of the solutions may seem counterintuitive.

“Patients should not stay in bed if they are not sleeping,” she said. “We ask the patients to leave their bedroom and then come back when they are sleepy.”

Eliminating sources of stress or dealing with the stress can mitigate sleep disorders.

A doctor or sleep center may find there are issues in the patients world causing issues. A snoring spouse or a pet sleeping in the room may be keeping the patient from sleeping through the night.

That warm glass of milk, as well as other foods, can aid in sleep.

“Warm comfort foods, things that kind of calm and relax people, kind of thinking about winding down in the evening, anything that promotes that relaxation effect will be helpful,” Drerup said.

Napping to catch up from lost sleep can be a hindrance to real sleep.

“That nap can interrupt the next night’s sleep, it just becomes a vicious cycle.”

A spouse or other sleep partner may be aware of their partners sleep issue, like sleep apnea, before the patient themselves is aware he or she has a problem.

They add 2 percent of women and 8 percent of men have sleep apnea but it often goes undiagnosed in the population.

Experts say get professional help for sleep disorders.


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