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Common disorders of sleep: consequences and treatments

Monday, December 26, 2016

By Kenneth D. Weeks Jr., MD, FACC

Sleep medicine researchers such as William Dement, MD, of Stanford University have declared America a sleep-sick society.

Dr. Dement has spent his professional career studying chronic sleep deprivation and its impact on daytime function, executive performance, drowsy driving, mood and healthcare status. When he retired, he wrote in his book, The Promise of Sleep, that Americans fail to respect sleep, and physicians overlook many sleep disorders due to lack of awareness or interest.

Dr. Dement has shared his concerns about sleep deprivation with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. He has urged them to pass legislation to address the dangers of drowsy driving and the consequences of insufficient sleep on health. He also has asked legislators to consider safer school start times and outlined costs associated with sleep deprivation.

In the meantime, Dr. Dement continues to share his message with sleep specialists and others: "The worse you sleep, the worse your health, the worse your health, the worse you sleep.”

In this newsletter, I will address the two most common reasons that patients are referred to sleep specialists: obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia.