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meredith 1380048706Insomnia: A sleep disorder in which there is an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired.


Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder in the United States, can be a complicated condition. It's characterized by having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or returning to sleep. But its symptoms duration and causes vary widely. The National Institutes of Health estimates that roughly 30 percent of the general population complains of sleep disruption, and approximately 10 percent have associated symptoms of daytime functional impairment consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia.


People with insomnia usually experience one or more of the following symptoms:

Fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work/school, difficulty falling asleep/staying asleep, waking up too early, unrefreshing sleep (also called 'non-restorative sleep'), feeling impulsive or aggression and difficulty in personal relationships.


If you feel you have insomnia there are habits you can change to improve symptoms:

  • Firstly, you will want to examine your sleep hygiene and environment
  • Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. Remove TV's, computers and all other night distractions that might provide extra light, noises or distractions during the night.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine, alcohol or smoking. Avoid taking naps during the day and doing any sort of excercist two hours prior to bedtime.
  • Turn the clock out of eye sight
  • It is important to make a habit of only being your bed for sleeping and intimate activity. Your bed should never be used as a desk or workspace.
  • After reviewing your habits and correcting any issues in your sleep environment, if you are still experiencing problems, you should contact your physician. Take as many notes as you can about habits and concerns and bring those to your appointment. Your physician may suggest cognitive therapy and or a combination of therapy and medicine to help establish a healthy sleep pattern. The sooner you get help the better. As we have explained before, drowsiness itself is a red alert.
  • If you ever feel you have a sleep disorder it is a good idea to begin keeping a sleep diary to see if there are any glaring issues in your sleep patterns. You can download a free two week version from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. http://yoursleep.aasmnet.org/sleepdiary.pdf 


 Meredith Petry, RPSFT, RST is the Director of Athens Sleep and Wellness Center, an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Accredited Facility.

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Our specialty is sleep disorders and we want to educate the public on what are common sleep disorders and how they are treated. The most common sleep problem would be breathing disorders AKA sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where as you sleep, your airway closes and causes a drop in oxygen. An emergency response in your body kicks in to increase your heartbeat and slightly awakens you so that you can gasp for air. A CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) device is the most successful way to treat sleep apnea. CPAP is a breathing device that helps hold your airway open so you can breathe as you need too.

Without CPAP compliance (proper regular use), sleep apnea can wreak havoc on your heart, memory, immune system, physical/mental energy levels and much more. Left untreated sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, obesity, excessive daytime sleepiness and insulin resistance among other things.

For a patient to use this device they need to LOVE it! Improving CPAP compliance is a tough problem and we decided to take on this challenge. We started working very closely with our patients to discover the reasons for their non-compliance. Our goal was to make them say that they love their CPAP. One patient at a time, we started seeing the success of our program. As you can see in the graph, our patients are much more compliant than the national average.

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At the Sleep Health 2013 Conference, Dr. Subodh Agrawal brought up within his presentation a critical phrase that everyone should know: 'Drowsiness is a Red Alert.'



 Pictured above is Dr. Subodh Agrawal at the University of Georgia Hotel & Convention Center during Sleep Health 2013.

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