Caregivers from Intermountain Healthcare joined with KUTV in July to talk about the importance of rest and how to get help for sleep problems. KUTV Ask The Expert is a monthly event that brings a topic that the public can call in or submit questions online for help.
“We need to cue our brains that it’s time to go to sleep,” said Wayne Woodward, a registered Polysomnographic Technologist for Intermountain’s Utah Valley Sleep Center.
This is the beginning step in working on your insomnia, unrestful nights, explains Woodward. He suggests people work on powering down about an hour to 90 minutes before bedtime. Also, work on limiting the electronic screens before you need to rest – mobile, television, computer, anything.
“Our bedroom is for sleep,” said Woodward. “So we need to get the TV out of the bedroom.”
Here are several other items he recommends:
- Go to bed the same time each day – even on weekends and days off
- Keep the room dark and cool
- Avoid crucial conversations in bed – such as bills, schedules, work emails or any daytime-alerting activities.
- Avoid vigorous exercise 2-3 hours before hand
- Try light stretching before bed
Apnea occurs when someone is not getting enough oxygen while sleeping. Breaths can be shallow or pause numerous times during the night which puts strain on the body, brain, and heart. Snoring can be a symptom but does not always mean apnea is occurring.
If you feel you or your loved ones might be suffering from apnea, contact a sleep specialist –there are options of tests to confirm if you have sleep apnea.
“One is we can do an at-home test, which we provide the equipment which comes down to a belt across your chest, your belly, oxygen probe on your finger, and that is it,” said Scott Strauss, physician assistant at Intermountain Healthcare Sleep Disorders Clinic at Riverton Hospital.
Not every test can be done in the house for those with heart issues, previous strokes, on certain medications and other ailments. “Those kind of situations are going to require you coming into our lab,” said Schauss.
RELATED: The Strain of Sleep Apnea
Are CPAP machine masks uncomfortable?
One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea are CPAP machines. Those devices luckily have gone through numerous technological advancements to be smaller and quieter. Becky Moyes, sleep specialist for Intermountain’s Park City Specialty Sleep Clinic and Avenue’s Sleep Clinic, joined the program to show off the newer devices and talk about the importance of proper placements on the head.
The devices usually have a power base with a water chamber that leads to a mask.
“The water chamber provides humidification,” Moyes said. “We live in the desert so we need to have something that keeps us moist instead of it drying us out.”
The masks once resembled gas masks, but now can have just two straps and small nose cupping. The idea behind CPAP is it forces the airways to stay open while you’re asleep – keeping you consistently breathing, relaxed and well rested.
“If you don’t get enough sleep then you pay for it,” Moyes said.
The next KUTV Ask The Expert will be on August 8th from Noon to 5:30. It will take place at Park City Hospital and focus on Sports Injuries.