Alaska Sleep Education Center

Kevin Phillips

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Recent Posts

Why Can't I Sleep? 7 Things That Could Be Robbing You of Sleep

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Sep 16, 2015 8:29:39 PM

 

"I spend several days at a time without enough sleep. At first, normal activities become annoying. When you are too tired to eat, you really need some sleep. A few days later, things become strange. Loud noises become louder and more startling, familiar sounds become unfamiliar, and life reinvents itself as a surrealist dream."

 –Henry Rollins

People suffering from sleep loss may not realize just how many causes to their sleep troubles are out there.

External factors, personal choices, other people, medical conditions, and sleep disorders can all work independently or jointly to rob you of much needed sleep.

Here we compile a list of the most common sets of sleep disturbances that may be causing you to ask "why can't I sleep?"

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Topics: Sleep, sleep problems

Sleep Management for Shift Workers: Avoiding Sleep Troubles

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Sep 3, 2015 5:16:16 PM

 

We are living in a 24/7 global society in which many businesses, industries, and services around the world operate non-stop, which is great for production, customer satisfaction, and even safety.

We can hop on a jet at 1:00 a.m. to fly halfway around the world, we can visit a hospital at 1:30 a.m. to seek treatment for a bad case of the flu, we can head down to a convenient store at 2:00 a.m. to pick up a box of diapers, we can call tech support at 2:30 a.m. when our internet stops working, we can even hit the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant to get a late night snack at midnight.

The quality and convenience afforded us by having businesses operate 24 hours a day is staggering. It's hard to imagine there being any drawbacks.

However, there is a very real problem with having all of these services available at any time of day or night: somebody has to work during those hours.

 

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Topics: sleep disorders, treatment

Sleep Apnea in Children: Symptoms, Health Risks, Diagnosis & Treatment

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 26, 2015 7:26:43 PM

 

One of the greatest problems in generating awareness for sleep apnea is that all too often people have a preconceived notion of what a typical sleep apnea patient looks like. When most people think about a patient suffering from sleep apnea, an image of a middle-aged overweight male comes to mind.
And while this image can be fairly accurate in many cases, it is by no means a full representation of all those who could potentially be afflicted with sleep apnea. Many women suffering from sleep apnea get diagnosed with insomnia rather than sleep apnea due to this misconception.

And worse, many children with sleep apnea are instead diagnosed with other disorders including ADHD because they don't fit the typical patient profile.

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Topics: sleep apnea, Pediatrics

What is Behavioral Insomnia in Children? Types, Prevalence, Treatment

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 20, 2015 9:00:00 PM

Quality sleep is extremely important in the physiological, cognitive, and emotional development of children. At different stages of a child's development sleep needs change. In order to help children get as much quality sleep as possible, parents should have a strong understanding of the sleep requirements necessary for their children at various stages in their lives.

One study found that approximately 27% of children are sleeping less than is recommended for their age. Sleep debt in children can lead to an array of consequences including inattention, irritability, hyperactivity, impulse control problems, behavioral issues at home and school, learning troubles, and overall quality of life.

Poor sleep in children often leads to sleep troubles for the parents as well. When children frequently wake in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep, most parents respond by waking up themselves and helping soothe them back to sleep. Over time both the parents and the children can become sleep deprived.

Of all the potential sleep disorders found in young children, Behavioral insomnia is the most frequently cited, surpassing other sleep disorders including breathing disorders like sleep apnea (1-3%), sleep related movement disorders such as restless leg syndrome (2-8%), and parasomnias such as night terrors (5-35%) [source].

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Topics: Infant, children, Pediatrics

7 Reasons to Treat Insomnia ASAP: Consquences of Sleep Deprivation

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 18, 2015 3:40:27 PM

If you find yourself having difficulty going to sleep at night, waking in the middle of the night without being able to get back to sleep, or waking earlier than you had planned but still feeling tired throughout the day, chances are you might have insomnia.

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder with over half of the U.S. population having reported symptoms of acute insomnia at some point in their lives, and approximately 10-15% reporting symptoms of chronic insomnia.

While acute insomnia often goes away on its own, or can be cured by practicing better sleep hygiene, chronic insomnia can lead to a lot of serious problems down the road.

Here we focus on some of the long-term consequences of insomnia, and why you should take steps now to alleviate your sleep troubles.

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Topics: insomnia

What is a Polysomnogram Test?

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 13, 2015 2:10:00 PM

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, and are looking to get it treated, chances are you'll have to have a polysomnogram (PSG) test performed to properly diagnose your disorder.

But what exactly is a polysomnogram test? How is it conducted? And what can it tell you about your sleep troubles?

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Topics: sleep study

What is Catathrenia? Can Groaning in Your Sleep Be Harmful?

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 7, 2015 7:53:00 PM

Is your bedpartner being kept awake at night because you make strange groaning sounds in your sleep? Can groaning lead to serious medical conditions the same way that snoring can? What exactly is catathrenia and how can it be cured?

Here we discuss this rare and strange sleep disorder, and put to ease any concerns you may have about the consequences of groaning in your sleep.

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Topics: sleep disorders

9 Tips for Maximizing Your Sleep Environment

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Aug 6, 2015 5:46:00 PM

Thanks to growing advocacy and the abundance of available information on sleep medicine there is a growing awareness into the importance of getting quality sleep every night. More people are beginning to realize the benefits of practicing sleep hygiene, and how it can positively impact their daily lives.

Many people are choosing to make sleep a priority and realizing they can accomplish it by keeping a bedtime routine, exercising regularly, eating sleep-friendly foods, and relaxing before bedtime.

However, there is one aspect of sleep hygiene that still needs more attention. One that should be at the forefront of the pursuit for better sleep––the sleep environment.

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Topics: Sleep Tips

CPAP Compliance: 3 Ways CPAP Patients Can Monitor Their Treatment

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Jul 30, 2015 8:48:15 PM

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." – English proverb

The old adage above speaks volumes about patient compliance with CPAP therapy. All too often we hear about patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea go through the long, arduous process of investigating their sleep troubles by having a sleep study, getting a diagnosis, receiving a CPAP machine for therapy, selecting a mask, getting educated on how to use their equipment, only to quickly abandon therapy within a few short weeks.

Many of these patients are shown the path to quality sleep and given the tools to change their declining health, but, sadly, they can't be forced to comply with treatment.

The question facing many sleep professionals becomes, "If we can't make them drink, how can we entice them?"

The only real answer is to help patients want to get better. The best way to do that is to have them get proactive about sleeping healthier by using their CPAP equipment. And getting them proactive starts with showing them how to track their own therapy progress.

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Topics: CPAP compliance

The Challenges of Home Sleep Apnea Testing: Benefits and Drawbacks

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Jul 24, 2015 7:22:00 PM

Patients suspected of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) will have to have a sleep study performed to properly diagnose the disorder. There are two possible tests for determining a diagnosis: an attended polysomnogram (PSG) and an unattended home sleep test (HST).

Attended PSG tests are conducted in a sleep lab under the supervision of a registered polysomnographic sleep technologist (RPSGT). In addition to sleep apnea, PSGs can diagnose up to 80 sleep disorders by using a variety of equipment that monitors brain activity, eye movements, respiratory effort, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, body movements, and more.

HSTs on the other hand are used only in the diagnosis of sleep apnea, and are performed by the patients themselves. Patients taking a HST will bring home their equipment to use overnight after being given a tutorial on how to use the equipment. HSTs are very simple and easy to use. HSTs are also limited in the data they capture to respiratory effort, blood oxygen saturation, and airflow. Some HSTs can also capture breathing movement and body positions.

HSTs are increasingly being used in the determination of obstructive sleep apnea. However, there are some important considerations to make when choosing between having an in-lab sleep study and an at home sleep test. Here we explain those considerations.

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Topics: home sleep test

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