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Reference Guide
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Sleep

Sleep

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Lack of sleep interestingly can be similar to alcohol intoxication. CDC reports that not sleeping for 17 hours is akin to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% which is the drunk driving level in some countries. Having no sleep for 24 hours is comparable to a BAC of 0.10% which is above the US drunk driving level of 0.8%.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than one-third of adults do not attain the recommended amount of sleep, which is seven to nine hours per night. These individuals stated that they experienced sleepiness during the day, and their mood, mental acuity, and productivity were impacted negatively. CDC also reports that over 40% of adults reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once a month, with an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans having a sleep disorder. 

Sleep tests aim to assess hormones and neurotransmitters significant to sleeping/waking and the circadian rhythm such as melatonin, cortisol, cortisone, norepinephrine, and serotonin among others. Some of these tests include Doctor's Data's Melatonin Profile, Access Medical Labs' Serotonin, ZRT Laboratory's Cortisol (C).

Disrupted or inadequate sleep can impact patient health by increasing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and infections. As sleep facilitates learning and development of long-term memories, insufficient sleep can negatively impact learning, thinking, and daily functioning, and can make emotional and social interactions challenging to handle. Lack of sleep has also been attributed to increased risk of injuries, falls, and motor vehicle accidents.

Four of the more common types of the 80 known sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia - the inability to being sleep and staying asleep
  • Sleep apnea - characterized by the individual not breathing for 10 seconds or more, with snoring often as an indicator and obesity as part of patient presentation
  • Restless leg syndrome - associated with leg pains that make it difficult to sleep, and is relieved by rapid leg movements
  • Narcolepsy - unexpected periods of sleepiness and muscle weakness when individual is awake

What do Sleep Tests measure?

Sleep testing uses blood, urine, and saliva samples to determine quality of sleep and potential for a sleep disorder. Various testing panels are available through Rupa Health with examples such as:

Along with sleep tests, a physical examination, healthy history, list of symptoms and sleep diary, lifestyle and diet practices can be helpful in determining the root of sleep deficiency concerns. Additional testing such as micronutrient assessment and sleep studies (polysomnography) can be beneficial.

Treatment Plans

Ascertaining the cause of sleep deprivation or the type of sleep disorder will guide the treatment plan. For example, sleep apnea patients will likely require a CPAP machine as part of treatment care, along with a weight loss plan to help decrease severity.

Some treatment plans can include:

  • Limiting or discontinuing caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other stimulants¬†
  • Micronutrient supplements that support sleep such as magnesium, and vitamins D and B6 if not obtaining sufficient amounts from diet
  • Healthy diets to include fruits, vegetables, grains, and specific foods containing magnesium (dark green, leafy vegetables, almonds), vitamins D and B6 (salmon, tuna, oranges, cantaloupe), and eliminate processed foods and refined sugars
  • Physical exercise to improve sleep quality and help alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Establish and maintain sleep routine with same nightly sleep and day-wake times, switch off devices, keep room cool, and light blocked out

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References

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Sleep

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Sleep

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