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Sleep disorders keep locals up

Treatments, sleep studies provide the remedy for counting sheep
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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James Sanders had sleep apnea — and didn’t even realize it until he passed out one morning before work. Sanders, 65, of Dutch Flat, is one of the millions of Americans whose shut-eye is interrupted by a sleep disorder. To remedy his condition, which causes breathing to start and stop throughout the night, doctors prescribed Sanders wear a Continuous Positive Airway pressure machine to bed. Sanders said for the most part the CPAP machine has helped him breathe better at night by allowing him to take in more oxygen. “They said my REM sleep wasn’t there,” Sanders said. “Sometimes I feel like I sleep more soundly and sometimes I don’t see the difference. It feels refreshing because it’s oxygen, but it’s like wearing a mask all day.” Dr. Jose Miranda, a pulmonologist and sleep specialist with Sutter Medical Group in Auburn, has treated patients with various sleep disorders. According to Miranda, sleep apnea is the most common diagnosis, but many others, like insomnia and REM Behavioral Disorder, also keep patients from getting the rest they need. Miranda said patients with insomnia can’t sleep despite the opportunity to do so. Those that struggle with REM Behavioral Disorder lose the paralysis associated with the deepest level of sleep and beat up their partners or furniture while dreaming. Years of bad sleep can lead to high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes and even car accidents, according to Miranda. “Sleep is an essential function that we all require. We require 7 to 8 hours of sleep to have a normal amount of sleep,” Miranda said. “Being sleep deprived limits your functioning, cognitive ability and causes inattentive, drowsy driving that can impair on your personal safety.” Miranda said that drowsy driving even claims more lives each year than drunken driving. For some, treatment comes in the form of a machine, while for others medication and life style changes are the answer. Miranda said losing weight can cure sleep apnea. Miranda said sleep loss can also be caused by psychological or emotional stressors or alcohol abuse. He recommends patients have a scheduled bed time and stick to it, as well as a comfortable sleep environment. “It’s not hard to diagnose somebody. The challenges are in managing these people,” Miranda said. Patients are diagnosed for sleep disorders by spending a night in a sleep clinic, hooked up to electrodes, while being continuously monitored. A physician reviews the results of the study to make a diagnosis. Wade Williams, general manager of California Sleep Solutions, a sleep clinic in Roseville, said the company performs an average of eight sleep studies per night. He said many people, like Spencer, don’t realize they are waking up so often during their sleep. Williams has also noticed that sleep disorders often occur gradually in clients as their lifestyle changes. “A lot of guys will work out a lot in their early 20s, then have a serious girlfriend and get married,” Williams said. “They are eating three meals a day and sitting around, which leads to weight gain and high blood pressure. It’s a common timeline.” To undergo a sleep study at California Sleep Solutions, patients must be referred by their physician. According to Williams, a CPAP machine can cost anywhere from $300-$1,200, depending on the model and insurance coverage. Patients with more stressful jobs also have the tendency to have certain disorders more commonly. “REM Behavioral Disorder is usually associated with really stressful jobs like policeman,” Williams said. Shift-work disorder occurs in people who work nights, or a combination of nights and days, according to Miranda. The Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder can cause insomnia and excessive sleepiness. The good news for people with sleep disorders is that once they are treated, patients can expect to be on their way to a better night’s sleep within a couple of weeks, according to Miranda. “The ability to regain your sleep is quite remarkable,” Miranda said. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.