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Monmouth Medical Sleep Disorders Center Observes National Sleep Week

Long Branch, N.J. – Sleep Awareness Week, observed this year from, March 11-17, is the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) annual public education campaign to raise awareness of the vital role sleep plays in good health. The observance begins each year on the day we set our clocks ahead one hour to begin Daylight Saving Time—using the occasion where we lose an hours sleep to raise awareness about the importance of a good night’s sleep.

Monmouth Medical Center’s Sleep Disorders Center—the first facility in Monmouth County to earn accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine—  joins the National Sleep Foundation in observing National Sleep Week and shares these 25 facts about sleep compiled by the Foundation:

1. Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.

2. The higher the altitude, the greater the sleep disruption. Generally, sleep disturbance becomes greater at altitudes of 13,200 feet or more. The disturbance is thought to be caused by diminished oxygen levels and accompanying changes in respiration. Most people adjust to new altitudes in approximately two to three weeks.

3. In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep. However, exercising sporadically or right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult.

4. Divorced, widowed and separated people report more insomnia.

5. Six in ten healthcare professionals do not feel that they have enough time to have a discussion with their patients about insomnia during regular office visits.

6. More than eight in ten survey respondents think that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.

7. Caffeine has been called the most popular drug in the world. All over the world people consume caffeine on a daily basis in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, some soft drinks, and some drugs.

8. In general, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. However, some individuals are able to function without sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep. Others can’t perform at their peak unless they’ve slept ten hours.

9. We naturally feel tired at two different times of the day: about 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM. It is this natural dip in alertness that is primarily responsible for the post-lunch dip.

10. Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.

11. According to the International Classifications of Sleep Disorders, shift workers are at increased risk for a variety of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.

12. Newborns sleep a total of 14 to 17 hours a day on an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake.

13. When infants are put to bed drowsy but not asleep, they are more likely to become "self- soothers," which enables them to fall asleep independently at bedtime and put themselves back to sleep during the night.

14. Eighty-two percent of healthcare professionals believe that it is the responsibility of both the patient and the healthcare professional to bring up symptoms of insomnia during an appointment.

15. The body never adjusts to shift work!

16. There are individual differences in the need to nap. Some adults and children need to nap. However, the majority of teenagers probably nap in the afternoon because they are not sleeping enough at night.

17. Snoring is the primary cause of sleep disruption for approximately 90 million American adults; 37 million on a regular basis.

18. Scientists still don't know — and probably never will — if animals dream during REM sleep, as humans do.

19. Some studies show promise for the use of melatonin in shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and reducing the number of awakenings, but not necessarily total sleep time. Other studies show no benefit at all with melatonin.

20. One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation.

21. According to the results of NSF's Sleep in America poll, 36 percent of American drive drowsy or fall asleep while driving.

22. Also according to this poll, a surprising 34 percent of respondents reported their employer allows them to nap during breaks and 16 percent provide a place to do so.

23. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase.

24. Rates of insomnia increase as a function of age, but most often the sleep disturbance is attributable to some other medical condition.

25. And did you know seasonal affective disorder is believed to be influenced by the changing patterns of light and darkness that occur with the approach of winter?

An accredited sleep disorders program is a valuable resource for the community, says Robert Kosinksi, M.D., director of Monmouth Medical Center’s Sleep Disorders Center, where more than 800 people each year are treated for such common sleep disorders as insomnia, disruptive snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy and movement disorders in sleep. Sleep disorders affect all age groups and can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and difficulties in falling asleep and staying asleep.

Responding to the increasingly critical nature of sleep disorders, Monmouth Medical Center’s 1,730-square-foot Sleep Disorders Center houses the latest in computerized monitoring equipment and is staffed by fully trained technicians.

Sleep-related breathing disorders, particularly obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, are relatively common, according to Dr. Kosinski, who specializes in evaluating and treating sleep disorders. "Sleep disorders can have a great impact on daytime functioning, and they may lead to daytime sleepiness and impairment of cognitive function — the thinking and reasoning process."

Dr. Kosinski explains that the diagnostic evaluation of sleep disorders often requires overnight examination of the sleeping patient by means of polysomnography to assess severity, effect on sleep architecture and continuity, and the effects on gas exchange, cardiac function, etc.

Polysomnography is used in conjunction with the patient's history, other laboratory tests and observations, and the physician's knowledge of sleep disorders to reach a diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment, he says. A sleep disorders program functions as a diagnostic resource to evaluate patients with sleep disorders and to undertake treatment and follow-up.”

Dr. Kosinski notes that an interdisciplinary team approach to a patient's sleep disorder can be called for, explaining that a psychologist, neurologist, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) and dentist might coordinate their clinical efforts on a patient's behalf.  

Sleep disorders are not always readily apparent, he says. So, the controlled environment of a sleep disorders center, and the multidisciplinary approach of a comprehensive center, can help pinpoint a clear diagnosis.” Patients must be referred to the center. Referring physicians receive detailed reports on patient diagnoses and suggested follow-up treatment. For more information on the Sleep Disorders Center at Monmouth Medical Center, call 732.923.7660 or visit rwjbh.org/Monmouth.

About Monmouth Medical Center
Located in Long Branch, N.J., Monmouth Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, along with The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, is one of New Jersey's largest academic medical centers.  From its earliest days, Monmouth Medical Center has been a leader in surgical advancement and has introduced many technological firsts to the region, including robotic surgery and other minimally invasive techniques.  Monmouth Medical Center is the only hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties to consistently receive an “A” Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit organization of employer purchasers of health care and the nation’s leading experts on patient safety.  It is one of eight New Jersey hospitals to receive a four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the highest hospital rating in the state.

CONTACT:  Elizabeth Brennan 
(732) 923-5005
ebrennan@barnabashealth.org