Livingston (Lack of) Sleep Screening Could Pinpoint Health Risks

clock - insomnia - 2Today, I had a good excuse, what with my teenage son traveling on an 8-hour overnight bus ride to a 10 day high adventure camping trip. An excuse for my terrible night’s sleep, that is. And I didn’t. But the truth is, many other nights when I don’t sleep well, I have no excuse. Or none that I know of. And maybe I should find out, right? I mean, blaming the heat, being the mother-of-teenagers, creeping hot flashes, an old mattress, and that too-spicy-but-I-love-it Indian dinner, isn’t exactly taking responsibility for my sleep deprivation health now is it?

To do something about it, I can take myself to St. Barnabas Medical Center next week. The Livingston hospital is inviting the public to a free community lecture and sleep screening on Tuesday, July 23, at 5:00, for anyone with chronic sleep problems.

If you wake up feeling tired every morning, it could be a sleep disorder, and that might be a sign of an even more serious problem than arriving at the breakfast table or your job feeling grumpy and unfocused. The program provides a free screening and information about St Barnabas’s Center for Sleep Disorders, which offers daytime testing and full overnight sleep studies.

Apparently, there’s a lot more to worry about than being tired. Some sleep disorders are a sign of serious health conditions, signaling a risk for high blood pressure, hypertension, arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke and obesity. Lack of sleep also adversely affects memory, job performance, social interactions–and mood (just ask my husband).

There’s a part of me that doesn’t want anything to do with another “disorder” of any kind, having dealt with a slew of them in the last few decades, if not my own, then among family members and close friends. Can’t I just take a nap? Or a whole bunch of them? Sure, I learned, and it’s a good idea, but won’t solve the more critical issues lots of lousy nights’ sleep might be trying to tell me.

The St. Barnabas program takes place in the Islami Auditorium Side B, and pre-registration is requested; call 1-888-724-7123.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons

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