Many people have difficulty falling asleep, others can’t stay asleep the desired amount of time and others report they toss and turn all night hardly sleeping at all. According to the National Institute of Health this is called “problem sleepiness” that has many causes and has unwanted consequences.

One primary sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. This is dangerous if left untreated because individuals stop breathing for a period of time which may lead to heart problems. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea are snoring, sleepiness during the day, obesity and age. To diagnose sleep apnea a sleep test is required.

People with insomnia complain about not staying asleep and not feeling rested at the end of the night. Many people have experienced insomnia at some point due to an emotional event but some experience it night after night. This condition requires investigation by a doctor to acquire a proper diagnosis.

Restless leg syndrome or limb movements usually occur just before an individual falls asleep. This condition usually increases over the age of 60. The diagnosis is based on history and can be detected by a sleep test.

Heart and lung diseases as well as painful conditions affect the quality of sleep. Medications, cigarettes, lifestyle, and drinks with caffeine or alcohol can reduce sleep and lead to daytime sleepiness.

Sleep is a physiological need and cannot be ignored. Chronic sleepiness is serious and can be fatal. Employees who continually show up for work sleepy should be counseled and sent home from work to prevent accidents in the workplace. School officials should contact parents when children demonstrate poor performance tied in with sleepiness in the classroom. Sleepiness behind the wheel leads to a high percentage of fatal car accidents. Sleep problems should be bumped up on everyone’s priority list and identified and treated. The outcome will be surprisingly beneficial and probably will save your life.

About the Author

Elaine Semo is a licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner with over 30 years of experience. She is a consultant for Americare Respiratory Service and a holds a vocational teaching credentialed state for the state of California. She has experience working in many areas of the hospital from critical care units to out patient pulmonary disease management programs. She has worked across all life spans from neonates to the elderly. She spends her life dedicated to helping people improve the quality of their life when they are faced with chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and neuromuscular diseases.