The experts at Atlantic Sleep Centers provide answers to some of the questions more frequently asked by patients:
Q. Please address snoring issues and available treatment options. Is there any product available to help reduce snoring?
A: Snoring is quite common and must be differentiated from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea presents with snoring and periods of stopped breathing, and typically requires a sleep study for diagnosis. For people who only snore and do not have symptoms of sleep apnea, nasal strips, nasal sprays and some dental appliances are helpful. There are also minimally invasive surgical procedures that have proven effective in reducing snoring.
Q. If you feel you are suffering from insomnia, should you seek help and get a sleeping pill prescribed? I am afraid of becoming dependent on the medication.
A: While sleeping pills can help a person fall asleep more quickly, most patients with chronic insomnia would better be served by learning healthy strategies for getting a restful sleep. It is true that some of the newer medications advertised on TV are not addictive as was the case with drugs of the past. However, some people get psychologically addicted to medicine and find themselves shopping between one drug and another. I generally prescribe sleeping pills for short term use only. For those who have an occasional sleepless night – chamomile tea, a warm glass of milk, a soothing bath or valerian may be effective. People who frequently experience insomnia that interferes with daytime functioning should talk to a doctor.
Q. Is eight hours of sleep each night really necessary?
A: The newest recommendation by the National Foundation of Sleep is seven to eight hours sleep for adults. However, there isn’t one specific amount of sleep that every person needs. Some people may only need six hours, while others won’t function as well unless they get nine. If you feel drowsy during the day, at work or in the car, you should consult with a sleep physician.