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Bedtime Blues: The sleep epidemic - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bedtime Blues: The sleep epidemic

Posted: Updated:
SHREVEPORT, La. -

Are you dying to get some more Z's at night?


Sleep problems are epidemic across the United States.
 
According to the CDC, 40 million people in the U.S. have a chronic sleep disorder, causing more than $18 billion in lost productivity every year.
 
Statistics are grim with 62 percent of American adults experiencing sleep problems several nights a week, while 30 percent of adults have insomnia in the course of a year.

Sleep has become such an issue for people now that specialized offices are now popping up across the country, even right here in the ArkLaTex.
 
"Sleep is one of our most important physiological functions. It's not really macho to say, 'I got away with only three hours of sleep.' You're short-changing yourself," said Moufarrej.

Dr. Moufarrej with the Neurology and Sleep Clinic in Shreveport said much of this epidemic we can blame on ourselves. 

We get caught up in congested commutes, long stressful days at work and overscheduled families. 

We have created a society that is stressing us out.
 
"We are not sleeping as well as we should and we are not giving ourselves the time that we need to sleep. That creates problems in the way that we think. It can cause health and productivity issues," said Dr. Moufarrej. 

Dr. Moufarrej said 80 percent of his patients have sleep apnea. But, he treats everything from insomnia to restless leg syndrome.

He said the answer these sleep issues is not necessarily in a pill.

"We deal with teaching people how to synchronize their sleep and their life to their own physiology. Most people are out of sync with themselves. We want to do everything without realizing the kind of price we will pay for that," said Dr. Moufarrej.

So what is a sleepy soul to do? 

Dr. Moufarrej suggests keeping in mind a new set of buzz words called "sleep hygiene." This involves your nighttime routine.
 
First and foremost, turn off the electronics.

"We take our laptops or our iPads or our smart phones and we are sleeping with those things. We weren't made to sleep with those things. We were made to put them aside and be in the darkness. Those guys have a lot of light and can trick our mind into thinking it's daylight," said Dr. Moufarrej.

Don't drink alcohol before bed and stop trying to will yourself to sleep. Let it happen naturally. 

"You cannot make yourself sleep any more than you can make your heart beat. These are autonomic functions that happen by themselves," said Dr. Moufarrej.

This is just the kick off to our sleep series about the bedtime blues. 

Next week, health reporter Jessica Crandall is looking into the dangers of sleep apnea.  

The hazards of sleepiness can include highway and work accidents, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.

 

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