Veterans and Sleep

by Shannon on Nov 9, 2017 12:21:07 PM

 

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In the United States and all around the world people struggle to get a good night's sleep. However, there is one group of individuals who are 4 times more likely to suffer from sleep disorders than the rest of us. These are our heroes; our Veterans.

United States Veterans have kept a watchful eye over our country allowing us to sleep safely and soundly in our homes as they lose endless hours of sleep and must adapt to sleeping in very difficult environments. Once back home they continue to be deprived of sleep due to sleep disorders that have arisen due to their service to our country.

 

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Max Hirshkowitz, director of the Sleep Disorder Center at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center indicated that our Veterans are 4 times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Simply put, about 5% of Americans have sleep apnea and up to 20% of United States Veterans suffer from this disorder. In a USA TODAY article Max Hirshkowitz and other experts provide detailed statistics and information on the rise of sleep apnea among our military.

For anyone who doesn’t know the symptoms of sleep apnea here is a list of symptoms directly from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
  • Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Attention problems
  • Irritability

 

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It is important for anyone to consult a medical professional if suffering these symptoms, but many times we don’t, which can be life threatening. Until you are able to get in to see a doctor here are some recommendations to obtain restful sleep especially for our Veterans.

  • Keep a journal and pen on your night table to write down any worrisome thoughts that try to deprive you from sleep. It allows you to put the thought down and work through it tomorrow.
  • Only use your bed for sleep; relaxation and sex.
  • Try getting on a sleep schedule. The more you sleep the more the symptoms of sleep apnea decrease.
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes. These can cause additional respiratory distress increasing the symptoms of sleep apnea.
  • The best position for those who suffer from sleep apne is their side. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to obstruct your airways.

Thank you to all U.S. Veterans from the 4Sleep Family!

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