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Keeping Healthy by Getting Good Sleep

Keeping Healthy by Getting Good Sleep

Did you know that poor-quality sleep can affect your health?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not getting enough sleep is linked with several chronic diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

So how do we know when we aren’t getting enough quality sleep?

“We should wake feeling refreshed,” says Jeffrey Lessar, MD, a board-certified physician in pulmonary medicine with Valley Health Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists. “Throughout the year, most people have one or two nights when there is a problem. It is when there are recurrent symptoms that impact daytime activities that you might speak to your provider. Then you delve deeper to determine what might be going on and if any testing is necessary.”

Common sleep disorders include:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): A condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep for 10-30 seconds at a time and often leads to snoring. This can occur repeatedly and can severely disrupt the patient’s quality of sleep.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome: This condition has been determined a neurological disorder. Its symptoms include unpleasant leg sensations and the urge to move the legs.
  • Narcolepsy: This condition is a disorder of the nervous system and consists of involuntary time periods of sleep occurring throughout the day as you work, drive, or talk.
  • Insomnia: A condition in which the patient has trouble staying asleep or going to sleep. Some may wake in the middle of the night or in the early morning.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder: A disorder in which a patient moves limbs involuntarily and periodically during sleep.
  • Hypersomnia: A variety of conditions in which a person feels excessively tired or sleeps longer than usual.
  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: This condition causes a person to be very tired during the day, often because they did not get a good night’s rest due to one of the sleep disorders above.

Where to start for treatment

If you believe you are having sleep issues, Dr. Lessar recommends starting with your primary care provider as most common sleep disorders can be managed by primary care.

However, sometimes a person might need a sleep specialist who can offer a full complement of procedures to find what issue is affecting you and how to treat it.

“If a patient is having difficulty with first-line therapy, then that might be an indication for a referral,” Lessar says. “Or if patients are looking at different therapeutic options, we can help winnow them down.”

For more information about Valley Health sleep specialists, please visit