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Sleep Disorders

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The Editorial Team at Sleep Care Pro is dedicated to educating the world on the importance of great sleep by providing expert analysis on Sleep Science, Hygiene and Health.

Reviewed by

Andrew McDowell, PA-C

Andrew McDowell, MMS, PA-C, is an experienced clinician with over 10 years of practice in emergency medicine…

The Impact of Sleep Disorders on Health

Sleep disorders encompass a broad spectrum of conditions that affect the quality, timing, and quantity of sleep, with significant repercussions for both physical and mental well-being. According to psychiatry.org, these disorders can lead to substantial distress or functional impairment in daily activities. The prevalence is notable; for example, insomnia affects about one-third of adults with 6-10 percent meeting the criteria for an insomnia disorder.

Common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia - characterized by difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep.
  • Sleep Apnea - a serious condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
  • Narcolepsy - involving excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) - causing an uncontrollable urge to move legs due to discomfort.

The consequences of untreated sleep disorders are far-reaching. Research from sources like the NCBI Bookshelf indicates associations with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, stroke, and even an increased risk of accidents. Moreover, there's a considerable economic impact due to lost productivity and healthcare costs related to managing these conditions. Factors contributing to these disorders range from environmental influences disrupting circadian rhythms—like shift work—to genetic predispositions. Treatments vary but may include medication management, lifestyle changes such as improved sleep hygiene practices recommended by Cleveland Clinic, or medical devices like CPAP machines for apnea patients. The importance of understanding and addressing these conditions cannot be overstated as they play a critical role in overall health maintenance and disease prevention as highlighted by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

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  • Andrew McDowell

    Andrew McDowell, MMS, PA-C, is an experienced clinician with over 10 years of practice in emergency medicine and critical care. He has a specialized interest in sleep medicine and shares his research and knowledge on Sleep Care Pro. As a shift worker, Andrew understands the daily challenge of getting restful sleep. As a husband and a father, he understands how life can get in the way of developing good sleep hygiene. And as a practicing PA, he recognizes the important role that sleep plays in our healthspan. Primary care providers have little time to educate their patients on good sleep practices and are instead incentivized to prescribe sedating medications to patients. Andrew believes this is the wrong approach, and he founded Sleep Care Pro to help people engage sleep in a holistic manner. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Associates and is Board Certified by the NCCPA. He is a veteran of the United States Army and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is an advocate for the unique healthcare needs of veterans, and he believes high quality sleep is a cornerstone of good mental health.

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