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The path to healthier sleep is often the path to a healthier life.

The American Sleep Apnea Association stated that, “Untreated sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss are associated with a significant increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, certain types of cancer, automobile crashes, on-the-job accidents and total mortality; along with impaired work productivity, academic performance and reduced quality of life.”

Since 2009, the Estes Park Health Sleep Lab has completed over 1,233 sleep studies to help our patients regain their health. The Sleep Lab is led by UCHealth’s Dr. Mark Neagle, a Board Certified Medical Doctor of Sleep, and meets all standards of American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). The Sleep Lab is also one of a few destinations where a person can participate in a study near the altitude in which they sleep to achieve more accurate results.

 What’s the purpose of a sleep study?

Participating in a sleep study can be a positive first step toward healthy sleep and improving overall health. A sleep study measures characteristics of your sleep and your body’s behavior during sleep. Sleep studies are used to:

  • Diagnose sleep disorders
  • Help your physician determine the right treatment for your sleep disorder

There are several different sleep disorders that are diagnosed using sleep studies, including sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy. To learn more about each of these sleep disorders, visit eph.org/our-services/outpatient-clinics.

Our sleep studies take place in the Sleep Lab located on the campus of Estes Park Health. You’ll sleep in a private bedroom and be monitored by a sleep technician throughout the night. The technology used can capture detailed data about your body’s activity during sleep and that information will help your physician create the right treatment plan to address your sleep issues.

Plan your sleep

Prioritizing a good night’s sleep in our culture is often overlooked and undervalued. Sleep is equally as important as nutrition and exercise. You plan meals and schedule exercise, and you should also incorporate seven to nine hours of sleep each day.

 

The National Sleep Foundation offers these six tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

  1. Stick to a sleep scheduleof the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.A relaxing, routine right before bedtime, conducted away from bright lights, helps separate your sleep time from daytime activities.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  4. Exercise daily.Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light – TV, cell phone, computer. Check your room to minimize noises or other distractions.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses.

If you try these techniques and you still are not sleeping well, you might have a sleep disorder. It is important to share your sleep information with your physician so that you can work on a plan to help you get your ZZZs and stay healthy.  You can reach the Estes Park Health Physician Clinic at 970-586-2200 to schedule an appointment with a physician to discuss your sleep concerns.