Sleep apnea…restless leg syndrome…REM disorder…insomnia…
In a recent program presented at Carolina Meadows, Dr. Heidi L. Roth, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and currently Associate Professor of Neurology at UNC-Chapel Hill, discussed these four most common forms of sleep disorders. She sees them all in her clinical practice at the UNC Sleep Disorders Clinic.
Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining health. Research has revealed the relationship between not getting a good night’s sleep and such problems as memory loss, heart disorders, and strokes. The good news is that problems with sleep are treatable.
Although sleep disorders do increase with aging, Dr. Roth encouraged her audience to take steps to minimize such problems. A simple first step is to eliminate caffeine and alcohol, two of the most common sleep disruptors. One resident in attendance pointed out that research has shown the value of a glass of red wine for warding off heart attacks. Dr. Roth remained firm, insisting that if one suffers from insomnia or other sleep problems he or she should not drink. After the information-packed session, the resident was heard to say with a sigh, “I was just hoping not to have to give up my nightly glass of wine!”
Serious cases, of course, should seek medical help. Treatment advances are being made all the time. Two Carolina Meadows residents in attendance indicated that they had participated in the UNC sleep clinic programs and been helped with their problems.
The lecture on Sleep Disorders was part of the “Health and Medical Update Series” arranged by resident Dr. Ernest Kraybill. Ernie served as Professor in the UNC School of Medicine for many years and is able to enlist assistance from former colleagues at that nearby major institution.
By CM Resident Bill Powers