I talk quite a bit about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with family and friends. Our parents are drifting into cognitive impairment, asking the same questions again and again and struggling to find words to express themselves, and we wonder if we’re destined for the same fate.
The concern may be justified in middle-aged adults with chronically poor sleep, according to new research on sleep and two proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s more about the study and its relevance to people with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Let’s say that after years of experiencing insomnia you go in for a sleep study only to find out you have obstructive sleep apnea. Who knew? You’re outfitted with a breathing mask, you wear it as prescribed, and your sleep improves . . . somewhat.
But your insomnia symptoms are persistent, and you don’t have the kind of stamina you’d like during the day. What then?
People come here looking for solutions to sleep problems. Some read about sleep restriction, a drug-free insomnia treatment, and decide to try it on their own. It’s not rocket science: insomnia sufferers who follow the guidelines often improve their sleep. It’s empowering to succeed.
But self-treatment is not the right approach for everyone. Sometimes insomnia is complicated by another disorder, or what looks like insomnia is actually something else. In both cases, the best thing to do is to have yourself evaluated by a sleep specialist ASAP.
Insomnia is a pain to have to deal with, but it’s worse when someone is snoring. Just as you’re sliding into dreamland, your husband lets loose with a snort that queers the deal. Or your wife starts up with her throaty rattling again. Or—more maddening still—the snore that jolts you awake comes out of your own mouth.
All it may take to stop snoring is a dental device worn at night. Insomniacs with snoring partners and people with mild to moderate sleep apnea: listen up.
Can this marriage be saved?
You: prone to insomnia and sensitive to noise. Cat fights and flushing toilets wake you up at night. Thunder jolts you awake to a pounding heart.
Your mate: considerate, generous, perfect in every way except one: snoring.
Keisha was wondering whether to have a sleep study.
“I asked my doctor to give me something for my insomnia,” she wrote, “but he wants me to have a sleep study first. He thinks I might have sleep apnea. I don’t think I do. I don’t snore (as far as I know). I wake up a lot at night but I’m not short of breath or gasping for air.
“Besides, how could I get any sleep at all with those wires attached to my head! You say sleep studies aren’t helpful for people with insomnia. So what’s your opinion here? Should I have a sleep study or will it just be a waste of my time?”
If you haven’t had a sleep study, you may wonder if spending the night at a sleep clinic might help the doctor understand your problem and how to fix it. Polysomnography, or PSG, is the test conducted at the clinic. New guidelines from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) clarify when PSG is useful in cases of chronic insomnia and when it isn’t. Here’s a summary and explanation of the guidelines.
I see a lot of complaints in insomnia forums about snoring husbands and wives: “At night my wife morphs into a Mack truck!” “My husband’s snoring can shake the paint off the walls!”
Here’s how to contend with a snoring mate so that you, too, get a good night’s sleep.