Illustrations by Christina Ung
Issue: 5280 Health 2013
Tags: Teofilo Lee-Chiong, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, sleep hygiene, Sleep Disorder Center at Porter Adventist Hospital, sleep apnea, sleep, Robert Ballard, restless leg syndrome, Peter Riley, P.C., National Jewish Health, narcolepsy, Lisa Meltzer, insomnia, Colorado Sleep & Pulmonary, 5280 Health
Catch Some Zzzs
Sleep is essential. It’s a simple fact of life, but it’s one we often fail to comprehend completely. We’re supposed to spend about one-third of our lives asleep. It’s how the human body is wired; it needs the rest. Almost nothing—work, play, or otherwise—demands that much of our time. The problem is, we live in a society that views sleep as optional. We stay up late working, watching TV, folding the kids’ clothes. And when we do go to bed, we simply plop on a mattress, shut our eyelids, and expect a revitalizing slumber to ensue, which doesn’t happen all that often. This blatant disregard for something our bodies require is doing more than making us tired, though. Lack of sleep can cause health problems ranging from a lousy memory to a compromised immune response to heart disease. And research shows that 50 million to 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders. The good news? In the past 30 years, the field of sleep medicine has expanded significantly, and, in the process, doctors—including a bevy of them along the Front Range—have unlocked the secrets of good slumber and discovered practical tips to help us all sleep more soundly. In the following pages, the experts explain the most effective ways to get the right kind of shut-eye.