Human beings spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and for many people, this time that should be the most relaxing part of their lives is often impeded by some form of insomnia or other common sleep problem, like sleep apnea. On this episode of Patient Power, host Andrew Schorr discusses the root causes of such sleep problems and several treatment options with Dr. David Chang, a sleep medicine specialist at the Polyclinic in Seattle.
Are you often tired? Does your partner snore during the night? Listen as Dr. Chang describes the key signs for people to be aware of with snoring that may suggest they need to see a sleep specialist. With sleep apnea, the nighttime symptoms are generally witnessed by the bedroom partner and the daytime consequences, such as fatigue, are noticed by the patient. However, given the close link between sleep apnea and heart disease, this is a very real health concern. If discovered, there are numerous ways to address sleep apnea—from losing weight to sleeping in a particular position to using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine—all of which are detailed during the program.
One of the most common health concerns we see in western culture is insufficient sleep. Learn how age, your sleep environment and what and when you eat all play an important role in determining an individual’s ability to sleep. Dr. Chang gives an overview of the different stages of sleep and offers an explanation as to why some people remember their dreams and others do not. He shares his recommendations as to the appropriate length for naps and when to stop drinking caffeine during the day.
The conversation then moves to the realm of medical intervention for sleep disorders. Although Dr. Chang touches on a number of sleep medications and their possible short-term benefits, he also stresses the importance of patients seeing a sleep specialist. Insomnia is often the result of some other cause, such as depression or anxiety, and cognitive-behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment, as well as medication, for these patients. Overall, this Patient Power program is a great place to begin and be on your way to getting better sleep.
David Chang, M.D.
Sleep Medicine Specialist, Polyclinic SeattleDr. Chang is a specialist in sleep medicine at the Polyclinic in Seattle. He received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, where he served as chief medical resident. Dr. Chang also completed a fellowship in sleep medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, and... more >