by Christine Fisher
Whether it’s napping in a hammock outside in the sun or in a recliner on a Sunday afternoon, it seems men can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. However, some men deal with sleep problems on a routine basis.
Thirty percent of men are reported to have sleep apnea, according to the American Sleep Association, which causes significant interruptions in their sleep cycles. In addition, snoring, stress and other medical conditions can cause poor sleep in men, leading to reduced mental and physical function.
“Sleep is one of the most valuable activities of the day,” says Ravali Tarigopula (Tari), MD, board certified in sleep medicine and medical staff member of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “It is a time when your body actively recharges itself and prepares for the next day. Sleeping well enables you to feel, think and perform better. It allows you to maximize your time and your energy during the day.”
On average, men need seven to eight hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well rested. Many men do not get this much sleep regularly and as a result feel sluggish.
“Between demanding jobs and caring for children and families, many men sacrifice their sleep in order to gain a few hours,” explains Dr. Tari. “While this may help from time to time, it is not recommended for an ongoing routine. Humans need sleep and we must find the time to get the recommended number of hours for sleep.”
One of the most common sleep disorders affecting men is sleep apnea. This occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, keeping air from getting into the lungs.
During sleep, the muscles inside the throat relax. The airway narrows and the brain senses the inability to breathe and briefly rouses the individual from sleep in order to reopen the airway. “Often, one person is snoring loudly, stops breathing briefly, then gasps or chokes as they wake up, causing the spouse to wonder what’s happening,” says Dr. Tari. “It’s often the spouse who encourages the partner to seek treatment.”
Men are twice as likely as women to have sleep apnea; it usually gets worse with age. Smokers are three times more likely to have sleep apnea than those who have never smoked, and those with allergies are also at increased risk.
Dr. Tari encourages men who have sleep issues to seek treatment. “During a consultation, we discuss what’s happening, how often, and move forward with a diagnosis and treatment plan. I often hear back from patients about how much better they’re sleeping once we determine the cause and implement the remedy. Getting good sleep literally changes their life; they feel so much better and they’re much healthier,” she says.
Good quality sleep on a regular basis helps boost the immune system, helps prevent weight gain, promotes heart health, as well as increasing productivity and clarity.
Dr. Tari treats sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, shift work disorder and many other sleep disorders. For more information or to make an appointment, call (337) 528-7472.