SLEEP WEEK - Morning Crew Sleep Lab Studies

By: Stacia Naquin Email
By: Stacia Naquin Email

There are many reasons people have trouble sleeping… the wrong mattress, kids in the bed, bad sleep habits, etc. But there can also be physiological issues keeping us up as well, which is something that can be learned in a sleep lab.

So, Eric Lupher, John Harding and I each took a turn sleeping at the sleep lab for Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Colorado Springs. We were hooked up to more than 30 sensors from our legs to our heads, showing everything about the way we get our shut-eye.

Here's what the experts learned, as we were fast asleep. Let’s start with me:

“You do have what's called bruxism, which is essentially clenching your teeth,” said Dr. Steven Mohnssen, Healthsouth Sleep Center Medical Director, as he evaluated my results.

And I fell into REM sleep early. It took 51 minutes, instead of the usual 90. Dr. Mohnssen offered this explanation: “Let's say a person is not getting the hours they need long-term or the night before let's say - they can go into REM sleep, or dream sleep, early.”

Now we move onto Eric and his results.

“This person does have sleep apnea,” said Dr. Mohnssen.

Apnea, which is basically Greek for ‘no breath.’ Dr. Mohnssen went on to explain just how out of breath Eric was getting during the night.

“Twenty-one times per hour, he would either have a partial reduction in air flow or a complete reduction in air flow and the oxygen level will drop,” he said.

That can arouse the brain throughout the night, leaving you sleepy during the day.

Moving on now... to John.

“John is different than the other two studies in that he did not achieve REM sleep, or dream sleep, at all,” said Dr. Mohnssen.

That could mean the environment just wasn't conducive to sleep for him. Or it could also be connected to a different sleep issue. John also has sleep apnea. So, that’s two issues depriving him of the sleep he needs.

“Sleep deprivation from whatever cause, whether it's from sleep apnea, insomnia in general or other medical disorders really affects the workplace significantly,” said Dr. Mohnssen.

So, like many Americans, the three of us may be pushing through a big need for sleep. And it may be time to slow down.

“The American public has always been accused of being hard workers,” said Dr. Mohnssen. “And very tough and we don't need sleep... it turns out that's probably not correct."


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