Sleep Connection

Sleep We all need it. Yet most of us don’t get enough.

Mostly we rob ourselves of sleep. Our rushed lives take huge tolls. According to a study done by the American Sleep Foundation, nearly two thirds of American adults (62 percent) have trouble sleeping a few nights per week. Close to half (43 percent) say their sleep problems interfere with daily activities at least occasionally, while one in five adults complains of daytime sleepiness a few days a week or more.

Today there are treatments for most sleep problems. But first you need to recognize that a problem exists. Then you can seek a cause and find an appropriate treatment. For many, simple lifestyle changes will help ensure adequate rest.

But if you’re one of the 40 million Americans suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, or restless leg syndrome, you may need referral to a sleep specialist. Left untreated, sleep disorders can reduce your daytime productivity, increase your risk of accidents, and put you at risk for illness and even premature death.

There are a number of great Internet Web sites with helpful information available on sleep topics.

A great place to start your research, the National Sleep Foundation’s Web site (www.sleepfoundation.org) is user-friendly and informative. An independent nonprofit organization that supports education, research, and advocacy in the sleep field, NSF is dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders.

Here you will find current news features, articles, and publications by leading researchers in the sleep field, and information on many sleep disorders. There are poll results and interactive quizzes, too. Sleep Links includes patient support and advocacy groups as well as other professional organizations.

Another excellent site is www.coloradohealth site.org. The layout is very user-friendly, the information well presented. You’ll find definitions, facts, and statistics, and links to treatment providers and support services. There’s an extensive list of links in the library section.

Sleepnet (www.sleepnet.com) is an educational, noncommercial site devoted to improving sleep health. Here you will find facts about and tests for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and insomnia. There are many forums where people with sleep disorders can read and post messages. Included is a rated list of other Web sites, as well as references to many books about sleep.

MEDLINE Plus’s Sleep Disorders Page (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sleepdisorders.html) is provided by the United States National Library of Medicine. Included here are links to excellent articles, sleep organizations, sleep research, and clinical trials. The news section at the top of the page contains features from the past two months. There’s even an interactive tutorial.

A related government site is the National Center of Sleep Disorders Research at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ about/ncsdr/. Part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the center conducts research and includes information about current research studies, professional education, and patient and public information. The last two sections contain links to various publications. The “Test Your Sleep IQ,” found in the patient and public information section, is a fun interactive quiz.

Stanford University sponsors many sleep disorders sites. The Sleep Well (www.stanford.edu~dement/) is well worth a visit. Although it hasn’t been updated recently and will be merging soon with (www.sleep quest.com, it is very well-organized and packed with lots of information. You have to scroll down a ways on the first page to get to the helpful index.

Their links page, at www.stanford.edu/~dement/ sleeplinks.html, is very extensive. Listed here are links to many sleep disorders support groups, sleep disorders centers, sleep organizations, related professional organizations, state/regional societies and associations, and schools of sleep medicine education. Also check out www.med.stanford.edu/school/psychiatry/coe/, their Center of Excellence for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Disorders; the Sleep Education Page at www.go2sleep.com; and their student page, “Sleepless at Stanford” (www.stanford.edu/~dement/sleepless.html), which describes some key facts about sleep, biological rhythms, and sleep deprivation.

Two commercial sites have fairly good information. Talk About Sleep (www.talkaboutsleep.com) is an informational community providing material on healthy sleep and sleep disorders. You’ll find many support chat groups here for various sleep disorders. Kerrin Leon White, M.D. (www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/4752/index.html), is an older site maintained by a doctor who describes himself as one with a severe sleep disorder. This site contains older abstracts and reviews on medical research about sleep disorders. Dr. White’s newer work has been incorporated into the Talk About Sleep site.

The Sleep Medicine Home Page (www.users.cloud9.net/~thorpy/) is not exaggerating when it claims to list resources on all aspects of sleep. All this site contains is a list of links to other sites. You’ll find links to sleep-related news groups and discussion groups, foundations and organizations, research sites, sleep disorders centers on the world, schools of sleep education, medications, brochures, and other literature.