As seen in the March/April issue of Advancing Care
How much sleep should I be getting?
Lisa McKevitt, RRT, RPSGT, RST, Clinical Manager of the Sleep Center at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) in Poughkeepsie, says good sleep hygiene means seven to eight hours on a regular schedule in “a dark, quiet, cool environment. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and screen time close to bedtime.”
What are common sleep disorders?
One common disorder, sleep apnea, indicates airway closure, says McKevitt, while “EDS (excessive daytime sleepiness) negatively impacts cognitive functioning, especially when operating machinery,” she says. Testing and treatment at a sleep center are advised.
Are night terrors a medical condition?
Children (and some adults) experience parasomnias (a medical term for night terrors and sleepwalking) in non-REM sleep. “They occur when the child is caught in the transition between sleep and wake,” says Priya Prashad, MD, a sleep specialist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, also a member of WMCHealth.
“Night terrors and sleepwalking usually occur due to disruptions in sleep — a later bedtime, nighttime awakenings, illness or sleeping in an unfamiliar environment (which may include vacations and friends’ houses),” she cautions. Take safety measures for sleepwalking: Use a bell, alarm or extra locks on doors/windows; advise parents when your child is at a sleepover; and when vacationing, request a first-story room. Although fairly common, night terrors are normally benign, and children usually do not recall them. •