Medwatch-The importance of sleep

Medwatch-The importance of sleep

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) –It's something we all need in order to keep our hearts, our minds and our bodies healthy…sleep.

We are a nation on the go. Go to work, go to school, to the store, pick up the kids...go, go, go. It's become a 24/7 lifestyle and sleep is taking a back seat.

Bill Ten Eyck has always battled the bulge. Since his 40s, he's suffered three heart attacks and watched the numbers on the scale go up and down like a yo-yo. His cardiologist couldn't figure out why his weight was fluctuating, so he suggested Ten Eyck see a sleep specialist.

"I made the assumption that my fatigue and my inability to do things was because my heart was just failing," Ten Eyck said.

Ten Eyck was diagnosed with sleep apnea. His tests found some evenings he'd stopped breathing 33 times in a single hour. He wasn't getting rest and that wasn't helping his weight. Not only does a lack of sleep zap your energy, but studies have found that sleep-deprived people just seem to eat more.

Doctors say chaotic sleep patterns tend to develop chaotic eating habits, and that can mess up your metabolism and cause you to burn less calories. Researchers have also found that people who got four hours of sleep or less a night saw a rise in the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite and causes people to eat.

"They got these patients to sleep better, and when they repeated the levels of these hormones, they found that the level diminished significantly," said Dr. Thomas Lorusso, VA Sleep Diagnostic Center.

Now, Ten Eyck is working to keep the pounds off. He uses a C-Pap device to help regulate his breathing; it blows air through his nose and keeps his airways open. He says it's been a lifesaver because for once in his life, he's getting a good night's sleep.

If you're having trouble getting a good night's rest, Comanche County Memorial Hospital has a sleep lab to help doctors diagnose sleep disorders for people in Southwest Oklahoma. It's called the Center for Sleep Medicine, and Dr. Cox will read your study and be able to help diagnosis you. To find out more, call 580-250-5354.

In other Heart Health Month news, mark your calendar for the healthy heart screenings that will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The free screening includes an electrocardiogram, heart risk assessment, waist circumference, height, weight and body mass test. For only $20, you can receive lab tests that include your A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol and triglycerides.

To make an appointment, call 580-585-5406.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.