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American Forces Press Service News Article

Daytime Dozing: Something to Wake Up About

By Lisa E. Stafford 
American Forces Press Service 
	WASHINGTON -- Do you feel drowsy at mid-morning? In the 
afternoon? At work after a heavy lunch? Or all the time, even when you 
think you've had a full night's rest? Your problem may be a sleeping 
	Excessive daytime sleepiness, or EDS, is the prime symptom of a 
number of disorders, including narcolepsy and apnea. Victims can't 
stay awake in the day even after getting "enough" sleep at night. They 
may fall asleep uncontrollably at inappropriate times and places.  
	"Due to greater public awareness of sleep disorders, the Navy has 
seen an increase in the number of referrals for service members and 
their families with sleep disorders," said Navy Dr. (Capt.) D. R. 
Kang, specialty leader for Otolarynology and residency program 
director at Naval Medical Center San Diego. "The shift work schedules 
of many Navy personnel can affect the quality of their sleep and 
possibly lead to insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness." 
	The Navy addresses sleep disorders via sleep laboratories and 
various medical specialists with backgrounds in neurology, pulmonology 
or otolarynology. The Navy has two sleep labs that specifically treat 
active duty service members with sleep disorders. One is at Naval 
Medical Center San Diego and the other at National Naval Medical 
Center Bethesda. Other naval hospitals send patients out to civilian 
sleep labs for evaluation. 
	The Naval Medical Center San Diego sleep lab has plans to do a 
pilot study of sleep patterns in service members with closed head 
injury. The lab is also interested in looking at sleep patterns and 
the effect of low ambient light exposure on some Navy ships and 
	"I think it is good that there is finally more attention on sleep 
disorders," Kang said. "It would certainly help more people to get a 
better night's sleep." 
	This issue is especially important in military settings, where 
service members must be alert at all times, particularly during 
military operations.  
	"EDS interferes with a person's ability to concentrate and 
perform daily tasks and routines. People often report feelings of low 
esteem, frustration and anger about being misunderstood," said Dr. 
Michael J. Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at 
Montefiore Medical Center in New York. People with some sleeping 
disorders also tend to have problems with their social, work and 
family relationships, he said. 
	According to a new National Sleep Foundation Gallup survey, about 
one-third of American adults -- 63 million -- operate at levels of 
sleepiness considered hazardous by a scientifically validated sleep 
measurement by the American Board of Sleep Medicine. 
	"Car accidents caused [by drivers] falling asleep at the wheel 
tend to be deadlier than other crashes and account for at least 
100,000 police-reported crashes and 1,500 deaths a year in the United 
States," Thorpy said. "Moreover, sleepiness contributes to 
inattention, which accounts for one-sixth of all accidents." 
	Being tired all the time is not something to dismiss, foundation 
experts said, yet 36 percent of those surveyed believe afternoon 
sleepiness is normal. Feeling tired or sleepy can negatively affect 
productivity, but most of those surveyed who experienced daytime 
sleepiness didn't consider it serious enough to consult a doctor, the 
survey said. 
	In the survey, 82 percent of adults reported taking measures to 
stay awake; 70 percent said they drank coffee or other caffeinated 
beverages. Naps were surprisingly popular, with nearly one in five 
reporting at least one a day.  
	"EDS can be a symptom of a medical condition such as insomnia and 
is also characteristic of several sleep disorders," said Christine 
Englehardt, executive director of the American Sleep Apnea 
Association. "Nearly 95 percent of individuals who suffer from sleep 
disorders go undiagnosed and untreated," Thorpy said. The condition is 
rarely caused by psychological or psychiatric disorders such as 
depression, he said. However, several sleep disorders associated with 
EDS include:  
	o Narcolepsy, a disorder affecting a part of the brain that 
regulates sleep and wakefulness. It affects an estimated 200,000 adult 
Americans. Narcolepsy usually begins in the second decade of life and, 
once it appears, is a life-long condition.  
	o Sleep apnea, a disorder that causes a person to repeatedly stop 
breathing for short periods during sleep. Victims are often unaware 
they've stopped breathing and won't awaken whether they resume 
breathing quietly or in explosive gasps and snores. These disruptions 
prevent deep, refreshing sleep. An obstructed airway is the most 
common cause of apnea. Approximately 12 million Americans, mostly men, 
have sleep apnea.  
	o Restless Legs Syndrome consists of involuntary movements of the 
legs, feet and or toes during sleep. Victims are often not aware of 
these movements and often complain of several other symptoms such as 
insomnia and EDS.  
	o Circadian Rhythm Disorder affects about 70 percent of the 25 
million Americans who work night shifts or other nontraditional 
schedules. While a day has 24 hours, most people's bodies 
unconsciously operate on a sleep-wake rhythm of 27 to 28 hours, and 
while they adapt to a night schedule, their bodies still "prefer" to 
be awake in daylight. The disorder interrupts a person's "body clock" 
rhythm. It can take different forms and, for instance, can be as 
simple as delayed sleep phase syndrome, in which a person gets totally 
off kilter by progressively going to sleep later and awakening later. 
	You can consult one of the following for sleep disorders: 
	American Sleep Disorders Association 
	1610 14th St., NW, Suite 300 
	Rochester, MN 55901 
	E-mail: ASDA@asda.org 
	Web site: http://www.asda.org 
	American Sleep Apnea Association 
	2025 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 905 
	Washington, DC 20006  
	Phone: (202) 293-3650 
	Fax: (202) 293-3656 
	Web site: http://www.sleepapena.org 
	Narcolepsy Network 
	P.O. Box 42460 
	Cincinnati, OH 45242 
	Phone: (513) 891-3522 
	Fax: (513) 891-9936  
	Web site: http://www.websciences.org/narnet 
	National Sleep Foundation 
	729 15th St., NW, 4th Floor 
	Washington, DC 20005 
	E-mail: natsleep@erols.com 
	Web site: http://www.sleepfoundation.org 
	Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, Inc. 
	PO Box 7050, Department CP 
	Rochester, MN 55903-7050 
	Web site: http://www.rls.org 

Updated: 14 Jan 2003
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