Most of us can cope with an occasional night of poor sleep spent tossing and turning. But when that happens night after night, a sleep disorder may be to blame. Insomnia, the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, affects one out of every three American adults at varying times during their lives. About 10 percent of these people have ongoing sleep issues that last for weeks, months or even years.
Lydia Wytrzes, M.D., a sleep medicine physician with the Sutter Medical Foundation, knows all too well the struggles insomniacs face when trying to get a good night’s sleep. Patients go to her for help when they are unable to sleep and their quality of life has started to suffer.
“Most of us need seven to eight hours of sleep in order to feel rested, engaged and most productive during the day,” Dr. Wytrzes says. “People who are chronically sleep deprived have cognitive complaints that include problems with focus, concentration and memory. But they can also have problems with mood such as feeling cranky, irritable and depressed.”