In-depth report: 80 million Americans don’t get enough sleep

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — There is little doubt that sleeplessness is a serious issue.

Drowsy driving is a factor in thousands of fatal car crashes, and sleep deprivation increases the risk of stroke, heart attacks and other health problems including diabetes, weight gain and depression.

The Centers for Disease Control claims as many as 80-million Americans are not getting enough sleep.

This lack of sleep is clearly a public health problem, according to El Camino hospital’s Dr. Tony Masri.

One in 15 Americans have sleep apnea, and insomnia is even more common.

The El Camino sleep lab can diagnose both of these disorders, and a range of others.

For one sleep lab patient, Rachel Melia, the sleeping troubles began because of her snoring husband, who was diagnosed with sleep apnea.

He now sleeps with a c-pap device, and Rachel underwent polysomnography, a process involving the monitoring of brain and muscle activity during sleep.

Dr. Masri designed a ‘cognitive behavior therapy’ specific to Rachel’s needs.

This included changes in sleep hygiene, like limiting TV and e-mail, and implementing a “wind-down” period and some stretching exercises just before going to bed.

We should go to bed when we’re sleepy, not just tired, suggests Dr. Masri.

He also suggests setting a wake-up time, as opposed to a bed time because people can’t catch up on lost sleep simply by going to bed an hour earlier.

Rachel was so pleased with the results, that she now blogs about the increased quality of sleep on her Facebook page.