How important is sleep amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Maniza Ehtesham, MD, FACP at Excellhealth Sleep Center
Maniza Ehtesham, MD, FACP at Excellhealth Sleep Center

8901 W 74th St., Suite 350 Overland Park | 913.203.4040 |


Dr. Maniza Ehtesham is a board-certified sleep physician and the medical director at Excellhealth Sleep Center. She is an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and enjoys teaching medical students and residents. She has also served as an associate residency program director at UMKC. She is currently a staff physician at Advent Health Shawnee Mission and Excellhealth Sleep Center.

Sleep Disorders

Q: How many hours should an average adult sleep?

A: Preferably seven to eight hours but a minimum of six hours.

Q: How important is sleep amid coronavirus pandemic?

A: Sleep improves your immunity. In addition to eating immune boosting foods and adding exercise daily –getting your 7-8 hours of sleep is very important for your immune system to function optimally.

Q: I am anxious amidst this COVID 19 pandemic and can’t sleep. What should I do?

A: Try to set a sleep and wake up routine even though you may be working from home or doing school online. Try to do a few relaxing activities close to bedtime like stretching, listening to soft music, massaging your hands and feet with a lavender based cream or lotion and not watching TV or reading on your phone at bedtime. If sleep hygiene tips don’t help, try melatonin and contact your doctor for further advice.

Q: Amidst the coronavirus I have more time on hand and I can nap. Is this ok?

A: Yes, that is okay, but try to keep naps limited to 20-30 min. Long naps can disrupt your night time sleep and are best avoided.

Q: I think I have a sleep disorder. Can I still do a sleep appointment or sleep testing during the pandemic?

A:Yes, video telehealth visits are available and some in person visits are available as well. Home sleep testing is also available, so yes, you can do the test safely in your own home. For severe disease patients we are arranging for in lab tests also.

Q: How do I know I may have a sleep disorder?

A: Common symptoms include snoring, gasping/choking in sleep, excessive sleepiness or naps in day, attention/concentration/focus/memory problems during daytime, weight gain, trouble with sleep onset or maintaining sleep, frequent awakenings, frequent urination at night, headaches, decreased productivity at work, nightmares, acting out dreams, restless legs etc.

Q: What are the risks of leaving a sleep disorder untreated?

A: Sleep disorders have been linked to many chronic diseases. Persons with sleep apnea have been found to be at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, irregular heartbeat and strokes. Laboratory research and epidemiologic studies have found that short sleep duration results in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity and diabetes. Studies have also indicated that depression may decrease once sleep disorders have been effectively treated and sufficient sleep cycles are restored. The interrelatedness of sleep and depression suggests that irregular sleep is a driver for this disease.

Q: What are some other other common conditions associated with untreated sleep problems?

A: Memory problems, dementia, acid reflux, chronic kidney disease, anxiety, depression, ADHD/ADDare some of the other problems associated with poor sleep. Sleep apnea/sleep disorders can contribute to seizures and migraine headaches as well.

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