Dr. 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. She has also served as an Associate Residency Program Director at UMKC SOM. She is currently a staff physician at Advent Health Shawnee Mission and Excellhealth Sleep Center.
Q: How many hours should an average adult sleep?
A: Preferably seven to eight hours, but a minimum of six hours.
Q: I am stressed amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and can’t sleep. What can I do?
A: Try to set a consistent sleep and wake up routine even if you are working from home or doing school online. Try to expose yourself to a daily dose of sunlight and do a few relaxing activities close to bedtime like stretching, listening to soft music or massaging your hands and feet with a cream or lotion. Avoid the TV or your phone. If sleep hygiene tips don’t help, try melatonin a couple hours before bedtime and contact your doctor for further advice. Digital CBT-I and/or short-term medications may be options for you.
Q: What is Covid Somnia?
A: Increased sleep disturbances in people recovering from Covid-19 and others whose lives are affected by the pandemic. It can vary from bouts of insomnia to hypersomnia, nightmares or shifts in sleep cycles. If you are experiencing the above, please contact your doctor.
Q: I tested positive for Covid-19. Do I continue to use my CPAP/BIPAP therapy?
A: Please continue to use your PAP device but make sure your partner is sleeping in a different room. PAP can help you breathe better and recover better from lung infections including COVID 19 so please don’t stop your PAP. Change your filters and sanitize your PAP after you recover.
Q: I think I have a sleep disorder, can I still do a sleep appointment or sleep testing during the pandemic?
A: Video telehealth and in person visits are available. You will be asked screening questions and have your temperature taken and require masks. We also require strict hand hygiene including washing hands on entry and sanitizer use. Home sleep testing is available, so you can do the test safely in your own home. For severe disease patients, we are arranging in-lab tests but with strict protocol.
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 the 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 cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat and heart failure. 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, anxiety and ADHD/ADD may improve once sleep disorders have been effectively treated and sufficient sleep cycles are restored.
Q: What are other common conditions associated with untreated sleep disorders?
A: Memory problems, migraine headaches, seizures, acid reflux and chronic kidney disease are some other common conditions related to sleep disorders.