AUSTIN (KXAN) - How well do you sleep?
Me? I don't have trouble getting to sleep, but on the days I switch to my morning shift at KXAN Austin News, I do awaken prematurely (4 a.m. usually), and have trouble getting back to sleep.
" Work anxiety ," the doctors call it, and it's not uncommon among those who work split-shifts.
Most of us have sleep problems occasionally. One in five men and one in seven women have chronic or consistent insomnia . That can have serious medical consequences, particularly for men -- including hypertension, diabetes and four times the risk of heart disease.
"It's more common than you probably think," said Dr. Norman Risinger, a cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin, said. "Most people don't complain about it. You would think men are better sleepers, and women are light sleepers but that's not true. Men have a lot more problems with sleep disturbances."
Those disturbances can by physiological or psychological. And insomnia does run in the family; many sleep disorders are genetic.
And was I wired in - literally.
They attached 27 electrodes to me. Some on my skull to measure brain activity. Up my nose to check oxygen intake. Around my temples to register rapid eye movement, which signals good, deep, restorative sleep. Across my chest to monitor my heart and respiration. Even on my legs to check for any thrashing.
I would be monitored all night. I tried to read myself to sleep, an apparent no-no. Seems in the act of sleeping, your body is actually very active. Any subliminal stimuli like TV or reading disturbs the sleep process.
"Turn off the TV," Risinger advised. "Don't read in bed. Going to sleep is an active process. Go to bed, turn out the light and go to sleep."
The doctor does not favor using pharmaceuticals to sleep.
"A lot of them give you really good amnesia, and they're all habit-forming," he said.
There are ways to fight insomnia:
- Regular exercise leads to better sleep
- Find the right mattress for you
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake
- Skip TV or book stimuli
- Avoid naps
- Eat regularly and have a consistent bedtime.
As for me, I learned the next morning I may have minimal insomnia. My sleep was disturbed after three hours, but that is not uncommon in a strange setting. I do not have apnea, the breathing stoppage -- good news, as that can be dangerous.
Risinger thought my uneven sleep may have been because my mind was on the work project.
He suggested I just blame the boss.
The expected winter weather has delayed initial construction work on MoPac until the rain and cold temperatures pass through.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early this morning will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.