by Douglas Walter
There was no need to change out of your pajamas as the staff of St. Anthony Hospitals Sleep Disorders Centers celebrated National Sleep Awareness Week by inviting the public for sleep-ware jaunt around a Denver mall.
At least 60 people showed up the Colorado Mills Mall for Sleep Walk, an annual event that provides an opportunity for the center to bring some public awareness to the connection between getting adequate sleep and being healthy.
"We encouraged people to wear their pajamas," said Crintz Scott, the manager of the sleep lab at the Sleep Disorder Center.
"Then we walked around the mall and had milk and cookies and gave out door prizes."
She said the idea of Sleep Walk is to have a little fun while getting the public to think about the importance of having a good night’s sleep.
The event marks National Sleep Awareness Week, a National Sleep Foundation public awareness campaign now in its 10th year.
It typical coincides with daylight light savings time, when clocks spring ahead and most American settle for losing an hour of sleep.
Sleep Walk was one of many events across the county marking the week. It was a light-hearted gather, though staff from St. Anthony had a serious message to share.
Patricia Santos, CNRN, RN, gave a presentation on the connection of sleep apnea and strokes, while the general theme of the event was to educate people on the importance of sleep and how prolific sleep problems actually are in the United States.
"In this society, if you are going to let something go, it’s going to be your sleep," Scott said.
There are 70 distinct sleep disorders, among the most common being sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
Studies show that 70 million people in the United States have difficulty sleeping, according to the National Institutes of Health.
For more than half of them, it’s a chronic problem that can impact personal safety, productivity and quality of life.
In fact, half of all American women say they only get a good night’s sleep a few nights a week, while stay-at-home moms are the most likely to sleep poorly, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Doctors also believe that quality of sleep also may have impacts on coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, memory and mood, according to the Sleep Disorder Center.
The center works to educate the public on sleep disorders, through events like the Sleep Walk, as well as talk about the programs and state-of-the art facility at St. Anthony’s Sleep Disorder Centers to treat its patients.
Commonly used are polysomnograms, which is a sleep study that records brain waves, muscle and eye movements, breathing, snoring and other behavior while a patients is asleep in a private room.
Scott said the center also holds monthly support groups, featuring educational lectures on sleeping issues.
"It’s a place for people to go to get some education," she said.