It’s no secret that farmers are up with the sun, working tiring days in the field. You might think that someone who dozes off in the recliner early each evening will get plenty of rest and feel invigorated the next day – so why do they still wake up sleepy?

Many people are tired of being tired, so there are teams of sleep professionals dedicated to make sure your shut-eye is where it should be.

“If you truly get a good night’s sleep, you should wake up refreshed and feeling great, ready to face the world,” said Terry Hicks, coordinator of Cox Branson’s Sleep Lab. “If you continually wake up after a full rest feeling tired, you need to get checked out.”

One of the most common sleep disorders Hicks sees in his patients is sleep apnea, a condition where a person stops breathing, sometimes for up to one-and-a-half minutes at a time. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of the affliction, is typically marked by loud snoring, waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat, morning headache, difficulty staying asleep, attention problems and irritability.

The condition often carries a 10-year mortality rate if left untreated because, over time, it takes a toll on your heart. In fact, research shows having sleep apnea for four or five years raises a person’s risk of having a heart attack or dying by 30 percent.

Many cases of sleep apnea are easily treated with a nasal continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). This mask provides a steady flow of air, keeping the air passage open and prevents airway collapse and apnea. Testing for apnea is one of the most common test conducted at a sleep lab during an overnight study. The patient stays the night at the lab while a technician monitors their breathing, heart rate, limb movements, oxygen levels, EEG and eye movements.

The next morning, a health-care provider meets with the patient to go over the preliminary results of their study.

“Patients are concerned when you tell them they may stop breathing at night,” Jill Fritz, a nurse practitioner, said. “I believe that by giving results the same day as their sleep study; I am able to develop a relationship with the patients and educate them on the disease process and help troubleshoot their concerns.”

The lack of healthy sleep can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Here are several warning signs that you might need a sleep evaluation:

  1. You snore and your snoring can be heard in adjacent rooms.
  2. You snore every night or at least three to four times per week.
  3. Others have noticed you quit breathing or struggle to breathe while you sleep.
  4.  You fight to stay alert while driving.
  5. You take medication for high blood pressure.
  6. Your BMI is greater than 29. If you do not know your BMI, you can ask your physician or use the BMI calculator tool.

Answering “yes” to any of the above questions could indicate the potential for obstructive sleep apnea, and you should contact your healthcare provider.

Brandei Clifton is the communications coordinator for corporate communications at CoxHealth.

Brandei CliftonFarm HelpBrandei Clifton,Cox Health,farmers,sleep,sleep apneaIt’s no secret that farmers are up with the sun, working tiring days in the field. You might think that someone who dozes off in the recliner early each evening will get plenty of rest and feel invigorated the next day – so why do they still wake up...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma