Blog

Posts for: February, 2021

By Jeremy D McConnell, MD
February 16, 2021
Category: Sleep Disorder
Tags: Sleep Paralysis  

Here's what you should know about sleep paralysis.


Just like the name suggests, sleep paralysis can be quite unnerving. After all, you are very much awake and aware of everything around you, except you can’t move. What typically happens is the person falls back to sleep or they regain the ability to move again. If you or someone you love is dealing with this sleep issue, we know it can be scary. Our Bradenton, FL, sleep medicine specialist Dr. Jeremy McConnell can provide you with the information you need to understand this condition and how to treat it.


What is sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is a type of sleep disorder known as a parasomnia, which is impacted by rapid eye movement (REM). This condition occurs when a person experiences atonia (a loss of muscle control) while waking up or falling asleep. Some people with sleep paralysis also experience hallucinations during these periods of atonia.


Why does it happen?

While the cause of sleep paralysis is still not clear, there may be several factors involved in whether someone is at an increased risk for sleep paralysis. People with other sleep disorders, more specifically obstructive sleep apnea, were more likely to deal with sleep paralysis.

People with anxiety disorders, PTSD, or other mental health conditions were also more likely to deal with sleep paralysis, as well as those who stopped taking antidepressants or stopped consuming alcohol. If you have a family history of sleep paralysis, this may also mean that you’re more likely to deal with this sleep problem, as well.


Is sleep paralysis dangerous?

While certainly distressing, sleep paralysis is not a serious problem nor does it typically impact a person’s health. The majority of people with sleep paralysis experience periodic and very minor symptoms. The only potential concern is if a person with sleep paralysis develops anxiety around falling asleep, which causes insomnia or other sleep problems. This is where our Bradenton, FL, sleep doctors can help you figure out how to best treat your sleep problems.


How is sleep paralysis treated?

It’s important to talk with a sleep specialist to determine the best ways to treat your sleep paralysis. Creating good sleep hygiene is incredibly important and a fundamental part of treating sleep paralysis because it can improve the quality of your sleep and reduce the potential for sleep issues. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and even certain medications that suppress REM sleep may also improve sleep paralysis-related insomnia.

If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep paralysis or other signs of a sleep disorder, you must talk with a qualified sleep doctor her Bradenton, FL, who can prescribe a sleep study to diagnose and then treat the problem. To schedule an evaluation, call Florida Sleep Specialists today at (941) 792-8383.


By Jeremy D McConnell, MD
February 16, 2021
Tags: Sleep   Exercise  

How you spend your evening could play a major role in how well you sleep.


You know you need to go to sleep but you’re riveted by the show you’ve been binging on Netflix. Before you know it, it’s after midnight. You crawl into bed but you find it difficult to fall asleep. Has this ever happened to you? Chances are good it has. Our Bradenton, FL, sleep medicine specialist Dr. Jeremy McConnell sees many people who have trouble sleeping due to poor sleep habits. Here’s what you could be doing to contribute to poor sleep,


Electronics and Sleep

It seems like we spend all day, every day on our phones or in front of computer screens. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that these gadgets could also be keeping us awake at night. Everything from working late to playing video games or reading on your Kindle could affect your sleep, as the blue light that your electronics emit can suppress melatonin. This is why it’s a good idea to put all electronics away at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. If you have to use electronics, you may want to wear blue light blocking glasses at night.


Exercise and Sleep

We all know the importance and benefits of regular physical activity; however, exercising too close to bedtime could make it difficult to sleep. That’s because your body is pumping out endorphins while working out, which stimulates the brain and body. Instead of working out at night, you may want to try switching to a daytime or early afternoon workout to reap the benefits of exercise without causing sleep issues.


Mealtime and Sleep

Your diet can also impact the quality of your sleep; more specifically, when you choose to eat. Eating late at night might make you feel a bit sleepy but unfortunately, digestion can hinder your ability to actually fall asleep. This is why you should aim to eat the biggest meals during the afternoon, with a smaller meal in the evening. Make sure to load up on healthy lean protein to reduce those evening snack cravings.


If you are having trouble getting your sleep on track despite practicing good sleep hygiene, it may be time to see our Bradenton, FL, sleep specialist find out what’s going on. We can help treat any sleep disorders here at Florida Sleep Specialists. Just call us at (941) 792-8383.


By Jeremy D McConnell, MD
February 08, 2021
Category: Sleep Apnea
Tags: Sleep Apnea  

It’s important to catch sleep apnea as soon as possible to prevent serious health complications.
 

It would be more than a little frightening if you noticed that you stopped breathing or experienced pauses in breathing for several seconds at a time throughout the day; however, if you suffer from sleep apnea, this is what happens when you go to sleep at night. In fact, sleep apnea occurs in about one out of every 15 people and as many as 80 percent of those people are undiagnosed. As our Bradenton, FL, sleep medicine specialist Dr. Jeremy McConnell can tell you, it’s important that you recognize the warning signs so that you can seek the treatment you need to manage this condition.
 

The Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

You may not recognize the signs of sleep apnea, especially because you’re asleep when it’s happening; however, perhaps your bed partner has noticed some of the signs. If you are concerned about sleep apnea, you may tell your partner to be on the lookout for,
 

  • Extremely loud snoring that occurs most nights (perhaps your partner has already complained about your snoring)
  • Gasping or choking while asleep

Sleep apnea also causes a host of problems for the sufferer. So, while you may not be able to tell that you snore or that you gasp for air while you sleep, you may notice these other classic symptoms,
 

  • Extremely fatigue, particularly when waking up, despite getting enough sleep
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Dry mouth or sore throat when waking up
  • Brain fog and poor memory
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Restless sleep
  • Increase in anxiety and/or depression

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it’s time to speak with our Bradenton, Fl, sleep doctor. A simple sleep study can determine whether or not you have sleep apnea. It’s important that you don’t ignore the warning signs of sleep apnea, as untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk for,
 

  • Injuries and accidents
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke

Treating Sleep Apnea

Our sleep specialist Dr. McConnell can provide you with CPAP therapy, which is a machine that delivers pressurized air through a mask that you wear over your nose or mouth while you sleep to keep airways open. Of course, not everyone is a candidate for CPAP treatment. If so, we may discuss the possibility of using an oral device that can be worn over your upper and lower teeth while you sleep.
 

If you have questions about ways to treat sleep apnea or you are experiencing symptoms of this sleep disorder, schedule a consultation with Dr. McConnell and his team here at Florida Sleep Specialists by calling (941) 792-8383.


By Jeremy D McConnell, MD
February 05, 2021
Category: Sleep Disorder
Tags: Insomnia  

Wondering why you’re having trouble falling asleep?
 

We all experience a night of restless sleep where we toss and turn and stare at the clock wondering just how much sleep we’ll actually get if we were to fall asleep at that very moment; however, when restless sleep becomes the norm, you could be dealing with a sleep disorder known as insomnia. This is a common problem that brings many people into our office to see how our Bradenton, FL, sleep medicine specialist Dr. Jeremy McConnell can help them get better sleep.
 

If you are experiencing insomnia, it may be due to,
 

Stress
 

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that stress can affect the quality of your sleep. From experiencing a death in the family to dealing with a job you hate, these are common stressors that could keep you up at night. If you find yourself crawling into bed with worry, racing thoughts or anxiety, then stress could be to blame. It’s important to find ways to manage stress whether through counseling, support groups, meditation or breathing practices.
 

Sleep Schedule Irregularities
 

Our body’s internal clock, called the circadian rhythm, helps us to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night; however, if our body’s internal clock is off you may be having trouble falling asleep. Jet lag and night shift work are the two most common types of irregular sleep schedules that can throw off your circadian rhythm. If you travel regularly for work or if you are a night-shift worker you may wish to talk with our Bradenton, FL, sleep doctor to find out ways to improve the quality of your sleep.
 

Bad Habits
 

You’ve probably heard the term “sleep hygiene”. Just as you practice good oral hygiene in order to keep teeth and gums healthy you also have to have good habits and practices around sleep. Here are some habits to adopt for better sleep:
 

  • Do not eat about three hours before going to bed
  • Only use your bed for sleep
  • Wind down in the evening and avoid mentally stimulating work or activities
  • Power down electronics about 2-3 hours before sleep
  • Avoid napping in the afternoon, particularly if you have trouble sleeping at night
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day (even on weekends)

Don’t let insomnia rob you of the sleep you deserve. Dr. McConnell and his sleep medicine team here in Bradenton, FL, can help. Simply call Florida Sleep Specialists at (941) 792-8383 and let us know that you are dealing with insomnia. We would be happy to schedule an evaluation for you.