National Sleep Awareness Week (March 5-12, 2017) is held each year by the National Sleep Foundation in anticipation of Daylight Savings Time (March 12, 2017). While this awareness initiative encourages Americans to adjust their sleep schedule before switching their clocks back, it also sheds light on the importance of a proper sleep schedule and strategies to overcome the most common sleep disorders.
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit covers a huge range of qualifying medical products and services that can improve your sleep cycle. Make National Sleep Awareness Week the catalyst to deep, restful sleep throughout 2017. Let's explore the most common sleep disorders and the ways that an FSA can help you get the shuteye you need to stay healthy.
As many as half of American adults snore during sleep, which occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in the throat, causing them to vibrate during sleep to create the harsh sounds that could disturb your partner's sleep. In addition to being a nuisance to your sleeping partner, snoring can also be the sign of an underlying health problem like obstructive sleep apnea or another major medical issue. It is recommended that you visit your doctor to find out the underlying source of your snoring, but in most cases snoring can clear up by living a healthier lifestyle by losing weight, quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol before bedtime.
It is estimated that more than 18 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea, or about 1 in 15 adults. This condition causes breathing pauses during the sleep cycle due to obstructed airways, which can lead to other problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke over time. In severe cases, surgery is an option, but most cases of sleep apnea are controlled through specialized CPAP breathing machines and masks, mouth guards and other devices that are worn during the night. These products and accessories are FSA-eligible and could be a solution for various forms of sleep apnea.
Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but those who suffer from significant sleep issues called insomnia may have trouble coming close to this pivotal number. Short-term insomnia (which lasts days or weeks) can be caused by stress or a traumatic event, while long-term insomnia could last for a month or more and could be the sign of an underlying medical condition. In addition to FSA eligible over-the-counter sleep aids and prescription medications, FSAs can also cover the cost of cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep studies, acupuncture and many other treatments that could alleviate insomnia.
Bruxism is a surprisingly common disorder that involves the grinding of the teeth during sleep that can lead to tooth damage, as well as contributing to other sleep disorders like snoring, jaw disorders, headaches and other problems. In most cases, Bruxism does not require treatment unless it is severe, in which case dental surgery, therapies and medications are the most common course of action. Overnight dental mouth guards are the most common over-the-counter remedy, which keep teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and grinding.
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