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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers March 27, 2017
Pharmacy Choice - Sleep Disorders Disease State Management - March 27, 2017

Sleep Disorders State Management

In order to prepare your pharmacy for Sleep Awareness week, which occurs the first week of March, a quick review of sleep disorders, prevalence, and treatment options is a great place to begin. "Sleep disorders" is a generalized term for over 70 different disorders that generally fall into the following three categories: lack of sleep (insomnia), disturbed sleep (apnea), and excessive sleep (narcolepsy). Insomnia, which is considered the most common disorder, is believed to affect over 60 million Americans. How much sleep do we really need? According to the National Sleep Foundation children and infants ages 2 months to 12 years require between 9-18 hours, adolescents require between 8.5-9.5 hours, and adults require between 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

Sufficient sleep is currently recognized as an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health maintenance. Insufficient sleep has been associated with chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Promoting regular and consistent sleep to your patients can have a significant life-long impact on their lives. Prior to recommending OTC and supplements containing antihistamines (diphenhydramine), melatonin, or valerian root it may be worth reviewing some of the following tips with your patients:
  1. Try to go to bed and wake up at a consistent time each day to maintain your body’s circadian rhythm.
  2. Ensure that the sleep environment is quiet, dark, and relaxing.
  3. As difficult as it may be, use the bedroom for sleeping activities ONLY. Try to promote the removal of the TV, computers, and other gadgets from a person’s room of rest.
  4. void physical activity, food intake, and caffeine consumption prior to bedtime.
In the event that lifestyle modifications do not impact the patient’s ability to sleep or maintain sleep, OTC and prescription sleeping pills may be helpful. Although sleeping pills may allow a patient to get some much needed rest, they do not treat the underlying cause of insomnia or other sleeping disorders. Be sure to engage your patients in a dialogue about their sleeping problems and make appropriate recommendations on treatment options or referrals to physicians.
Links - Sleep Disorders
MedlinePlus - Overview of various sleep disorders and links to other helpful sites.

National Institue of Neurological Disorders and Stroke - Understanding sleep from a neurological aspect.

Sleep Disorder - Wikipedia - Free definitions and information about sleep disorders.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Basic Information on Sleep and Sleep Disorders.

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