Sleep apnea can affect anyone, although risk factors include being male, overweight, 40 years or older, smoking and having a family history of sleep apnea.

Sleep affects the way we operate in our day-to-day lives, and certain disorders can upset a normal rest routine.

Dr. Francisco Aleman of Northwest Health Services South Side Health Center said that a common sleep disorder is sleep apnea. The disorder makes it harder to breathe, which disrupts your sleep pattern.

“It affects approximately 10 to 15 percent of the population,” Aleman said. “Sleep apnea is basically partial closure of your throat muscles so that you basically stop breathing for half a second (to) a few seconds.”

Aleman said that there are multiple signs that doctors look for when diagnosing sleep apnea.

“People that have morning headaches, have excessive sleepiness during the day, are tired all day and that might have accidents at work, those are some of the things that we look for, before we consider them to be tested for if they truly have sleep apnea,” Aleman said.


Franciso Aleman said practicing a sleep routine can help with sleep disorders such as insomnia.

If you think you may have sleep apena, Aleman said it’s a good idea to have a family member or partner observe you sleeping.

“If you have a partner that can observe you, they might notice that you’re gasping during the middle of night for air,” he said.

Another common sleep disorder is insomnia, which keeps people up for prolonged periods of time and prevents healthy sleep.

“It affects about 10 percent of the population. There are multiple risks with insomnia and we have to really look at the medications that the patient’s taking and the medical conditions that they have,” Aleman said.

Practicing sleep hygiene, which involves setting a sleep routine, is one way to get a better night’s rest.

“Sleep hygiene is so important to the quality sleep and starts with making the bedroom an emphasis to be a place for sleep and sleep only,” he said. “That means usually no pets (in the bedroom), no televisions, no computers, not having any caffeine drinks after 4 o’clock in the afternoon, not exercising three hours before going to sleep and setting a bedtime.”

To learn more about proper sleep or sleep disorders, talk to your primary-care provider or visit

Abby Trapp can be reached


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