MLA’s Report: Sleep your way to better health

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick to host public health forum on the importance of getting a good night' sleep for our wellbeing.

  • Nov. 19, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Norm Letnick.

Norm Letnick/Contributor

Ten years ago, after 25 years of marriage, Helene and I found ourselves shopping for our first set of twin beds.

The night before, some time after we had turned in, I found myself asking her, “When are you going to quit tossing around?” That question marked the end of our time sharing a king-size bed.

Because while I fall asleep easily, my spouse isn’t as lucky – and she, with others like her, feels the impact it has on her quality of life.

The fact is, sleep is vitally important to our physical and emotional health.

For many of us, sleep deprivation is linked to our lifestyles – whether we have jobs that require us to work late, enjoy indulging in late-night television, or just have difficulty settling down at night.

Some sleep problems, however, are more serious and require accurate diagnosis and treatment. These include: sleep-related breathing problems, including snoring and sleep apnea; insomnia; restless leg syndrome and muscle twitches; and parasomnias such as sleep walking or night terrors.

Whatever the cause may be, we all know a poor night’s sleep can have implications for our mood and our performance at work or at school.

But lack of sleep can also compromise our immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to illness and infection, and it can increase our risk of weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes. Consistent trouble sleeping can also increase stress and anxiety.

The stakes are high – for our quality of life as well as for our health. And with 35 percent of adults experiencing sleep problems at least occasionally, I think it’s an issue worth addressing.

That’s why I’ve asked Dr. Stephen Bray and Dr. Ron Cridland of the Kelowna Sleep Clinic to join me for a community health forum on the subject of sleep.

Drs. Cridland and Bray have extensive experience in their field, and are well qualified to talk us through the finer points of the consequences of sleep deprivation and sleep apnea, and how to get a healthy night’s rest by using non-pharmacological means to manage sleep problems.

Both Cridland and Bray have seen the difference that healthy sleep patterns can make in their patients’ quality of life, and are eager to share their knowledge for our benefit.

Further resources for addressing sleep problems or improving your sleeping habits can be found at HealthLink BC (www.healthlinkbc.ca), which has a wealth of easily-accessible information. The Kelowna Sleep Clinic is also a valuable resource. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, a doctor may refer you to the Clinic for a consultation – your Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers all physician visits and sleep studies.

I hope you’ll come join us for our health forum on Wednesday, Nov.23, from 7 to 9 p.m, at Winfield Memorial Hall, 10130 Bottom Wood Lake Rd.

Admission is free, and there’s no need to register.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 250-765-8516.

 

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