Sleepless in El Paso
POSTED: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 10:34pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 1:18pm
Mom always said: get a good night's sleep. But with financial woes, stress from violence across the border, and health issues, that's not always possible for some people here in El Paso.
"I read up on it and I heard you could die from it," said Timothy Osborne. He has been in the military for over a decade, but it's not just the high-pressure job keeping him up at night.
"I have some concerns about my sleeping because I wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air."
Osborne most likely has sleep apnea - when you stop breathing because of a blocked airway.
El Paso Sleep Center diagnoses and treats patients with sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy. And it's not just to help people feel more rested; it's to prevent tragedies such as someone getting behind the wheel and falling asleep.
"It's very important to sleep well at night," said Dr. Gonzalo Diaz, owner of the Sleep Center. "If you don't pay attention to your sleep, your body doesn't function well."
Dr. Diaz has seen about a 15% increase in the number of patients. It may be attributed to stress from the economy and violence next door, as well as our eating habits.
"Well when you have stress you have an increase in insomnia cases and also El Paso has very high overweight, obesity," Dr. Diaz said.
But Dr. Diaz said these problems are nothing to lose sleep over because of the damage it can do to your health.
"That lack of oxygen can affect your heart, you can die at night," he said.
Lack of sleep also messes up your metabolism and can cause weight gain - something Osborne can't afford.
"I actually do a lot of coordination and if I'm not on top of what I do, then you know, we have issues," Osborne said.
Osborne said he doesn't mind getting fitted with a mask if it'll transform his sleep schedule.
"Whatever it takes to get me diagnosed or whatever I have, if I have a problem," Osborne said.
Dr. Diaz said most insurance companies cover the cost of the sleep studies.