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Americans Losing Sleep

By Eileen Buckley

Williamsville, NY – If you are awake, but feeling like you didn't get enough sleep last night, you are not alone. Monday begins National Sleep Awareness Week.

Dr. Daniel Rifkin is with Amherst Sleep Medicine. He said adults and children are simply not getting enough sleep.

"We all need to recognize the fact that sleep is purely essential and it is not just a luxury, said" Rifkin. "It's a necessity."

In fact, Dr. Rifkin said a lack of sleep among children has become an "epidemic". And according to Rifkin, children require more than eight hours of sleep.

Dr. Rifkin said there is also a push for parents to recognize if their child is snoring or experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea. A recent study has linked loud snoring and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in children.

"Children who do not get enough sleep manifest their sleepiness as excess, hyperactive behavior, or bouncing off the walls," said Rifkin. "When adults are sleepy they actually manifest it with heavy eyes and sedentary behavior."

Dr. Rifkin said many adults also suffer from sleeping disorders, like insomnia. For those who twist and turn all night and can't seem to fall asleep, the worst thing to do is "look at the clock," said Rifkin.

"We look at the clock and say 'it's 2' o' clock in the morning, I have only slept for a couple of hours, I have to get up for work.' Then what happens is the whole brain starts this alerting behavior," said Rifkin.

He adds that there are over eighty sleep disorders. The Amherst Sleep Medicine Center in Williamsville is an indication that plenty of people are not sleeping properly.

The Center is an expansion of the Sleep Disorder Center of Western New York at Millard Fillmore Gates in Buffalo. There is also a sleep lab at Brooks Memorial in Dunkirk.

National Sleep Awareness Week is April 1-7. The National Sleep Foundation has more information available on-line at http://www.nsaw.org