Sleep Disorders Entering The Mainstream
It happened when I was sitting with my son on the couch watching TV. (Something that does not happen often as my son is 17 and I am not cool.) While we were watching Bones, a commercial for Men of a Certain Age came on and I saw what I thought was something amazing. There on the character's nightstand was a CPAP machine.
I was excited. My son thought I was nuts. What it comes down to, I tried to explain, was that sleep and sleep disorders are becoming more accepted in the mainstream.
People are afraid of what they do not know. Over the past year, we have had more people come forward to talk about their experience with sleep studies (both good and bad), their CPAP machines, and their snoring. As more people become educated and accept that these are disorders that many people have, I think more people will go to be treated.
The fact that there is treatment that does not include taking a pill seems to make our field different. To some people, the CPAP machine seems to be a way of treating their disorder without adding another pill.
Some people even are seeking out preventative care. They understand that if they treat their sleep apnea, other health issues may improve. In a culture where preventative care is becoming more popular this also helps people to accept treatment for sleep disorders.
Snoring once was thought of as something all men do. It was a joke that Uncle Harry can be heard all over the house when he falls asleep in the recliner watching the evening news. But because of mainstream coverage of sleep disorders, men are learning that snoring isn't always benign and women now are learning that they do not have to be tired all the time, there are treatments that can help them.
Of course not all of this publicity is good. I was told there is a current horror movie that includes a sleep study in it. But let's face it; the fact that there is enough public understanding that it could be included in the movie says we are moving toward the mainstream in public awareness.