According to a study by the CDC, about one-fourth of New Mexicans in the Mesilla Valley and central portion of the state do not receive enough sleep. A local doctor specializing in sleep sat down with KRWG News to discuss the challenges he sees from people who walk into his office with sleep problems...as well as the problems he faces with insurance companies.
It’s no secret we live in a 24/7 world. Even in Las Cruces, where you can still see the stars at night, there are a few places open late and many of keep our electronics on late into the night.
At the sleep lab of Las Cruces, Dr. Paul Feil looks over data from a patient’s recent sleep study.
He says the study of sleep has come a long way…especially in the last 30 years.
“Historically people would be diagnosed with narcolepsy…but now that’s rare, rare, rare,” said Feil.
“At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, sitting down at my desk…tired after working all day. Dr. Feil says that’s completely normal. But he says it could be a sign of something more serious for people who get tired at other times of the day or who fall asleep doing things like driving.”
Being so tired you’re impaired can be a sign of serious sleep deprivation and it can also be a sign of a disorder called sleep apnea….one of the common problems people come see him for.
“We all have insomnia periods…it’s actually fairly normal…You may have acid reflux. You have a big enchilada before going to bed and you wake up with insomnia because you have acid reflux. But if you have sleep apnea, you wake up with acid reflux even without the enchilada.”
While caring for patients’ problems, Feil, like many doctors with a private practice, has problems of his own with insurance companies.
“Let’s say significant apnea is diagnosed. Each insurance policy has a different way of looking at it so there may be 100 to 500 approaches to that diagnosis…pay for the machinery and pay for the machinery in the range of their 80 – 20 deductibles and the like.
The codes are about as complicated as medical school. It’s enough to keep Feil up at night.
“These masks are 100 dollars and if you look at the material, it’s not there… it’s not right, but at the same time, you know, we’ve got to take care of people.”
A CDC phone survey found that around a quarter of Mesilla Valley residents don’t get enough sleep… 14 nights or fewer of good sleep.
But they actually get more compared to the eastern and northwestern corners of the state.
And the CDC says more than one third of U.S. Adults report sleeping less than 7 hours per night.
One-third of people in the U.S. receive less than 7 hours.
The science of sleep is still evolving, but there is one thing about our bodies that is slow to change in the thousands of years without one thing around. --
“Electricity…which is not something humans grew up with…Ideally, people would be awake in the day and sleep at night.”
More information and links can be found at sleeplc.com