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Beth Battaglino, RN-C, CEO of HealthyWomen

Beth brings a unique combination of sharp business expertise and women's health insight to her leadership of the organization. Beth has worked in the health care industry for more than 25 years helping to define and drive public education programs on a broad range of women's health issues. She launched and has expanded the brand. As a result of her leadership, HealthyWomen was recognized as one of the top 100 women's health web sites by Forbes for three consecutive years, and was recognized by Oprah magazine as one of the top women's health web sites. HealthyWomen now connects to millions of women across the country through its wide program distribution and innovative use of technology.

Beth is responsible for the business development and strategic positioning of HealthyWomen. She creates partnerships with key health care professionals and consumer groups to provide strategic, engaging and informative award-winning programs. She serves as the organization's chief spokesperson, regularly participating in corporate, non-profit, community and media events. She also is a practicing nurse in maternal child health at Riverview Medical Center- Hackensack Meridian Health, in Red Bank, NJ.

In addition to her nursing degree, Beth holds degrees in political science, business and public administration from Marymount University.

To stay sane, she loves to run and compete in road races. She enjoys skiing and sailing with her husband and young son, and welcoming new babies into the world.

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Should You Visit a Sleep Clinic?

Should You Visit a Sleep Clinic?

If you have difficulty sleeping or don't wake feeling refreshed, it may be time to visit a sleep clinic.

Self-Care & Mental Health

When was the last time you got a good night's sleep?

Although you may sleep the seven to nine recommended hours each night, that doesn't necessarily equate to feeling refreshed: 35 percent of Americans report that they're getting only "poor" or "fair" sleep quality, and another 20 percent don't wake up refreshed after a full night's sleep.

And the statistics from the National Institutes of Health are even more alarming: they report that 50 million to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems. Hardly a sunny scenario for sleep.

Does this all mean we need more sleep? Maybe not.

Or should we blame poor sleep on our health, stress, noise, a snoring partner or drinking too much coffee too late in the day? Maybe not (again).

Chronic sleep deprivation is far-reaching. It is linked to poor health, a weakened immune system and impaired moods, judgment, safety and productivity. If you can't find a reason for your sleep troubles and are looking for an answer to the poor quality or quantity of it, then it may be time to consider a visit to a sleep clinic.

Sleep specialists can help you determine what is getting in the way of a good night's sleep, because they're specially trained in sleep medicine and sleep disorders. Although your primary care physician can begin to evaluate you for some disorders, a sleep specialist is equipped to handle a more extensive assessment and subsequent treatment.

Do you need to see one? The National Sleep Foundation says that if you answer "yes" to any of these questions, a visit to a sleep clinic might be in order:

  1. Do you frequently have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep?
  2. Do you have a problem with snoring, or has anyone ever told you that you have pauses in breathing or that you gasp for breath when you sleep?
  3. Are your legs "active" at night? Do you experience tingling, creeping, itching, pulling, aching or other strange feelings in your legs while sitting or lying down that gives you the urge to move, walk or kick your legs for relief?
  4. Are you so tired when you wake up in the morning that you struggle to function normally during the day?
  5. Do sleepiness and fatigue last for more than two to three weeks?

Sleep studies usually take place overnight, in a hospital or an independent facility. Ideally, you want the facility to be accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. To find a list, click here.

What to expect: The overnight sleep study (also known as a polysomnography) is painless and noninvasive. It will record your brain waves, the oxygen levels in your blood, your heart rate, breathing and eye and leg movements. You'll sleep in a dark, quiet and private room, similar to a hotel room, with its own bathroom. It's private in that you won't share it with anyone, other than a video camera: This is placed there so that the technologists can observe your movements while you sleep. There's also an audio system so you can communicate with one another.

You'll be able to sleep in your own PJs (no hospital gowns required) and bring any items you normally use for your bedtime routine. Once you're ready to lie down, you'll be wired with sensors on various parts of your body like your scalp, temples, chest and legs, and your finger or ear will sport a small clip, which monitors oxygen levels in your blood. Sometimes, if sleep apnea is suspected, you'll be asked to try a positive airway pressure, or PAP, machine during the night to test out its effectiveness.

Following the visit, the physician should be able to diagnose your condition and suggest treatment so that you no longer suffer from sleep problems. Treatments may include medications, medical devices such as PAPs or dental appliances to help with snoring. Treatment may also include nonmedical approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy.

And remember, there are so many other things you can do to help sleep better. Lifestyle improvements like improving your diet, adjusting bedtime rituals, reducing your alcohol intake, increasing physical exercise and more can all contribute to getting a better night's sleep.

Good to Know: To be certified as a sleep specialist, a physician must undergo formal training and pass an exam in sleep disorders. To check if your sleep physician is certified, click here or here.

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