Mary Kmak has turned her life around and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way.


Hello Readers,

Do you know how important sleep is to your physical and mental health? I never did until I took the TMC Wellness Programs. I thought I was going to learn about the proper ways to lose weight and found myself amazed not only to learn the correct ways of making a healthy nutritious lifestyle change, but also learned a life experience change that included the importance of living well.

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Studies have shown sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of appetite-related hormones leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is secreted by cells in the stomach and promotes hunger before an expected meal. Leptin is produced by adipocytes (fat cells) and is involved in the regulation of body fat. When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin is decreased and this affects your appetite. (1)

It’s not just your appetite that’s affected by sleep deprivation. Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. For example if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections such as a cold or the flu. When you are asleep your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress.Sleep deprivation may decrease production of cytokines.  (2)Getting a good night’s rest helps you function well throughout the day.

Sleep deficiency affects your daily routine, your focus, decision-making, and your control over your emotions. Does this sound familiar? If it does then it’s time to discuss sleep with your doctor. Before you do, doctors suggest  as a “sleep diary” for two weeks which will help your doctor figure how what tests may be necessary.

Your sleep diary should include the following:

  1. How often do you have trouble sleeping and how long have you had this problem?
  2. The time you go to bed and get up on work days and days off.
  3. How long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you wake up at night, and how long it takes you to fall back to sleep.
  4. If you snore, how often or wake up gasping or feeling out of breath.
  5. How refreshed you feel when you wake up and how tired you feel during the day.
  6. How often you doze off or having trouble staying awake during your routine day, especially driving.

Lack of sleep is serious and could be a result of many factors including your diet, medications or certain health issues. Your doctor may recommend  a SLEEP APNEA test which can be  an overnight stay in a sleep center where they hook up sensors to various parts of your body that records your brain waves, heart beat, breathing and movement as you sleep. Or they may suggest an in-home test where they give you a small monitor that you place by your bedside which collects data as you sleep.

I always had problems sleeping, but when I starting eating a well-balanced diet with daily exercises my sleep habits improved immensely. Take your sleep seriously and if you are having problems get an appointment with your doctor.

Mary Kmak

Health Warrior

The Tucson Medical Center Sleep Center can help patients get to the root of their sleeping problems using advanced equipment and a staff of registered sleep technologists. The TMC Sleep Center is located off-site close to the support of TMC, yet away from the bustle of Southern Arizona’s largest hospital.

Patients spend a night in one of our rooms, while a team of sleep techs monitor their nighttime activity with the most current technology available. Suites are spacious and themed with the Western Room, Seashore Room, Contemporary Room, Tiki Room and Mickey’s Room for kids. Rooms equipped with cable television and a shower is available in the morning.

Daytime testing hours are available by appointment. Want more information about Tucson Medical Center’s Sleep Center?