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How Can Sleep Affect Your Health?

Sleep-or-risk-deathEveryone has suffered through a restless night of sleep and the ensuing problems. Poor sleep causes a myriad of troubles ranging from poor concentration to irritability.

Recent studies indicate that a lack of shut-eye is even worse than originally thought. There is now evidence that poor sleep can negatively impact the heart, one's weight and an array of other health conditions.

The Relationship Between Sleep and Health

One of the nation's premier physician-based sleep medicine group, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, recently released its first recommendations for the proper amount of sleep.

The organization recommends that adults get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. They reached this conclusion based on the results of studies that connect poor sleep to all sorts of health problems.

Unfortunately, the average adult's reported amount of nightly sleep has decreased from 7.4 hours in the mid 1980s to a mere 7.18 hours.

Sleep experts examined the results of over 300 sleep studies and determined that those who get only 6 hours of sleep or less per night suffer setbacks in general performance including a decreased ability to drive safely and stay mentally alert. They also face a heightened risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Quality of Sleep is Just as Important as Quantity

While the amount of sleep that one enjoys is important, the quality of that sleep might matter more. Those who get “bad sleep” where REM is not reached and maintained for a sufficient period of time are likely to suffer the same health effects as those who fail to get the proper amount of sleep.

Although most people know about insomnia, many are unaware of what obstructive sleep apnea is and how it can cause one to cease breathing during the night.

Around 10 percent of adults experience chronic insomnia. A shocking 24 percent of adult men and 9 percent of adult women have obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep experts are particularly concerned with obstructive sleep apnea as it takes a considerable toll on the body and mind. Obstructive sleep apnea not only limits the amount of sleep that one can get, it also:

  • Increases blood pressure
  • Heightens blood stickiness
  • Causes an irregular heartbeat
  • Prevents the body from obtaining and maintaining the proper level of oxygen

These health problems are especially concerning as they increase one's risk level for both a stroke and heart disease.

The results of a recent sleep study presented at the European Society of Cardiology show that men who suffer from a sleep disorder are 1.5 to 4 times as likely to have a stroke and twice as likely to have a heart attack.

Those who experience a poor quality of sleep should not hesitate to reach out to a sleep physician. Anyone who requires a substantial amount of caffeine to make it through the day or falls asleep during a work meeting or entertainment event should immediately seek assistance from a sleep physician. Well-rested individuals do not require caffeine to function nor do they fall asleep during the day.

How to Improve Your Sleep

It is important to note that some individuals require more or less than 7 hours of sleep per day. If you would like to know how much sleep is adequate for your body and mind, perform a little test during your next vacation. Once you reach the midpoint of your vacation, go ahead and measure your hours of sleep without the use of an alarm. You might be surprised at just how much sleep your body really needs.

Those who are in search of sleep tips should never remain in bed if unable to sleep. Sleep doctors unanimously agree that it is more prudent to get out of bed for a short period of time rather than stay there without obtaining any actual sleep.

Also, make every effort to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day. Do not let light seep into your sleeping space and keep it comfortably cool. Avoid all sources of caffeine (including chocolate) in the hours before bedtime.

eos sleep is Here to Help

Sleep should be considered a means of enriching your life and propelling you toward success. It is imperative that you prioritize sleep and understand that it has a considerable impact on your well-being just like diet and exercise. If you are interested in learning more about sleep quality, take our snore quiz to find out how severe your snoring really is. Do not hesitate to make an appointment with one of our board-certified eos sleep physicians for an accurate diagnosis. We'll work with you to develop a sleep treatment plan that is tailored to your individual nuances.

If you have a chronic snoring problem and would like to find out your risk for sleep apnea, take our Berlin Diagnostics Quiz

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