It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is important for your health. Your CENTA ear, nose and throat specialist recommends 7-8 hours of sleep per night – but few people achieve such consistency. Blame it on busy schedules, too many technological distractions or even a sleep disorder.
The Problems with Too Little Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health, yet too few people heed this warning. As a result, sleep disorders are on the rise. Symptoms associated with not getting enough sleep include daytime fatigue, waking up tired, going to the bathroom frequently during the night and requiring a daily nap in order to feel more rested.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Lack of sleep increases your risk of developing serious health conditions such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Other factors associated with sleep deprivation include:
- Accidents and injuries. Too little sleep slows down your reaction times, making you more susceptible to automobile crashes and on-the-job injuries. In fact, sleep deprivation has been linked to some of the biggest catastrophes in recent memory, including the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.
- Reduced mental alertness. Lack of sleep has a negative effect on attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem-solving skills. It can lead to memory loss and affect academic performance.
- Poor libido. Sleeplessness causes a decrease in energy levels and can cause stress and anxiety – factors that can kill your sex drive. This is true in both men and women. Males with a sleep disorder called sleep apnea produce less testosterone, which can also contribute.
- Prematurely aging skin. Puffy eyes are common after a night or two of poor sleep. Over time, this can lead to sallow skin, wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes. This occurs when the body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that attacks collagen in the skin.
- Weight gain. People who sleep less eat more. Good sleep signals an appetite-suppressing compound in the body, while poor sleep has the opposite effect: it stimulates hunger. This increases your risk of obesity by as much as 30 percent, according to some studies.
Unfortunately, many individuals in the Midlands simply don’t realize just how important getting a good night’s sleep is. They attribute the symptoms and side effects to normal, everyday life. It’s tempting to downplay the need for sleep but doing so can be deadly: a British research study showed that people who reduced their nightly sleep from seven hours to five hours nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. Cardiovascular disease was especially prevalent in these individuals.
Diagnosing a sleep disorder can be done with a sleep test, either in a laboratory or – more commonly these days – at home. You might feel anxious being hooked up to various electronic devices, but sleep studies are painless and reliable and the key to improving your sleep habits, not to mention your overall physical and mental health.
If you are not receiving quality sleep, contact your CENTA provider to set up an appointment.