Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night? This consistent lack of sleep can bring on fatigue, moodiness, and irritability. Lack of sleep can also lead to serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or strokes. If you struggle with a lack of deep, restful sleep, you could potentially be suffering from a condition called obstructive sleep apnea.
A common problem
It’s estimated that one in three Americans suffer from lack of consistent, quality sleep. Lack of sleep can affect us in many ways, including impacting our critical thinking abilities. Some other ways that sleep deprivation can hurt your focus and affect day-to-day life include:
- Diminished ability to focus and pay attention
- Slower reaction time
- Lower ability to think critically and problem solve
- Increased forgetfulness
How poor sleep impacts your brain
Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea also hurts your selective attention, which is the ability to focus on specific information when distractions are present. Lack of sleep changes brain function and affects cognitive performance in the following ways:
- Disrupts levels of chemicals, including serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol that affect thought, mood, and energy
- Leaves key areas of the brain in an “always on” state of activation
- Activates genes that interfere with optimal brain activity
When you’re deprived of a good night’s sleep, your inability to focus and concentrate are the first symptoms you may notice. You might struggle to stay on task or notice that you’re drifting in and out of a conversation. Not being able to sleep throughout the night or waking up multiple times during the night can lead to you constantly feeling tired. Not getting enough sleep can happen to anyone occasionally, but when it becomes a constant pattern it might be time to see if you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially serious but treatable medical condition. If you are experiencing sleep deprivation on a regular basis, consider a consultation with Chesapeake Sleep Center to learn how sleep apnea treatment may help you.