Most people can agree that lack of quality sleep can lead to a less fulfilling life. You may have trouble falling asleep or you may struggle with being woken up several times during the night. You may have learned coping mechanisms such as a daily cup of coffee to get you up and running. Occasional lack of sleep is common and our bodies can often compensate with little or no noticeable setbacks. However, when your body continually loses sleep over an extended period of time, you can suffer more severe repercussions.
A consistent lack of quality sleep, or reduced amount of nightly sleep, is known as sleep
deprivation. This is typically characterized by daytime sleepiness-such as yawning,
clumsiness, fatigue and moodiness or irritability. Surprisingly, caffeine consumption in
the form of coffee, sodas or teas may do more harm than good. This stimulant can in fact, make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. The next morning is usually followed by
increased caffeine intake to combat the persistent issue.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults average 7 hours of sleep each
night. Much like food, water and air, sleep is essential for our bodies. We need it to
repair and regenerate our basic bodily functions. Compromising this crucial process can
have unintended consequences that impact your mood, memory and health.
Our ability to process space and coordinate our body is dependent upon sleep.
Sleep deprivation not only gives way to clumsiness, but also puts us at greater risk
for depression, anxiety, irritability, forgetfulness and fuzzy thinking. Many motor
vehicle accidents can often be attributed to a lack of sleep by the operator. New
studies have now also linked sleep disorders with dementia.
Proper sleep is essential for maintaining proper insulin sensitivity and blood sugar
control. With a lack of sleep, our body produces less insulin after we eat. In fact,
more cortisol is produced which makes it more difficult for insulin to do its job. As a
result, too much glucose remains in our bloodstreams making us more prone to
developing Type 2 diabetes.
When we sleep, our blood pressure decreases. Not being able to sleep means that
our blood pressure stays higher longer. In essence, high blood pressure leads to a
greater risk of heart disease and stroke.
Hormones that regulate appetite and glucose metabolism could be disrupted
because of sleep deprivation. Leptin, which serves as an appetite suppressant, is
decreased. People also become more prone to eating starchy foods. Research has
shown that adults have a 50% higher risk of developing obesity.
The human growth hormone (HGH) is a complex protein secreted from the pituitary
gland and is responsible for growth, energy and mood. Sleep and exercise help
promote surges in this hormone that ultimately promotes a healthy metabolism,
enhances your body’s physical performance. Low levels of HGH will cause
depression and lack of energy.
Immune System Weakens
A consistent lack of sleep weakens your body’s ability to build up its immune system.
Not only do you become more susceptible to fighting off illnesses, but the recovery
period becomes longer as well. A 2010 study revealed that people who sleep less
than six hours every night are more than 30% more likely to develop colorectal
If you are experiencing trouble sleeping or other sleep issues related to sleep apnea, contact our Sleep Apnea dentist today for a consultation. Chesapeake Sleep Center offers custom oral appliance therapy. It can often drastically improve your quality of sleep and quality of life.
Chesapeake Sleep Center
Phone: (410) 729-6794 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org