Are your sleep patterns putting your health at risk?
Getting a good sleep is more important than you might realize. Research has shown having a good night’s rest is one of the most important ways to support your health, your effectiveness and your relationships.
If your sleep is interrupted over time, you’re at an increased risk of work-related injuries and other types of accidents. You can’t concentrate; your balance is off.
With uninterrupted sleep, you’re able to focus better. Your mind gets to process the day as well as allowing your body to build muscle and naturally heal itself.
Your bed partner probably knows if your sleep’s interrupted; their sleep likely is too. Relationships can be a struggle when both parties are exhausted and suffering from lack of rest. People who get enough sleep have better moods, make better decisions and suffer less depression or anxiety. Research has also demonstrated sex is better when everyone gets enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep lowers libido and may lead to sexual problems.
Poor patterns of sleep can make you sick
If you don’t sleep enough, you’re at an increased risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Some types of cancer seem more prevalent in people who don’t get proper sleep. Your perception of pain can change when you get enough sleep; you’re less likely to get migraines or other types of headaches when you’re well rested.
Sleep apnea – more men than women
If your sleep is being interrupted by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your heart is stressed because of low oxygen supply. This is the most common form of sleep apnea. With OSA, your throat muscles relax periodically and block your airway.
Every time the airway is blocked, your heart is stressed by the effort of trying to get enough oxygen. It can skip beats or develop an irregular rhythm. This can lead to a heart attack. During the struggle to breathe, blood pressure can soar, damaging the walls of arteries and increasing the risk for ruptured blood vessels in the brain. This can lead to a stroke.
Sleep apnea is more prevalent in men, affecting over 30% by middle age. Women suffer to a lesser degree but the effects are just as dangerous. You may have no memory of these interruptions to your sleep but if you have a bed partner, they likely know.
Not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea but if you consistently experience any of these symptoms, you should be evaluated:
- You know you snore or have been told you snore.
- You’ve been known to fall asleep or nod off at inappropriate times.
- You’re tired during waking hours.
- You’ve been told you sleep restlessly; you’re always tossing and turning.
- You have low energy during the day.
Speak to your family doctor about getting a referral to a sleep lab where you can be tested. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Our Clinic can help with your equipment and care needs.