Sleep may be one of those things we too often take for granted, even though we know that getting enough quality sleep is essential for our health and well being. There are many negative health and wellness consequences associated with sleep deprivation. Here are some of the most common symptoms that can happen when you or a loved one doesn’t get enough quality sleep.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
Everyone needs sleep, but the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person. The amount of sleep needed also changes throughout your life: infants and young children need more sleep than mature adults. With their fluctuating hormones and erratic schedules, teenagers desperately need quality sleep to function and grow. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers need more sleep than adults, on average between 8 to 10 hours at night, whereas adults over the age of 65 can get by with between seven to nine hours a night.
Causes for Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can be caused by certain medical or physical conditions, or simply because you don’t allow yourself enough time to sleep. Lack of sleep can come from a hectic schedule, stress or anxiety, excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol, inadequate sleeping conditions (such as too much light, an uncomfortable bed, or noise) or health conditions such as apnea, chronic pain, gastric reflux or migraines. Certain medications may make it harder to sleep or may throw off your sleep cycle. And don’t forget family members – from your finicky newborn to your snoring spouse – sometimes the whirlwind of any number of these conditions can make sleep a luxury that many of us can’t afford.
Common Symptoms and Health Risks of Sleep Deprivation
If you are feeling energetic, balanced, and well, chances are you are sleeping well. But, there are some hidden costs of not getting enough sleep; powering through the day after not getting a good night’s sleep can increase your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), weight gain, and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It’s also well known that lack of sleep can negatively affect the immune system, which helps our ability to fight off disease. In general, lack of sleep also harms our ability to function during the day, both mentally and physically. One example is driving: reaction times slow when a person is sleep impaired or they may fall asleep at the wheel.
If you are sleep deprived, you might find yourself having trouble regulating your moods or reactions to everyday stresses. Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to trouble in school, at work, and in relationships. Plus it can increase your risk of injuries in sports and during everyday or occupational activities.
Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits
Even if you know that getting enough quality sleep is important for your health, putting that knowledge into practice isn’t as simple as it sounds. Daily routines or falling into bad habits can hurt your ability to sleep long and sound enough to sustain your health. If you have experienced symptoms of sleep deprivation, make an appointment with you doctor to make sure there aren’t any underlying medical reasons for your trouble sleeping.
Meanwhile, there are some simple things you can do to ensure you have the best chance of getting enough restorative sleep. Keeping track of your daily waking and sleeping hours is a good first start. You can start a journal – keep it simple – even making notes on your smart phone is fine, then share the information with your doctor.
When it comes to sleep deprivation, your health is at stake. That’s why seeking professional help is so important. The expert physicians and staff members at the sleep center at Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating sleep problems. Our advanced technology allows at-home and/or in-office sleep studies to pinpoint the cause behind and to effectively treat patients sleep disorders.
To learn more about sleep disorders and how the Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas help, call us at (817) 594-9993 to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online. We work hard every day to ensure you get the rest you need, and deserve.