Sleep is more important than you may think

 In Sleep Apnea

Many individuals who are not able to get a full night of restful sleep, waking groggy and fatigued, believe it is insomnia. They turn to over-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills in an attempt to solve the problem. However, frequently those restless nights are a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleeping disorder. Sleep medications will not help this disorder and can have adverse effects on their overall health.

A study recently published in the journal BMJ found that those who take sleeping pills regularly have a mortality rate five times higher over a 30-month period than those who don’t take sleep aids. The risks of sleeping pills is very real, however so is the risk of inadequate sleep. William Dement, a prominent sleep scientist states that sleep may be more important than high blood pressure or smoking as an indicator of how long you will live.

Lack of sleep will elevate the stress system leaving patients susceptible to even minimal stress. A study conducted at the University of Chicago found that losing just a few hours of sleep per night for one week resulted in lower levels of growth hormones and higher levels of stress hormones. Their profiles, after sleep deprivation matched that of a much older person. They developed hormonal imbalances conducive to obesity and increased insulin resistance.

The immune system is compromised by lack of sleep, increasing vulnerability to conditions as simple as a cold to life threatening cancer. A second study at the University of Chicago found that sleep deprived participants had half the immune response to flu shots as those who had adequate sleep. A study at University of California, Los Angeles found that just losing three hours of sleep for one night reduced white blood cell activity significantly, lowering the body’s resistance to infections and cancer.

Lack of sleep also wreaks havoc with the mind and the mood. Studies have shown that those who do not get adequate sleep each night have a hard time getting a job, performing their duties, and staying employed. Sleep deprivation causes emotional volatility, impulsiveness, and can lead to depression. It impairs judgment and focus, making driving a vehicle or operating machinery very dangerous. Additionally, insufficient sleep undermines creativity and motivation, preventing sufferers from achieving their full potential in any given task.

If you are struggling with morning fatigue and daytime sleepiness, it may be signs of obstructive sleep apnea. Call 281-363-2770 and schedule a consultation to discuss your symptoms with Dr. Dernick. If he determines it is related to sleep apnea, he can treat the condition with a comfortable, custom-fabricated oral appliance, enabling you to get a good night’s sleep.


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