The facts are clear; sleep deprivation is something that can leave your body in a deficit from which cannot recoup. If you aren’t getting the sleep you need, you might be doing some real harm to your body. Studies by a Winnipeg sleep clinic shows that as many as 40% of all Canadians have experienced or will experience at least one type of sleep disorder within their lifetime. Over time, not getting the sleep you require can be hazardous to your health.
There are many reasons why a person might experience a sleep disorder. Stress, financial worries, family concerns, and irregular work hours are all things that can lead to someone not being able to get all the restorative sleep that they need. If a sleep condition goes undiagnosed, it is possible for it to lead to a chronic sleep disorder that robs the body of the rest it needs for many body functions.
Why not getting enough sleep is harmful to your health
When you lose sleep, it isn’t something that you can “make up.” People often think that if they don’t sleep well one night, they can recoup the next. The problem is that sleep is like a deficit that can’t be replenished. Over time, if you rob your body of the restorative sleep it requires, it can have severe and long-term health effects.
One of most common sleep disorders is something called sleep apnea. It is a condition in which the person stops breathing while they are sleeping. For some who have the condition, it can be quite severe, causing up to several hundred episodes a night. 15% of men and five per cent of women suffer from the disease of sleep apnea.
The problem with sleep apnea is that it is challenging to diagnose because the person is completely unaware that they are even doing it. If they don’t have a professional sleep study, they might be drained when they wake up every morning and have no idea why.
Sleep apnea is associated with a host of harmful health conditions including heart failure, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Other effects of sleep apnea are a weakened immune system and the inability to focus and concentrate (which can lead to an increased risk of car and workplace accidents).
How much sleep does someone need?
It is recommended that a person get a minimum of seven hours a night to sleep for them to maintain their health. But, it isn’t just about the amount the amount of sleep, quality is just as important. Your body requires that you go through cycles of sleep that include the rapid eye movement (REM) cycle. If you never get the quality sleep that your body needs, then you will not receive the necessary and nourishing benefits of a good night’s sleep.
To improve your sleep, it is vital that you remove all electronic devices that emit blue light from your bedroom. Instead of having your cell phone or tablet at your bedside, it is best to avoid looking at the screens of these devices for an hour before you go to sleep. For optimal rest, you should remove electronics entirely from your bedroom. Even if you aren’t looking at them directly, the blue light that they emit can affect you while you are sleeping.
It is also important not to drink caffeinated drinks close to bedtime. Sports drinks or those that contain stimulants can accumulate in your body (especially if you drink them throughout the day) and make it difficult for you to settle in for the evening. If you have irregular work hours, try to establish a healthy routine to get your body back on track as quickly as possible.
Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders can take their toll on a person. Most people are completely unaware that they aren’t getting the rejuvenating sleep that they need.
Unless a sleep disorder professional evaluates you, it is impossible to know if you are getting the quality rest you need to maintain good health, keep your immune system healthy, and to be alert and mentally functioning optimally. If you wake up feeling tired and worn out, it would be well worth having your sleep patterns monitored to diagnose any sleep condition that might be lurking.