We all have an occasional restless night, but when poor sleep becomes the norm, your physical and mental health could suffer. Experts recommend Albany residents get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, but a variety of factors leave many people grappling with fatigue the next day. Breaking the cycle is important.
Your Body’s Response to Too Little Sleep
What causes sleep deprivation?
Smartphones. Video games. Netflix. Funny cat videos. The reasons people in Albany end up falling short of their nightly sleep goals vary, but the bottom line is the same: not getting enough sleep can lead to serious health consequences. Daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and stroke risks go up—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Without enough sleep, your odds increase for the following.
How does too little sleep affect the body?
Accidents and injuries
Sleep deprivation dulls your reflexes, slowing down your reaction times. This can be deadly when you’re behind the wheel of a car or operating machinery. High-profile accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez were all linked, at least partially, to a lack of sleep.
Reduced mental alertness
When your reaction time is slower, you aren’t as mentally alert as you could be. Poor sleep is associated with reductions in attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem-solving skills, as well as impaired memory. These can have negative effects on job performance and schoolwork.
A lower sex drive is another side effect of not getting enough sleep, and this can have a serious impact on relationships. Low energy can cause anxiety and stress, two factors that interfere with your sex drive. Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can compound the problem; the breathing disruptions and reduced oxygen levels limit testosterone production, making it even more difficult for men to perform.
Persistent lack of sleep stimulates the body to produce cortisol, a stress hormone that can damage collagen in the skin. This results in an unhealthy complexion, age lines, puffiness and dark circles beneath the eyes.
A good night’s sleep signals the body to release a natural appetite suppressant. Chronic sleep deprivation, on the other hand, triggers the release of a compound that stimulates hunger. People with consistent poor sleep are 30 percent more likely to be obese; the lack of energy associated with poor sleep makes it difficult to exercise regularly, resulting in a sort of vicious circle.
Many people in Albany ignore the warning signs of poor sleep or attribute the symptoms to other factors, but over time, this can prove hazardous to their long-term health.
Does research support sleep findings?
A group of British researchers found that people whose amount of sleep dropped from seven hours per night to five were twice as likely to die from all causes. Their risk of developing heart disease was especially high.
Schedule a sleep study today.
It can be difficult to recognize the signs of a sleep disorder. If you aren’t getting consistent quality sleep and experiencing daytime fatigue and other symptoms, your Albany ear, nose and throat specialist recommends undergoing a sleep study in order to determine whether a sleep disorder is responsible. Treatment can help you sleep better and improve your overall health.