Sleep and Your Health

When it comes to your overall health and well being, sleep problems tops the list of health related issues. Millions of people suffer from sleep deprivation at one time or another. It is estimated that about 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder. This includes problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, and sleeping fewer hours. However, chronic sleep deprivation is a major health related problem. Not only can not getting enough rest at night affect how you feel, lack of sleep also directly affects your health, safety, lifestyle and day to day performance.

Experts and health care professionals all agree that people need at least eight hours of good sleep each night. If you habitually sleep less than six or seven hours a night, you are shorting yourself each night. Each night you get less than eight hours, adds up. In fact, research shows that people who get less than the recommended amounts decrease his or her mortality rate more than smoking, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Any person who is plagued by sleepless nights, a waking baby, a spouse snoring or staying up too late can tell you that nights such as those leaves you feeling tired and fatigued during the day. Your daytime alertness is decreased up to at least 32 percent with less sleep. Feeling tired can leave you with impaired judgment, memory loss and a decrease in your ability to process even the simplest information and instructions. You know that kids are affect at school when they do not get enough sleep. Adults are really no different.

If you are not getting enough sleep at night, you are not as alert as you should be during the day. You might find that you have a decreased interest in completing tasks and no interest in participating in activities. This can seriously affect your work. In addition, you will find that you are no longer interested in your favorite day-to-day activities such as reading, exercising, playing with your children or reading a book.

Another big problem associated with sleep deprivation is safety. Tired and sleepy drivers cause an estimated 100, 000 driving accidents each year. Over 1,500 of those resulted in death. Another 71,000 of those resulted in injury to at least one person involved. That is a huge amount, all caused by lack of sleep.

One interesting fact about sleep disorders is that it may be an underlying cause of something more serious, or may cover up other health related problems. If lack of sleep comes hand-in-hand with mood swings or irritability, or feelings of anxiety, this may indicate depression. Bipolar disorders are also marked by lack of sleep, emotional stress, and restlessness. In fact, experts believe that a person with chronic problems (marked by more than two weeks of problems), should consult his or her health care provider.

There are many reasons why you may be experiencing sleep disorders. Some common causes include menopause, pregnancy, postpartum depression and premenstrual symptoms. If you are suffering from sleeping disorders, it is very important to speak to your doctor. He or she can run a series of test to determine what is causing your lack of sleep and how to correct the situation. Getting a good night’s rest is more than just feeling good in the morning. Not getting enough sleep can cause many other health and safety problems.

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