You may think that you can get away with 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night, but what it does to your body and your overall health is move you closer to the grave. Sleep deprivation is at epidemic levels in the United States, affecting over 40% of the population.
What happens during sleep?
Basically, your body needs to rejuvenate. During sleep, your heart rate slows down and your blood pressure drops, relieving stress. If you don’t give your body the time it needs to recover, you increase the risk of developing serious diseases. Proper sleep can also help control illnesses such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and memory loss.
Optimal sleep, 7 to 8 hours per night for adults is just as imperative to your overall health as fresh air, food and water. If you average 5 to 7 hours of sleep per night, you double the risk of coronary artery calcification. You will triple that risk if you try to run on less than 5 hours of sleep, as well as double the risk of cardiovascular death. Chronic sleep deprivation puts you at risk of Cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes and in extreme cases, death.
Snorers, you are at high risk!
While your sleep partner might think that your snoring is just annoying, sometimes it can signal that you have an even more severe problem, known as sleep apnea. You may not even realize that you have a blockage in your breathing airway that deprives you of getting oxygen regularly throughout the night. Sleep apnea can cause major problems and has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes.
Can I just “catch up” on the weekend?
That’s kind of like asking if you can eat fast food all week and only eat healthy on the weekend and still expect your body to stay healthy. Chronic sleep loss hinders your body’s ability to perform even basic metabolic functions, including regulating your hormones.
Your body needs regular sleep patterns in order to increase life expectancy. Longevity comes from taking care of your body, including getting the required amount of sleep.
Lack of sleep really is a death sentence
The effects of sleep deprivation can indeed lead to severe health concerns and even death. Sleep deficiencies can negatively affect your brain function, which increases your stress hormones, leading to depression.
Keep in mind that long term impaired sleep can put you at risk of harm in other ways. When you are sleep deprived, you are impaired as much as being over the legal alcohol limit for driving. Equipment, machinery and moving vehicles are dangerous to operate when you are sleep deprived. Other sleep deficiencies can include excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, depression, non-productivity, daytime naps and motor vehicle accidents.
You don’t have to live with a sleep disorder. Dr. Westman and his staff are trained to deal with all aspects of this debilitating disorder and can help you get your life back. There are various treatment options available, depending on the severity and circumstances of your problem. Call for a no-obligation appointment today.