It is safe to say that it is common knowledge that proper nutrition, exercise, 7-9 hours a sleep a night, adequate water intake, and limited alcohol and other substances (tobacco, sugar, caffeine, etc.) is necessary in order to lead a healthy life. Whether we adhere to that combination is a different story, but nonetheless is it well-known information. For some reason, quality sleep is often left out of the equation. According to a study conducted by the Sleep Foundation, 35% of Americans report that their sleep quality is poor. While a lot of us are getting the recommended amount of sleep, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are getting the quality of sleep that our bodies require to function properly.
You might be surprised to learn that when you lack quality sleep, and we’ve not talking every now and then, but over a prolonged period of time, your health can greatly suffer. This is a serious matter. It is more serious than just having those groggy, sleepy, draggy kinds of mornings after a restless night.
Prolonged poor quality sleep can lead to, increase, and or cause a number of maladies.
Here are just a few.
- Increased appetite due to increased levels of ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates appetite) and decreased levels of leptin (the hormone that suppresses appetite), which can lead to weight gain.
- Increased inflammation in the body.
- Increased risk of heart disease.
- Increased risk of stroke.
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Decreased concentration and productivity.
- Decreased immunity.
- Decreased emotional and social interactions.
- Decreased athletic and physical performance.
- Can cause premature skin aging (lackluster skin, fine lines, dark circles, and uneven skin due to collagen breakdown).
There can be so many different contributing factors when it comes to one’s poor sleeping history. It is important to examine those potential causes in order to address how to eliminate them. One problem, in particular, you might have but never knew was an issue (Dr. Steve is an expert on this one)! This series on sleep will unfold from more general information to more specific in an effort to help you obtain the sleep that you need and deserve! The direction we are heading will have a direct focus on sleep apnea.