Sleeping Your Life Away
We all know that sleep is important, but increasingly a lack of sleep is viewed as a public health crisis. It not only causes problems in our everyday life, but it’s contributing to chronic illnesses that haunt us down the road. Lack of sleep, or sleep insufficiency, has become such a problem that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research are working together to examine the true impact of the U.S. population’s sleep patterns on our national health.
Can’t Sleep? Turn off Your ipad Instead of Counting Sheep
An estimated 50-70 million U.S. adults have trouble with sleep insufficiency, sleep disorders, or trouble falling asleep in the first place, also known as wakefulness disorders. Sleep insufficiency can be caused by our 24/7 access to technology and screens, our #1 in the world work schedules, or by sleep disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, which makes you stop breathing for a few seconds while you sleep, wakes you up throughout the night to catch your breath, so your overall quality of sleep is poor. Snoring can be a major symptom.
Not Sleeping Can be Hazardous to Your Health
The effects of not getting enough sleep can be very dangerous and last much longer than feeling tired the next day. Too little sleep is linked to car crashes, industrial disasters, and medical mistakes. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness may contribute to these dangerous situations.
People experiencing sleep insufficiency are more likely to suffer less direct dangers from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer. Lack of sleep also causes stress, a major cause of inflammatory reactions in humans, which has been shown to cause accelerated aging in many ways. Since stress is a multifactorial event – emotional, psychological, and metabolic, stress and inflammation are not going to help any of these chronic diseases.
In fact, the most powerful anti-inflammatory treatment we have is sleep.