People who cannot sleep properly every night find the following day that they cannot function well because they do not have enough energy to do so. The repercussions, however, of a lack of proper sleep exceed the discomfort and foul mood that this state brings. Research says that being continuously sleep deprived can have grave effects on your health.
High blood pressure, for instance, which can sometimes be linked back to insomnia, is the primary cause for cardiovascular diseases. Found in one third of a population at a certain point in their lives, insomnia is the inability to fall or stay asleep. Some people with insomnia experience a condition of hyperarousal, a mental state identified with anxiety and feeling “on edge”. This condition can further aggravate blood pressure problems.
Many people endure a continuous state of sleeplessness. Some of these people skip the eight-hour snooze because they need to work or because they choose to participate in recreational social activities instead.
One prevailing sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. This is described as a pattern where a person momentarily stops breathing when their tongue or throat tissue blocks their airway. The pattern repeats many times throughout the night. Sleep apnea is often related to obesity, and this heightens the chance of being afflicted with high blood pressure as well. It also raises the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, or both.
Here’s a simple test that can be used to determine whether someone has sleep apnea:
Test yourself for sleep apnea with STOPBANG
Three or more positive answers to the questions below can indicate possible sleep apnea. A doctor should be consulted in this case to determine whether a sleep study is warranted.
S Snore: Have you been told that you snore?
T Tired: Do you often feel tired during the day?
O Obstruction: Do you know if you briefly stop breathing while asleep, or has anyone witnessed you do this?
P Pressure: Do you have high blood pressure or take medication for high blood pressure?
B Body mass index (BMI): Is your BMI 30 or above? (Calculate BMI)
A Age: Are you 50 or older?
N Neck: Is your neck circumference more than 16 inches (women) or 17 inches (men)?
G Gender: Are you male?
Get Proper Sleep Support
Occasionally, nearly all people experience difficulty sleeping. However, if incidental lack of sleep grows to become a detrimental nightly routine of sleep deprivation, you had better look at how your activities may be causing it. Staying up very late or being engrossed in stimulating activities before bedtime, for example, can disrupt proper sleep.
Cultivate good sleeping habits like training your body to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, and keeping your room cool, dark, and comfortable. If you cannot sleep due to psychological or emotional problems – stressful activities, mild depression, an anxiety disorder, and the like – it is best to consult with your healthcare provider about undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy. This is considered a safe and effective solution to chronic insomnia.
For sleep apnea, a commonly prescribed treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. A mask that is connected to a small machine through a lightweight tube is worn and the machine pumps pressurized air into the mouth or nose to prevent airway collapse. Other treatments include the use of a device that is similar to a mouth guard, which is designed to keep the jaw in a forward position and therefore jeeps the upper airway open. Remember that people who have sleeping problems should always consult sleep specialists to determine the best ways to solve their sleep problems.
You can also use pillows that are designed to improve breathing and reduce strain. These pillows help you sleep better by easing tension in your body and providing the kind of support that your body needs to keep your body relaxed and your airways open.