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Sleeping Disorders - What Lack of Sleep Does to Your Body

18 December 2023

We all know the phrase "sleep like a baby." But what does that mean? Babies sleep a lot, and they sleep soundly. They don't toss and turn or wake up in the middle of the night.

Adults, on the other hand, are not so lucky. A third of us suffer from insomnia, defined as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting quality sleep. And another third of us have some sleeping disorder.

Types of Sleeping Disorders

There are many different types of sleeping disorders, but the most common ones are:

Insomnia

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting 30% of adults. It can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Acute insomnia usually lasts for a few nights or weeks and is often caused by stressors like exams, job interviews, or significant life changes. Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer and can be caused by underlying health conditions, medications, or poor sleep habits.

Symptoms of insomnia include:

difficulty falling asleep

waking up frequently during the night

waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep

feeling unrefreshed after a night's sleep

daytime fatigue

trouble concentrating

irritability

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common type and is caused by a blockage of the airway, such as when the tongue or other soft tissues in the throat collapse and close off the passage. Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain doesn't send signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

loud snoring

episodes of breathing pauses during sleep

choking or gasping during sleep

daytime fatigue

restlessness during sleep

moodiness

irritability

Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that affects people who work night shifts or irregular hours. When the body's natural circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness. Symptoms of SWSD include:

trouble falling asleep

trouble staying awake during the day

fatigue

moodiness

irritability

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs. This urge is often accompanied by a crawling, tingling, or burning sensation in the legs. RLS can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Symptoms of RLS include:

an irresistible urge to move the legs

a crawling, tingling, or burning sensation in the legs

daytime fatigue

trouble concentrating

irritability

How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Body

When you don't get enough sleep, it affects more than just your mood the next day. It can also have some serious consequences for your health.

Here are just a few ways lack of sleep can affect your body:

Weakened Immune System

Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. When you're exhausted, your body has a harder time fighting off infection. This can lead to increased sick days and more prolonged and severe illnesses.

In one study, participants who got less than 7 hours of sleep a night were almost three times more likely to get sick than participants who slept for 8 hours or more. And people who get less than 5 hours of sleep a night are at risk for even more serious health problems.

Weight Gain

Not getting enough sleep can also lead to weight gain. When you're exhausted, you're more likely to make unhealthy food choices and have less energy to exercise. This can lead to weight gain over time.

Diabetes

People who don't get enough sleep are also at increased risk for diabetes. When you're tired, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. This can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes.

Heart Disease

Lack of sleep can also increase your risk for heart disease. When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels, leading to heart disease.

Anxiety and Depression

People who don't get enough sleep are also more likely to experience anxiety and depression. This is because sleep deprivation can alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and GABA. These neurotransmitters play a role in mood regulation.

Treatment for Sleep Disorders

If you think you may have a sleep disorder, the first step is to see your doctor. They can help you determine if you have a sleep disorder and, if so, what type it is. Once you know what type of sleep disorder you have, there are treatments available that can help.

For example, your doctor may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) if you have insomnia. This therapy can help you change the thoughts and behaviors that keep you from sleeping.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine helps keep your airway open so you can breathe during sleep.

There are also lifestyle changes that can help treat sleep disorders.

How To Get a Good Night's Sleep?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you get a good night's sleep:

Set A Regular Sleep Schedule

Stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help your body get into a rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine

A relaxing bedtime routine can help prepare your body for sleep. This may include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or stretching. Doing these things every night will signal your body that it's time to wind down and sleep.

Avoid Caffeine Before Bed

Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. Avoid caffeine in the evening, and try to limit your intake during the day.

Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

While alcohol may make you sleepy, it can disrupt your sleep. Alcohol prevents you from entering deep sleep and can cause you to wake up during the night.

Get Up And Move During The Day

Exercise can help you sleep better at night. You are more likely to sleep better when your body is physically exhausted. Just be sure to avoid exercising close to bedtime, as this can make it harder to fall asleep.

Limit Your Exposure To Blue Light Before Bed

Blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep. When your eyes are exposed to blue light, they produce less of the hormone melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy.

To avoid this, limit your screen time in the evening and try to avoid using screens for at least an hour before bed. You can also use blue light-blocking glasses or apps to filter out blue light from your screens.

Create A Dark And Quiet Sleeping Environment

Your bedroom should be dark and quiet to help you sleep. If you can't control the noise level in your environment, try using a white noise machine or earplugs to block sound. And if the light is an issue, try using blackout curtains or an eye mask to create a dark space.

Invest In A Good-Quality Bed

A comfortable and supportive bed can make a big difference in your sleep quality. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and provides the right amount of support. You may also consider a pillow that supports your neck and back.

Adjustable Bed Base EB012

The Adjustable Bed Base EB012 is an excellent option for people who want a comfortable and supportive bed. This bed base has a 0-60 degree incline for the head and a 0-35 degree incline for the feet.

In addition to improving sleep, the adjustable bed base can also help with the following:

Lower back pain

Circulation

Digestion

Arthritis

The EB012 comes with a wired remote, so you can easily adjust the bed to your desired position at the push of a few buttons. The base is also quiet so that it won't disrupt your sleep.

This bed base has a weight capacity of 600 pounds, and the motor has been tested at least 10,000 times to ensure durability and quality.

The EB012 comes with a 10-year reliable warranty from Flexispot. The company also provides a risk-free 30-day trial and will provide a full refund if you are not satisfied with the bed base, complete with shipping and handling.

Final Thoughts

Sleep is essential for good health. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor. There are treatments available that can help you get the rest you need. You can also make lifestyle changes to improve your sleep quality. These changes may be challenging and take time, but they are worth it for your health.

Start by creating a relaxing bedtime routine and setting up a comfortable and supportive sleeping environment. Then, avoid caffeine in the evening, get up, and move during the day. With these changes, you can improve your sleep quality and get the rest you need.