How Healthy Are Your Sleeping Habits

Jun 05, 2018

Sleep is an important process that enables our brain and body to function efficiently. When we sleep, it gives our system a chance to go into autopilot. This enables our body to repair cellular damage, blood vessels, and our organs. It also gives our hormones a chance to rebalance, which affects how hungry we feel, our blood glucose level, and fertility levels. Older adults sleeping

When we are unable to get quality sleep on a consistent basis, this challenges our body’s ability to repair and rebalance our systems. Over time, a lack of sleep can have metabolic and cellular damage. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports that an ongoing sleep deficiency is scientifically connected to increased obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes, as well as a decline in fertility, physical development, and immune response. 

If you can’t get a good night’s sleep, it may be time to find a solution. Start by learning more about sleep disorders and the importance of sleep. Here is an overview of sleeping habits to see where you fall on the healthy sleep spectrum.

Types of Sleep Disorders

If are having trouble getting a good night’s rest, you may suffer from a sleep disorder. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia, however, there are many more sleep disorders that you could be suffering from.

Insomnia

is defined as having a persistent problems staying and falling asleep. Most cases of insomnia are related to poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety and in some cases certain medications. You may have insomnia if you experience:

  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep.
  • Lack of concentration or slowness in activity
  • Not feeling well rested

Obstructive sleep apnea

is a condition in which your airways are blocked, due to the tissue is your throat closing, forcing you to wake up gasping for air. This disorder is seen in all age groups, but the frequency increase with age and obesity. The most common symptoms include:

  • Hyperactivity or irritability
  • Lack of concentration or memory loss
  • Excessive urination at night
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring or gasping during sleep

Sleep apnea

is a potential serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping. This disorder requires treatment from a physician, usually in the form of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. The most common symptoms for sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Episodes of no breathing, breathing through the mouth or loud breathing
  • Feeling tired after a full night’s sleep
  • Nightmares

Other Sleep Disorders Include

Individuals who fall asleep but seem to wake up while sleeping may suffer from sleepwalking or night terrors. Sleepwalking involves walking in your sleep. Night terrors are nightmares that are very real and leave the individual sitting up, talking, shouting, or becoming violent while still asleep. Other sleep disorders that are more common include restless leg syndrome and jet lag, which affect your ability to sleep soundly.

Amount of Sleep Needed

Everyone has a different requirement for the amount of sleep they need based on their personal health and wellness. According to the Mayo Clinic, our sleep needs change based on our age, with infants needing up to 17 hours of sleep compared to up to nine hours for adults. A common myth is that seniors need less sleep than younger adults. However, this is not the case. Older adults typically have physical, emotional, or mental issues ranging from aches to depression that reduces their quality of sleep. 

Changes in Sleep Demands

Several factors go into our need for a certain amount of sleep. For example, pregnant women need more sleep early in pregnancy due to hormone levels and changes in oxygen in the blood. Sleep quality, previous sleep deprivation, and aging also challenge the amount of sleep we need on an ongoing basis. For instance, if you are unable to get plenty of sleep for a few days due to stress, you will need to get more sleep in the coming nights. 

Finding The Help You Need for Sleep

Here at Physicians East Sleep Center, our physicians offer comprehensive sleep testing services. Through a professional sleep evaluation, we will help you determine the reasons you are unable to get a good night’s sleep. Our team of medical professionals will provide you with personalized treatment and sleep education.

Contact our office at 252-752-6101 to schedule an appointment or for additional information about sleep testing services.