Although most of us have experienced a sensation of slap-happiness or giddiness when we haven’t slept enough, a mounting body of research is revealing the darker side of the effects of sleep deprivation, and it’s no laughing matter. Poor memory performance and an impaired ability to operate an automobile are just a few of the hazards that are well known and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Among the health problems that researchers are discovering to be associated with lack of sleep are:

Weight gain
Increased appetite,
High blood sugar (hello diabetes),
Accelerated aging
High blood pressure
Depression
Increased risk of cancer

Additionally, lack of adequate sleep can exacerbate serious and chronic diseases such as:

Parkinson’s disease
Alzheimer disease
Multiple sclerosis
Gastrointestinal tract disorders
Kidney disease
Behavioral problems in children

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

As dire as the consequences appear to be, only a third of Americans are getting over 7 hours of sleep per night, and for most this isn’t enough. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night although some individuals can thrive on as little as 5 hours per night while others may need 10 (HYPERLINK “https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6008a2.htm?s_cid=mm6008a2_w”Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report). And although “catching up” on sleep feels good, it doesn’t compensate for the nights of sleep deprivation.

So why are Americans so sleep deprived? Many suffer from medical conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea while others may be kept awake by a snoring or restless partner. Still others don’t discipline themselves to stick to a regular schedule that will ensure they get to bed on time. Many claim that they feel tired most of the day and seem to come alive at night. This may be ok if you work evenings, but most people have day jobs and need to get to bed at a decent hour. Whatever your reasons for not getting enough sleep, there are several interventions that can help with this problem. For example, blood sugar problems and an abnormal circadian rhythm are common reasons why people can either not stay asleep or fall asleep in the first place.

If you or someone you know is not getting enough sleep, or if you don’t feel fully rested after a full night of sleep, it’s time to get some help. Sound, restful sleep is absolutely crucial for physical health, mental performance, and emotional well-being. For more information on testing and treatment options for optimizing your sleep call Integrated Health Systems to schedule a consult with one of our doctors.

Sleep Deprivation is No Laughing Matter

Copyright © 2011. Dr. Lindy Vaughn, DC, Integrated Health Systems. All rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, learn more ways to take control and become proactive in your health. Go to IntegratedHealthDenver.com for more information or call our office at 303-781-5617.