Disease and Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is a condition that is caused by, you got it, not getting enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, there are certain consequences with which most people are familiar. You may fall asleep at your desk at work or in school. You could awaken with a headache that goes away as the day wears on. You can get irritable easily, experience memory loss, or have difficulty concentrating. What you may not realize is that sleep deprivation can lead to a wide range of health problems that you may not even associate with an inability to sleep well. Cunnington Dental can examine you and see if your mouth is showing any signs of disease as a result of this condition.
What Diseases Are Associated with Sleep Deprivation?
Many studies have been performed to investigate the long-term health consequences of sleep deprivation. Research now shows that if you can’t get enough sleep, you increase your risk of developing a chronic disease. Insufficient sleep can cause a disruption in some your body’s maintenance processes. Some of the conditions and diseases associated with sleep deprivation are obesity, heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders, or immune problems.
Cold & Flu
You probably have observed that if you don’t get sufficient sleep, you get sick more easily from colds and the flu. Your observations are correct. You may have noticed when you are ill that you are tired and want to sleep more than you normally do. This need to sleep is a result of substances produced by the immune system that help to fight the disease. The immune system kicks into high gear when it detects foreign, unhealthy cells. This acceleration expends energy, and that is why you feel more tired. Studies have shown that if you are ill and you get better sleep, you will be able to better fight the invading virus.
Another problem with sleep deprivation that can cause long-term health consequences is the stress it places on your heart. Studies show that people who already suffer from hypertension can experience elevated blood pressure the day after they experience inadequate sleep. If your lack of sleep is due to obstructive sleep apnea, you are putting yourself at an even greater risk of heart disease.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes your airway to become obstructed as you sleep. As a result, you have breaks in your normal breathing and will awaken so you finally can take a breath. Each time you suddenly awaken during sleep, your blood pressure rises. This sudden awakening multiple times during the night can lead to chronic hypertension. Chronic hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
If you don’t have diabetes, you may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you don’t get sufficient sleep. Whether you are eating and drinking or not, your body is constantly processing and adjusting your glucose levels. The rate at which your body processes glucose matters. When you get very little sleep, your body processes glucose more slowly. This causes it to build up during the night and puts you at risk for the development of type 2 diabetes.