You have been to a sleep medicine specialist and found out you have obstructive sleep apnea. Now, you cannot help but wonder how the condition impacts your health. Sleep apnea can cause a variety of serious health conditions and even lead to premature death. Fortunately, treatment can open up your airway so that you receive…
Dental Sleep Medicine: A Dentist Explains the Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Dental sleep medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on the treatment of sleep disorders and disturbances with an oral appliance. One common problem that health care providers trained in sleep medicine focus on is sleep deprivation. This occurs when a person fails to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to many problems and can have a negative impact on your life.
sleep medicine and sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is very common. The amount of sleep that an individual needs varies from one person to another. But on average, a majority of adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and alert. For teens, they need an average of about nine hours of sleep each night.
Children need nine hours of sleep per night or more, depending on their age. Sleep deprivation may be caused by many factors. Sometimes, it can be a symptom of a sleep disorder or another medical problem that disturbs sleep. Here are some of the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Excessive daytime sleepiness
A major effect of lack of sleep is excessive daytime sleepiness. A person who does not get enough sleep may fall asleep when forced to sit still in either a quiet or monotonous situation. This can happen during a meeting or class. This degree of severe sleepiness may lead to serious problems. It can cause workplace injuries or drowsy driving.
Lack of sleep can affect someone’s mood. It is usually linked with irritability, anxiety and lack of motivation. Over time, sleep disorders and lack of sleep can end up contributing to the symptoms of depression. Many people diagnosed with anxiety or depression sleep less than six hours at night.
Insomnia, which is a common sleep disorder, has a strong link to depression. Sleep loss usually aggravates the symptoms of depression. Depression may also make it more difficult for people to fall asleep. But treating sleep problems can help depression as well as its symptoms and vice-versa.
Thinking and learning
Sleep plays a very important role in learning and thinking. Lack of sleep has a negative effect on these cognitive processes in a variety of ways. It impairs attention, alertness, reasoning, concentration and problem-solving. This makes it difficult for people to learn efficiently. During the night, particular sleep cycles help to consolidate memories in the mind. If a person does not get enough sleep, the individual will not be able to remember what was learned and experienced during the day.
Chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders can put people at risk for various health problems. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and obesity. Other medical conditions or problems that sleep deprivation is associated with include an irregular heartbeat, heart failure and stroke. Many people with sleep disorders often have another health condition as well.
Getting enough sleep is very important. It can help prevent many of the negative effects of sleep deprivation. It is generally good for a person’s health. If your sleep deprivation is caused by a sleep disorder, you can benefit from seeing a board certified sleep medicine dentist. A health care provider may diagnose and determine that a dental sleep medicine oral appliance can be used to treat your disorder.
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