In order to maintain optimal health, you need at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Sleeping less than that may be the cause of your troubled sleep and fatigue. However, if your sleep issues are long lasting, it may be a problem that’s beyond your control, like chronic snoring or a sleep disorder. Over time, these issues will cause sleep deprivation. New evidence even suggests that sleep deprivation is linked to serious neurological issues, so it’s important to seek treatment right away.
Neurological Impacts from Sleep Deprivation
Losing a good night’s rest can impact your overall health and lead to serious issues. While occasional tossing and turning isn’t generally a concern, if you find yourself consistently missing out on 7 hours of sleep, you’ll become sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can cause daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart failure. In addition, a decrease in your cognitive abilities and mood disorders will develop. However, the consequences are more extensive than you may realize as recent research suggests that it can cause neurological problems.
According to a study at the Marche Polytechnic University in Italy, the brain in mice will start to break down a cell called astrocytes, which helps clean out worn cells. While not always a negative process, if the lack of sleep becomes chronic, it will make it more difficult for the microglial cells to rid the brain of the damaged ones. This has shown to increase the risk for neurodegeneration issues, like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Another study published by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience recently found an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease as well. According to the study, 80% of those who have a REM sleep behavior disorder are connected to having neurogenerative disorders later in life. When the REM-active neurons do not “switch on,” it causes synucleinopathies to develop, which can be an early indicator for Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Improve Your Sleep at Home
To prevent sleep deprivation, it’s best to improve your sleep quality and sleep hygiene with simple changes at home.
- Get on a regular sleep schedule. Improve your chances of getting sufficient sleep by sticking to a consistent sleep-wake schedule and going to bed when you are tired.
- Make sure your sleep environment is tranquil. Set the right sleep environment by limiting background noise and exposure to bright lights and electronic screens, and keep the temperature at a comfortable level.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both alcohol and caffeine can cause disruptive sleep, and alcohol can cause snoring. Avoid consumption to maintain proper sleep patterns.
- Prevent or reduce snoring. If snoring is an issue, try these at-home strategies to reduce it.
- Get a sleep study. When home methods prove ineffective, it’s time to have your snoring and sleep issues assessed with a sleep study by a sleep specialist.
Improve Your Health and Sleep Quality
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s estimated that nearly one in three adults in the United States, roughly 83 million, don’t receive enough sleep. In addition, the American Sleep Association estimates that 50 to 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. With clear evidence supporting neurological complications linked to sleep deprivation, it’s important to seek help. Whether you or your spouse’s snoring keeps you up at night, or you worry about sleep apnea, we encourage you to seek a sleep assessment and treatment.
At Sleep Better Georgia, Dr. Jeff Rodgers offers the solutions you need to achieve better sleep and health. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.