How Important Is Sleep?

Fotolia_137964816_XS.jpgIt's easy to forget that sleep is a big deal. After all, it's something we do every day and everyone does it. With that said, there are millions of people who struggle to get enough sleep or the quality of sleep that they need. Approximately 40 million people in the US deal with chronic long-term sleep disorders, with an additional 20 million people having occasional sleep problems. It's important to know that sleep plays a vital role in our physical and mental health, as well as our quality of life and overall safety. Let's take a quick look at the implications here.

Physical and Mental Health
Sleep is important to your heart and blood vessels, hormonal balance, blood sugar level, growth and development, immune system, and much more. Prolonged sleep deficiency has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and other health issues. Sleep also helps your brain to form new pathways to learn and remember information, which helps you to pay attention, be creative, and make decisions. A prolonged lack of sleep has been linked to depression, mood swings, difficulty making decisions or coping with change, suicide, and risk-taking behavior

Quality of Life
When you get enough sleep, you are more productive. This leads to better performance in jobs and school, and overally better quality of life. Those who don't get enough sleep are often more prone to make mistakes, take longer to finish tasks, and have a slower reaction time.

Overall Safety
Bottom line, if you're not getting enough sleep, you may be putting yourself or others at risk. Regularly losing even 1-2 hours per night can result in microsleep, which is a brief moment of sleep that occurs when you are normally awake that you may not even be aware of. Common example of microsleep include "highway hypnosis" and missing large chunks of information in a lecture or presentation that you are attending. Sleep deficiency also harms your ability to drive as much as, if not more than, being drunk. Sleepiness plays a role in approximately 100,000 car accidents per year. It can also effect your job performance, which can directly put you and others in danger depending on your field (ie. pilots, mechanics, construction or assembly line workers, health care professionals, etc.)

If you're not getting the sleep you need, you may need professional help. For those in Northeast Georgia, Ashford Clinic can help you get to the bottom of your sleep issues. Call us at 706-248-6860 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.