Why Better Sleep Should Be Your Top New Year’s Resolution
Typical New Year’s resolutions include exercise, dieting, and weight loss. But did you know sleep also has a huge impact on your quality of life? In fact, sleep can impact everything from your performance at work to your relationships with loved ones. Here are the top reasons you should consider putting better sleep at the top of your New Year’s resolutions list.
A lack of quality sleep can lead to:
- Slow Thinking – You’ll be less alert and able to process information if you’re short on sleep. This can contribute to poor school or work performance.
- Accidents – Excessive sleepiness more than doubles your risk of occupational injury. In addition, drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 auto accidents each year. Sadly, some of those accidents are fatal.
- Stressed Relationships – If you’re moody or unable to pay attention due to a lack of sleep, it could affect relationships with loved ones, including your spouse or children.
- Chronic Diseases – Poor sleep has been tied to an increased risk for a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.
Quality is as Important as Quantity
Research shows that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night in order to function well. However, even that amount is not enough if it’s poor quality sleep. If your sleep is frequently interrupted, you’ll likely feel exhausted and suffer the same side effects as those who sleep fewer hours.
Could Your Poor Sleep Signal Sleep Apnea?
Many people chalk up a feeling of tiredness to the stress of work or the demands of parenting. However, that drained feeling could signal sleep apnea. Some people who have had undiagnosed sleep apnea for many years believe that exhaustion is just a part of everyday life.
Patients with sleep apnea briefly stop breathing at times throughout the night. Breathing resumes, typically with a gasp, snort, or body jerk. While these processes are interrupting your sleep, you may not be aware of it.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Include:
- Daytime fatigue
- Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, or irritability
- Headaches and dry mouth in the mornings
- Night sweats
- Restlessness during sleep
- Waking up suddenly and feeling like you’re gasping or choking
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a sleep test. Some sleep tests can be completed at home with portable equipment, while others may require you to go to a special sleep lab.
If you only have mild sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. If your sleep apnea is more severe, a device that opens up airways and helps you breathe more normally may be recommended. These devices include a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or a single-use device known as expiratory airway pressure (EPAP).
See a Sleep Specialist
Pulmonologists who are specially trained in sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment care for sleep apnea patients at LeBauer Pulmonary Care. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, request-an-appointment today. We can help you get the new year off to a more restful start!