World Sleep Day: Do you get adequate sleep?

World Sleep Day: Do you get adequate sleep?

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being, and people deprived of adequate or proper sleep regularly have to pay the price for it. Studies show that a good night’s sleep is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, while its lack can hamper proper functioning of various parts of the brain.

A continued sleep deficiency may lead to trouble in concentrating and a considerable shortening of attention span. But you don’t have to live with sleeping problems, as there are many sleep aids to manage various sleep disorders, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.

To create awareness about sleep disorders, the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) observes the World Sleep Day in March every year. This year, the World Sleep Day focuses on advancing sleep health worldwide by helping people recognize the seriousness of sleep problems, including adult and pediatric issues, as well as related disorders such as insomnia, hypersomnia, parasomnias and circadian dysrhythmias. On this occasion, Sovereign Mental Health Services takes a look at the significance of regular sound sleep and the problems arising out of its deprivation.

One-third adult Americans sleep deprived

In general, most healthy adults need an average of eight hours of sleep a night but most of us have experienced trouble sleeping at one time or another. A recent study has revealed that more than one-third of the U.S. adults do not sleep a wink due to stress, a health condition, jet lag, certain medications, or even due to the excessive consumption of coffee.

As part of the study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed 444,306 adults in all the states and the District of Columbia. It found more than one-third of the participants to be sleep deprived, which means they were sleeping less than seven hours a day.

“People just aren’t putting sleep on the top of their priority list,” says lead author Anne Wheaton, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the CDC. “They know they should eat right, get exercise, quit smoking, but sleep just isn’t at the top of their board. And maybe they aren’t aware of the impact sleep can have on your health. It doesn’t just make you sleepy, but it can also affect your health and safety.”

In another research, scientists at the University of Chicago revealed that people who don’t get a shuteye find food much more appealing and may pack on the pounds due to overeating. As part of the study, the researchers looked at a brain chemical called endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which mimics the chemical found in cannabis and affects the feeling of pain, pleasure and appetite.

Interestingly, on being sleep deprived for a considerable period, the participants were found to have higher levels of 2-AG and also snacked on unhealthier foods more often. Yet another study dealt with the causes of sleep deprivation and blamed bright light of many urban areas for disruptions in the sleep pattern of many people. This study is to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Why is sleep important?

What difference could a good night’s sleep make in your life? When a person sleeps, the brain organizes and stores memories, while deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that helps in normal body growth, especially in children and teens. Sleep deprived people are vulnerable to numerous health issues, but those with mental diseases are even more likely to feel groggy during the day which interferes with their daily activities.

The following points shed light on the potential link between a sleep disorder and various mental diseases:

– Chronic sleep deprivations are common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

– Lack of sleep may increase risk for developing numerous mental illnesses, and may also result from such disorders.

– Treating the sleep disorder may help reduce some of the symptoms related to mental health problems.

Making help available

Lack of sleep can make a person grumpy and foggy and can impair attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem-solving. Sleep-related problems and mental disorders are closely linked. Sleep disturbances – particularly insomnia – are highly prevalent in anxiety disorders.

If a nutritious diet is important for good health, so is the proper sleep. And if you are deprived of it too often, then the right medical intervention may help you. Sleeping well will lessen the fear of various mental problems, or help improve one’s condition if he or she is already suffering. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 to know more about sleeping disorders, related mental problems and the best available treatments in your area.

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