The Link Between Sleep & Physical/Mental Health

No doubt you’ve heard that you should be getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep every night, but if you’re like most people in Topeka, chances are you fall short of that mark. You should probably try harder, because consistent, quality sleep is an important key in long-term physical and mental health.

The Trouble with Too Little Sleep

Senior woman trying to sleep

There are plenty of reasons why people in Kansas don’t get enough sleep. Busy work schedules, distractions from electronic devices and endless entertainment options leave many choosing the wrong priorities. This has led to an increase in the number of sleep disorders in Topeka and across the country.

Many people don’t recognize the warning signs, which include waking up tired; suffering from daytime fatigue and frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

Ignoring these signs leads to a higher risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. You’ll also be more likely to experience the following:

Side effects from lack of sleep or poor sleep include:

  • Accidents and injuries. Good reflexes are dependent on quality sleep; not getting enough will lead to slower reaction times, increasing the chances that you’ll be involved in an automobile accident or job-related injury. Sleep deprivation played a role in some of the worst global catastrophes, including the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, Exxon Valdez oil spill and Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.
  • Reduced mental alertness. A lack of sleep causes poor attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem-solving abilities. It also leads to memory impairment and poor academic performance.
  • Poor libido. The decrease in energy levels associated with poor sleep can negatively affect your sex drive. Lowered libidos are a side effect for both men and women. Studies show that men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea have markedly lower levels of testosterone, compounding the problem.
  • Skin problems. Puffy eyes are a common side effect of a poor night’s sleep. When the problem is chronic, sallow skin, wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes can all occur. These are related to excess cortisol, a stress hormone that damages collagen in the skin.
  • Weight gain. Sleep helps suppress the appetite by signaling a compound in the body that you have had enough to eat. By contrast, too little sleep actually stimulates hunger, leading to weight gain. The risk of obesity is 30 percent higher in people who don’t get good quality sleep.

What are the consequences of ignoring poor sleep?

Unfortunately, most people in Topeka who experience these symptoms attribute them to other factors, chalking them up to stress or aging. But ignoring the problem can literally be deadly; a research study in Britain found that people who reduced their nightly sleep from seven hours to five had twice the risk of dying from all causes, with heart disease a particularly high risk.

Can you benefit from a sleep study?

If you’re suffering from poor sleep, make an appointment with a Topeka ear, nose and throat specialist. A sleep study will help your doctor determine what is causing your restlessness and is an important first step in figuring out a treatment that will provide you with the good, quality sleep you need.

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920 SW Lane St., Suite 200
Topeka, Kansas 66606
785-233-0500

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4505 W. 6th Street, Suite C
Lawrence, Kansas 66049
785-856-2185

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Medical Arts Building One 1106 St. Mary’s Road, Suite 303
Junction City, KS 66441
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