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Understanding Long-Term Sleep Deprivation Effects

Many patients believe their consistent lack of quality sleep is not a serious concern. However, sleep-related breathing disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia significantly impact your quality of life. Long-term sleep deprivation effects can include a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, depression1, and even Alzheimer's disease or dementia2. At Advanced Dental Sleep Medicine in Guilford, Stratford, and New Haven, CT, we believe that treating these conditions is of the utmost importance and can typically provide relief with a simple oral appliance. Our team treats sleep-related breathing disorders to not only improve your ability to engage in daily activities but your overall health for a lifetime.

Image courtesy of Häggström, Mikael (2014)

Why is Sleep So Important? 

Adequate sleep is imperative to your overall health. While you sleep, your body is able to repair, recharge, and perform vital functions that are necessary to maintain a healthy body and mind. Receiving less than the recommended amount of sleep for your gender and age could significantly impact brain function, memory, and even the cardiovascular system over time.

The long-term effects of sleep deprivation can include a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, depression, and even Alzheimer's disease or dementia. 

Consequences of Lack of Sleep

There is a broad range of effects that ongoing sleep deprivation can have on both your physical and mental health: 

Cardiovascular Conditions

An increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and heart attack have been linked to insufficient sleep. Studies have shown a lack of sleep can contribute to insulin resistance, abnormal heart rate fluctuation, and an increased release of C-reactive protein3.

Cognitive Issues

Sleep is necessary for the consolidation of both short and long-term memories. If your brain is unable to perform this process, it can lead to difficulties recalling information. In addition, it has been shown that brain cell damage, inflammation, and accumulation of Alzheimer's-related proteins may be more prevalent in patients who have difficulty sleeping. This may contribute to an increased risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's later in life, affect your ability to learn, slow down your thought process, or even impair your judgment and logical reasoning capabilities. 

Mental Health

Psychiatric disorders and sleep related breathing disorders have a bi-directional relationship, meaning that one will have a profound effect on the severity of the other. Examples of this are in patients who suffer from bi-polar disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia4. Generally, individuals who are well-rested are more emotionally and mentally resilient. Those suffering from lack of sleep may struggle to cope with stress, suffer from frequent mood swings, and respond more frequently to triggers which exacerbate an underlying mental illness.

Weight Management

While diet and exercise are essential to weight management, sleep also plays a vital role in appetite regulation and energy consumption5. High caloric intake and a sluggish metabolism can lead to obesity and diabetes, as well as contribute to heart conditions. 

Many of these issues are interrelated. Treating your sleep-related breathing disorder can help reduce your risk for serious health issues and help you lead an overall healthier lifestyle. 

How Can We Help You? 

If you are suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, we can conduct an in-depth screening, however, diagnosis of your condition must be completed by a physician. Dr. Reza Radmand and our team have helped many patients find a treatment that can address their disorder. For those suffering from snoring or sleep apnea, we may recommend oral appliance therapy. If you are diagnosed with a condition other than a sleep-related breathing condition, we can refer to the appropriate specialist to ensure you receive effective treatment. 

Your Health is Our Priority

The Advanced Dental Sleep Medicine team is dedicated to helping you overcome your sleep-related breathing disorder. Contact us online or call us at the location that is most convenient for you. During a consultation, you can discuss your questions and concerns with a caring, experienced professional. 

1 http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/sleep-apnea/living-with-osa/health-consequences

2http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2017/07/05/WNL.0000000000004171

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3132857/

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3493205/

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4394987/

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