Maybe you’re suffering from a serious sleep disorder, or maybe you’re a new parent with a baby that keeps crying during the night. Whatever the reason, interrupted sleep can leave you feeling tired the next morning. Unfortunately, that’s not the worst that can happen, especially if it’s an issue that lasts for weeks. Here are 5 ways your physical and mental can be affected if you don’t catch enough z’s.
1. A Constant Bad Mood
Everyone knows that being tired can leave you feeling irritable, but you might be surprised to learn that, according to a study published in the journal Sleep, interrupted sleep can actually be worse for your mood than not getting any sleep at all. Over time, these persistent negative feelings can lead to depression.
2. Decreased Mental Capabilities
Sleep is a cycle, and your body needs to complete it to get the full benefits of a good night’s rest. If you keep waking up, you’ll never reach the later stages of the cycle, and your cognitive abilities and attention span will start to suffer. This can be very bad for your career by affecting your everyday job performance. It can also be dangerous; your reaction time will be reduced, which makes it much more likely you’ll have an accident while driving.
3. Memory Problems
The sleep cycle is an important component of the learning process; the later stages are the mind’s chance to create long-term memories. As such, patients who can’t sleep through the night will have a harder time learning new skills and making memories that will stick. Remember that it’s not the amount of sleep that’s important, it’s whether the sleep cycle was allowed to complete itself; getting 6 hours of sleep, for example, won’t be beneficial for your memory if you kept waking up every 30 minutes.
4. Protein Buildup in the Brain
It’s been suggested by many researchers that Alzheimer’s disease might be caused by the buildup of amyloid proteins in the brain. (It’s thought that the proteins might damage the cells.) While a causal relationship hasn’t been completely proven yet, it has been found that amyloid levels tend to increase when sleep is regularly interrupted.
5. Other Health Problems
A lack of sleep can create all sorts of health issues. It can put you at a higher risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. It can also change your hormones and cause you to overeat, leading to obesity. Finally, in rare circumstances – such as when caused by uncommon genetic disorders like fatal familial insomnia – interrupted sleep can actually cause death.
If you’re tired of not getting the high-quality sleep you deserve, make an appointment with your sleep dentist right away. They’ll help determine whether you’re suffering from a disorder such as sleep apnea and can recommend a treatment that’ll make it easier for your body to keep snoozing until morning!
About the Author
Dr. Keane Fedosky has been practicing dentistry in Rowlett for years and is a founding partner in Rowlett Dental Associates. He has over two decades of experience using oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea, a condition that causes sleep to be frequently interrupted. To schedule an appointment at his practice, Sleep Rehab, visit his website or call (972) 753-3737.