In our last blog post, we talked about World Sleep Day and the importance of healthy sleep. Sleep is the foundation of our entire well-being and a crucial component of survival. Good sleep is necessary to fully recharge and be productive, connected and creative. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is increasingly busy, over-scheduled and even a bit frantic. World Sleep Day embraces a counter-movement for those who see the value in getting a good night’s rest.
Sleep impacts nearly every aspect of our physical and mental health. Research suggests sleep quality, rather than the quantity of sleep, has a greater impact on your quality of life and how well you function during the day. Poor quality sleep has a negative impact on health, well-being and overall satisfaction with life. Insufficient sleep can cause an increased appetite, weight gain, low attention span and poor memory recall.
There are three elements of good quality sleep:
- Duration: The length of sleep should be sufficient for you to feel rested and alert the following day.
- Continuity: Sleep periods should be continuous without waking up during the night.
- Depth: Sound sleep should be deep enough to feel restorative.
Combating Sleep Disorders
The latest studies show 35% of people feel like they do not get enough sleep. But there’s a global epidemic of sleep problems that constitute a threat on health and quality of life for up to 45% of the world’s population. There are nearly 100 identified sleep disorders, but thankfully, many are preventable and most can be modified or managed with the help of sleep specialists. However, studies show less than one-third of sufferers seek professional help.
Here are some sleep facts, by the numbers:
- 71,000 people are injured every year due to sleep-related accidents.
- 1,550 people die in sleep-related accidents.
- 46% of individuals getting poor-quality sleep report missing work or events, compared to 15% of healthy sleepers.
- Restless Legs Syndrome, a common sleep disorder, impacts 3-10% of the population.
- Insomnia affects between 30-45% of the adult population.
Regular breathing during sleep is critical, and the persistent interruption of breathing during sleep is called obstructive sleep apnea. It is caused by a blockage of the upper airway and may be due to a variety of factors including a large tongue, extra tissue or decreased muscle tone holding the airway open. Each pause in breathing can last from 10 seconds to more than a minute, and events may occur 5 to 50 times or more each hour.
Sleep apnea is a prevalent disorder affecting as many as 17% of U.S. men and 9% of U.S. women. When breathing stops, the drop in oxygen that occurs puts a strain on the heart and can lead to a number of serious health conditions. It causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue and can lead to hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
So make it a priority to get better sleep, and consult a professional if you have any sleep disorders or problems. Your health depends on it!