3rdeyevisionblog has a fun infographic on 16 things you didn't know about sleep. There likely aren't too many sleep medicine specialists or credentialed, accredited sleep centers or sleep labs that would agree with this infographic that sleep position reflects a person's innate personality. But, the infographic has some interesting facts about sleep you likely didn't know about.
Getting a sleep study or sleep test can be a matter of life or death--death if the sleep problem is ignored and life if the sleep problem is properly identified and treated.
Interesting and Little-Known Sleep Facts
Three specific facts mentioned in the infographic that are of particular import:
- 1 in 4 married couples sleep in separate beds.
- People who do not dream generally have personality disorders.
- You'll die from sleep deprivation before food deprivation.
1 in 4 married couples sleep in separate beds
According to a 2005 National Sleep Foundation survey, 31% of couples are changing their sleep habits or sleep environments due to their spouse's sleep disorders or sleep-related problems. Very often, snoring (sleep-disordered breathing or sleep apnea) and restless leg syndrome are the two reported causes. Despite the serious cardiovascular risks for a heart attack, stroke, or even death with untreated sleep apnea, spouses or bed partners are more likely to switch rooms and sleep in separate beds then they are to insist their spouse get help. Given the availability and affordability of credentialed, accredited sleep testing and sleep therapy at sleep centers and sleep labs like SleepSomatics, there is no reason or excuse for couples to ignore life-threatening snoring.
People who do not dream generally have personality disorders
We know that psychiatric disorders and sleep disorders are co-morbid, meaning that sleep problems and mood-related problems often co-exist in a patient. Research from Harvard Medical School reports:
- Major Depression: 65% to 90% of adult patients and about 90% of children experience some kind of sleep problem.
- Bipolar Disorder: 69% to 99% of patients experience insomnia or restless sleep.
- Anxiety Disorders: 50% of patients report sleep disturbances.
- ADHD: 25% to 50% of children experience disrupted sleep.
The prevalent belief used to be that the psychiatric disorder itself produced the sleep disorder. However, new research suggests that broken or insufficient sleep could be the cause of these psychiatric disorders.
"[P]sychologist Matthew Walker of the University of California, Berkeley, says that "almost all psychiatric disorders show some problems with sleep.'' But, he says that scientists previously believed the psychiatric problems triggered the sleep issues. New research from his lab, however, suggests the reverse is the case; that is, a lack of shut-eye is causing some psychological disturbances.
Why Restorative Sleep Matters as much as Total Sleep Time
Dreaming is a fundamental aspect of sleep. Dreams occur during rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep. The exact function of REM sleep is still debated with neuroscience circles, but the effects of REM deprivation (poor restorative sleep) are well-documented:
- Deprivation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is particularly damaging to cognition and to spatial memory.
- Rapid eye movement sleep deprivation contributes to reduction of neurogenesis ... suppression of adult neurogenesis is thought to be important in pathologies such as depression.
- Process of human memory consolidation, active during sleep, is strongly dependent on REM sleep.
So, while it is not necessarily accurate to strictly state that an absence of dream remembrance is an indication of a personality disorder, there is strong evidence to correlate the relationship between reduced or absent REM sleep and mood disorders, thus supporting the clinical recommendation for an in-lab sleep study (to accurately evaluate the sleep architecture and quantify restorative sleep indices including REM sleep) for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, or mood disorders.
You'll die from sleep deprivation before food deprivation
The science on sleep deprivation and death is well-documented here at our blog article on dying from not enough sleep. It's worth emphasizing that fact here given that about 40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders. Getting a sleep study or sleep test can be a matter of life or death--death if the sleep problem is ignored and life if the sleep problem is properly identified and treated.
Concerned you aren't getting enough sleep? If you or someone you care about snores or is tired and fatigued during the day, sleep-disordered breathing (and sleep apnea) may be a serious risk. Get your sleep tested today by SleepSomatics, a professionally credentialed and accredited sleep test center located in Austin since 1999. Call 512.323.9253.