Monday morning: we head back to work, get a fresh start on the new week, and often yawn repeatedly as we wish we could have gotten just a few more hours of sleep over the weekend. Sound familiar? For millions of sleep-deprived Americans, Blue Monday is a fatigued, somnolent reality.
The Epidemic of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is an epidemic in developed nations, with one-third to two-thirds of citizens reporting sleep loss or deprivation. One-third of our lives are spent sleeping, and the quality, quantity, and continuity of our sleep architecture directly impacts our health, happiness, and quality of life. Sleep medicine researchers and specialists have demonstrated that sleep loss has profound, life-threatening consequences:
- Obesity and sleep loss are directly correlated, with sleep deprived patients experiencing the most weight gain and having the most difficult time losing weight.
- Even five hours of sleep can lead to the development of false memories.
- Sleep loss releases toxic chemicals into the brain.
- One-third of sleep loss sufferers have reduced brain volume in the frontal, temporal and parietal brain regions.
- Sleep architecture disruption reduces reaction times when driving by half.
- Heart disease risk is increased by sleep loss by 45%.
- Cancer risk is increased by 60% from persistent sleep deprivation.
Sleep Loss Affects Teens, Adolescents, and Children
Sleep deprivation is an epidemic even in teens, with the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommending later school start times to increase student sleep during the school year. In Chicago, an Alderman is now calling for policy hearings on teen sleep deprivation and the deleterious, life-threatening effects sleep loss has on education and developing brains.
Today's modern American lifestyle contributes to sleep disruption and deprivation. Our integration of mobile devices and computers emitting the blue end of the light spectrum is certainly one cause of this problem. The light emitted from these devices readily brought into the bedroom environment can trick the brain into thinking it is still daylight, affecting the release of sleep-dependent hormones such as melatonin and disruption circadian rhythms and the sleep architecture. In one study, 87% of respondents reported smart phone or computer use within two hours of sleep.
Testing and Treating Sleep Disorders, Sleep Loss, and Sleep Deprivation
Overcoming sleep deprivation first requires an American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited in-lab sleep study at a credentialed Austin sleep lab like SleepSomatics. Evaluating the sleep architecture and quantifying restorative sleep indices enables you to know how sleep deprived you are, and, more importantly, what is causing your sleep deprivation. Sleep loss is life-threatening. Don't trust your life to a mobile phone app or an Internet gadget. Trust your sleep, health, and life to a highly-rated and credentialed sleep clinic Austin like SleepSomatics.
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.
For more information on sleep deprivation and sleep loss, read this SleepSomatics article's sources:
This blog's thumbnail image credit goes to New York Magazine.