Sleep loss has some tell-tale symptoms
Poor quality sleep can have an enormous impact on your life, both personally and professionally.
When you are always tired, suffer from chronic fatigue or simply feel exhausted much of the time, your patience can wear thin and you can begin to feel miserable. Lack of sleep can impact your physical health as well. Without healthy sleep, your body isn’t getting the rest it needs to adequately recharge.
Unhealthy sleep and the causes behind it aren’t always obvious. In fact, there are some causes of sleep loss you might not be aware of.
An inconspicuous cause of sleep loss
If you have a new baby, neighbours who are noisy at night, or if you are battling with insomnia, you are probably well aware of why you feel so tired during the day. Some sleep disorders, however, can cause poor quality sleep, and may come with very little in the way of sleep loss symptoms. Sleep apnea is one such disorder that can rob you of healthy sleep without you being aware of it. How?
Sleep apnea is caused when the soft tissues in the back of your throat over-relax while you sleep. These tissues can block or partially block your airway. If your airway is partially blocked, a common symptom is snoring. This is due to the vibrations of the throat tissues, as inhaled air pushes its way past.
If your airway becomes completely blocked, your brain instinctively awakens you so that you can resume breathing. Very often these awakenings are so brief you aren’t conscious of them. Some sleep apnea sufferers have dozens or more of these apneic events every night. As they continually awaken to resume more efficient breathing, they don’t reach the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep resulting in poor sleep quality. An additional health issue linked to sleep apnea is inadequate oxygen intake which can lead to chronic hypoxia.
Sleep loss symptoms to watch out for
While a sleep disorder itself does not cause depression, the lack of sleep that comes with it can play a role. Lack of sleep can make depression worse.
The fatigue caused by lack of adequate sleep can cause weight problems if it causes you to reach for blood-sugar-boosting sugary snacks, or hinders your ability to exercise. Poor sleep can also slow down your metabolism.
Loss of libido
If the main obstacle you are combating is lack of desire, it could be the result of chronic fatigue. A healthy sex life is part of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, exercise and good quality sleep.
When you are overtired, it can be harder to remain patient or respond positively to everyday issues and problems. This can cause a breakdown in an otherwise healthy relationship.
Decreased job performance
Simply put, it’s hard to put in a good day’s work when you are exhausted. Over-tired employees can cost organizations and companies in terms of lost productivity. If your position requires you to deal directly with clients and you are tired and/or grumpy, you could be at risk of alienating customers.
Chronic fatigue can increase the risk of an accident while driving or operating machinery. This is because your reaction time is much slower, and it can be more difficult to stay awake at the wheel.
Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition – but it can be treated
If you are suffering from any of the sleep loss symptoms listed above Lethbridge dentist Dr Lachman recommends seeing your doctor. If you come away with a diagnosis of sleep apnea, there are several treatments that can help you to regain better quality sleep.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). This treatment involves a machine and a mask designed to push air into your lungs while you sleep, keeping your airways open.
For people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, or those who are unable to tolerant CPAP, a dental sleep device may also be an effective sleep apnea treatment option.
Learn more about dental treatment options for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can be a dangerous condition and can put your health at risk. If you would like to learn more about sleep loss symptoms and how a dental sleep appliance works please schedule a consultation.