Tired of counting sheep but can’t get a peep of sleep? You’re probably one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from a sleep disorder known as chronic insomnia.
The condition, which is characterized by the inability to fall and/or stay asleep, can affect people temporarily or for prolonged periods of time and cause a multitude of health effects and problems. Some of the key effects of this sleep disorder and the resulting sleep deprivation include the following:
Heart disease and complications
Suffering from long-term insomnia could lead to heart problems and issues because the lack of sleep can cause elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as inflammation. These are all problems related to heart conditions and problems, which are complicated even further because our bodies’ systems require sleep to recover and repair themselves. Your blood vessels must undergo regular repair, and without adequate sleep, it becomes harder and harder for them to do so.
Reduced immune function
Sleep is when our bodies produce antibodies and cytokines, which means the lack of it can lead to reduced immune function and poor health in general. Insomnia can lead to you falling sick a lot more frequently and much more easily, struggling with illnesses like viruses. If you find yourself falling sick a lot more frequently, on top of being tired and burnt out from lack of sleep, consider treatment for your sleep disorder.
Weight gain and other problems
Your weight is also controlled by your sleep because ghrelin and leptin, the two hormones responsible for monitoring hunger, fullness, and your appetite, can become dysregulated from lack of sleep. The disbalance causes an increase in appetite and reduction in control, affecting your body’s ability to recognize fullness, which causes you to overeat and thus gain more weight.
It’s definitely difficult to recognize this connection, but it’s a real side effect that can put you at risk for obesity and other health problems, including type 2 diabetes.
Depression and anxiety
It goes without saying that your mental health will also be severely impacted by a lack of sleep. While depression and anxiety can cause sleep disorders, they can also be the result of one, making it a chicken and egg situation. This affects the overall quality of life and functionality, making it difficult for individuals who are struggling with their mental health. It’s vital that you look into depression and anxiety treatment alongside help for your sleep problems.
A sleep disorder is more than just a few nights of lost sleep; it’s a lot more debilitating and serious than we realize. At our clinic in Naples, FL, we want to help you live a fuller, more active life, and for that, adequate, restful sleep is key. Work with our therapists for extensive treatment for your sleep disorder and other emotional and physical challenges, including pain management. Contact us today to set up an appointment or to get more information.