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Sleep Deprivation: What You Need to Know

Do you constantly feel tired? Do you seem easily irritated? Are you finding it hard to remember or concentrate on certain things?

You might be one of the 40 million people who suffer from sleep deprivation. If you answered yes to any of these questions then you might be one of the 40 million people who suffer from sleep deprivation. Joanne Getsy, M.D., medical director of the Drexel Sleep Center notes that, "We all know that sleep is important but what people may not know is that common everyday habits could be leading to poor sleep, which can cause serious health consequences."

Causes of Sleep Deprivation offers a primer on some of the most common reasons people can't get a good night's sleep: stress, smoking, diet/weight, and allergies.

  • Stress.
    The link between stress and sleep is strong and can sometimes seem to occur in a repetitive cycle. If you are stressed, you can't sleep, and lack of sleep makes you more stressed. The body and brain are not built to endure hours upon hours of stress day after day. Allowing too much stress during the day can make the body forget how to relax, even at night when you're exhausted from the day's events.
  • Smoking.
    Smoking has been found to disrupt sleep and to reduce total sleep time. In past studies, smokers have described more daytime drowsiness than nonsmokers. If you're a smoker experiencing sleep issues, you should stop smoking. Keep in mind that sleep disruptions stemming from nicotine may not be resolved overnight.
  • Diet/Weight.
    Eating a balanced diet is essential to overall health and sleep. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, while avoiding fried foods and sugars, is ideal. Your body is still working while asleep and needs the proper nutrients to accomplish all of the delicate organizational tasks in your brain. Also, if you do not receive enough sleep, your body's hormones may not be at the correct levels. This could cause you to feel hungry or even slow down your metabolism, which could cause weight gain and high blood sugars.
  • Allergies.
    According to the National Sleep Foundation, allergic rhinitis occurs when allergens in the air are inhaled by someone who is allergic to them, irritating and inflaming the nasal passages. Allergens may include dust mites, pollen, molds, or pet dander. Sleep problems are common in people with this condition. One study found that sleep is dramatically impaired by allergic symptoms and that the degree of impairment is related to the severity of those symptoms.

Sleep problems are linked with fatigue and daytime sleepiness as well as decreased productivity at work or school, impaired learning and memory, depressed mood, and a reduced quality of life.

If You Have Problems With Sleep, We Can Help

The Drexel Sleep Center provides comprehensive evaluations, sleep disorder treatments, advanced diagnostic testing, and personalized patient plans. Our board-certified specialists treat patients in our facility in Manayunk, which is designed to give each patient a high level of relaxation. For more information about the importance of sleep, or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please call 215.482.0899.



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