According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,3 lack of sleep is a major public health problem, and insufficient sleep has been linked to a wide range of health problems. After reviewing more than 300 studies to determine how many hours of sleep most people need to maintain their health, an expert panel concluded that most adults need around eight hours per night to function well. Children and teenagers require even more.
Sleep apnea promotes poor health and chronic disease by:
- Reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood, which can impair the function of your internal organs and/or exacerbate other health conditions you may have
- Slowing down or preventing critical detoxification of your brain tissue, as your brain’s waste removal system, known as the glymphatic system, only operates during deep sleep
- Disrupting your circadian rhythm, resulting in reduced melatonin production and the disruption of other bodily chemical processes
A number of studies have highlighted the health risks associated with sleep apnea. For example, sleep apnea may promote:
- Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-related issues
- Heart disease
- Pre-diabetes or diabetes
- Tumor growth
In addition, sleep apnea can contribute to feelings of depression. Sometimes, sleep apnea is actually misdiagnosed as depression. The more severe your sleep apnea, the greater your likelihood of feeling depressed, mainly due to lack of quality sleep. Despite the negative bodily effects, many sufferers may be unaware of the tremendous health risks associated with sleep apnea, and therefore resist getting it checked out.
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