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Fact: More and more scientific studies are showing correlations between poor quality sleep and/or insufficient sleep with a variety of diseases. Blood pressure is variable during the sleep cycle. Interrupted sleep, however, can negatively affect the normal variability and may lead to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Research indicates that insufficient sleep impairs the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes. Fragmented sleep can cause a lowered metabolism and increased levels of the hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol levels can result in an increased appetite and a decrease in one's ability to burn calories.
Fact: Sleep experts recommend a total sleep time of seven to nine hours of sleep for the average adult. Sleep patterns change as people age, but the amount of sleep they generally need does not. Older people may wake more frequently through the night and may actually get less nighttime sleep, but their need for sleep is no less than that of younger adults. Older people tend to sleep more during the day because they may sleep less during the night.
Fact: Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that is associated with other medical problems. Sleep apnea is characterized by episodes of decreased airflow or complete lack of airflow throughout the night. People with sleep apnea may remember waking up frequently during the night gasping for breath. The breathing pauses may be related to reduced blood oxygen levels, which can strain the heart and cardiovascular system. Over time, sleep apnea can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease if it is not treated. The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated. People who snore loudly should consult a physician, especially if pauses in snoring are noted and daytime tiredness is present. Snoring on a frequent or regular basis has been associated with hypertension. In addition, insufficient sleep affects growth hormone secretion that is linked to obesity. As the amount of hormone secretion decreases the chance of weight gain increases.
Fact: Sleep experts say that most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety.
Fact: Teens need at least 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep each night, compared to an average of 7 to 9 hours each night for most adults. The internal biological clocks of teenagers can keep them awake later in the evening and can interfere with waking up in the morning.
Fact: There are four symptoms usually associated with insomnia:
Insomnia can be a symptom of a sleep disorder or other medical, psychological or psychiatric problems. Insomnia is a treatable disorder. Symptoms should be discussed with a healthcare professional when those symptoms occur more than a few times a week and start to affect a person's daytime functioning.
Fact: Excessive daytime sleepiness can occur even after a person gets enough sleep. Such sleepiness can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea. Symptoms should be discussed with a physician.
Fact: The body rests during sleep. Despite this fact, the brain remains active, gets recharged, and still controls many body functions including breathing. When we sleep, we typically drift between two basic sleep states, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Non-REM (NREM) sleep, which consists of Sleep Stages 1 to 3. Sleep can be important to helping with consolidating your memories and cognitive functioning.
Fact: Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is a symptom of insomnia. Relaxing imagery or thoughts may help to induce sleep. However, most experts agree that if you do not fall back to sleep within 15 to 20 minutes, you should get out of bed. You should go to another room, and engage in a relaxing activity like listening to music or reading. Avoid bright lights, including those from computers, phone, and televisions. Don't watch the clock. Return to bed only when you feel tired.
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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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