Health Beat - Fall 2017 - 7


he expression "you snooze, you lose" might hold true
in some situations, but not when it comes to sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a widespread problem
among adults. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 doesn't get enough sleep.
And it's a problem with serious consequences.
"This is equally important in adolescents and young adults,
who often are chronically sleep-deprived with far-reaching
adverse consequences," says Kent Berquist, M.D., medical
director for the Sleep Disorders Center at Salina Regional
Health Center.
Raj Dasgupta, M.D., a fellow of the American Academy
of Sleep Medicine, explains the importance of sleep and the
problems that arise when you don't get enough.

Subtle Signs
You might think you're getting enough sleep, but here are
some signs that tell you otherwise:
DYou're sitting in a lecture or a meeting and your head starts
to bob as you struggle to stay awake.
DYou go into a state called microsleep-where you fall
asleep and don't realize it-which can lead to accidents
and injury.
DYou find yourself doing what's called automatic
behavior-for instance, a student taking notes in
class falls asleep, but his hand continues writing
indecipherable information.
DYou're driving and you have to roll down
the window or turn up the air conditioning
to stay alert.
Any of these signs can indicate
sleep deprivation.

If you have concerns about your quality
of sleep, talk to your doctor or call Salina
Regional Health Center's Sleep Disorders
Center at 785-452-7649.

Short-Term Problems
Inadequate sleep can lead to many issues with our bodies,
and "when we talk about the problems, we start with the
most important: the brain," Dasgupta says. "When you have
insufficient sleep, your cognition is slower, you're not thinking
as sharply, your accuracy is decreased."
Being sleep-deprived has been compared with drunk
driving, he says. If a person drives after not sleeping for 24 hours,
it's nearly equivalent to having a blood-alcohol level of 0.1,
which is higher than the legal limit in many places (0.08).
If a person gets four hours of sleep and then consumes
one 12-ounce beer, it's the equivalent of drinking a six-pack,
Dasgupta says.

Long-Term Consequences
Don't underestimate the effects of sleep deprivation over
time. Chronic sleep deprivation plays a role in heart disease,
including coronary heart disease and heart attacks, poorly
controlled diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. It's also
been associated with depression, Dasgupta says.
"There is a big role when we talk about mental health and
sleep deprivation," he says. "If you're very sleep-deprived, it
can be misinterpreted as psychoses."
Being overtired results in a surge of stress hormones-
such as cortisol and dopamine-which raises blood pressure,
making it harder for the heart to pump blood out to the body.
The stress hormones also cause blood sugars to increase,
making diabetes more difficult to control.

Quality and Quantity
Quality of sleep also matters. If someone is getting an adequate
amount of sleep but is still very tired during the day, it's
necessary to evaluate whether the person is reaching deeper,
restorative stages of sleep, Dasgupta says. Problems such
as sleep apnea, insomnia and underlying medical disorders,
including narcolepsy, can play a role.
There are no quick fixes to address problems with
quantity or quality of sleep, Dasgupta says. It's always
necessary to look at the big picture about why people are
sleep-deprived-from stress to shift work.
"Getting to the root cause is the most important,"
he says. 1

TRACK your sleep patterns with the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app



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