Friday, October 2, 2020

It’s time to pay attention to your sleep

Do you get enough sleep?  It is a matter of life and death. A study conducted by the American Auto Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety to quantify the relationship between lack of sleep and car crash risk. The study showed that getting one hour of sleep less can double your crash risk the next day. Operating a motor vehicle on only 5 hours of sleep quadruples your crash risk, impairing your reaction times to the same degree as driving with alcohol intoxication.

Scientific studies are released regularly showing links between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia and other sleep disorders, and a myriad negative health conditions, from daytime sleepiness to increased depression.

While diet and exercise have been a part of public health messaging for decades, doctors and health advocates are now advising that getting quality sleep may be just as important for overall health.

When it comes to adequate sleep, some people feel great on five hours of rest, while others need much more. The best way to determine if you’re getting the right amount, doctors say, is to find out how many hours of sleep you need to be able to wake up without an alarm and feel rested, refreshed, and energetic throughout the day.

A recent study published in the journal SLEEP found a link between older men with poor sleep quality and cognitive decline. Another study showed sleep is essential in early childhood for development, learning, and the formation and retention of memories.

Snoring and Dementia

Although there are multiple risks for Alzheimers, researchers found a correlation between sleep apnea or snoring and Alzheimer’s dementia.   People begin to have trouble recalling friends’ names, forget to run important errands and get lost driving in their own neighborhood.

So while you might turn to earplugs for relief, your body can’t escape the deadly consequences of snoring.

If you don’t snore, you likely know someone who does. Around 50% to 70% of adults snore when they sleep, and that percentage climbs higher as we age. Researchers say we shouldn’t write off snoring or other forms of disrupted breathing while asleep as mere annoyances.

Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, in which people stop breathing for seconds many times in an hour. Any disruption of breathing during sleep can affect the brain, as published in the journal Neurology.  Those who reported having sleep apnea or snoring tended to develop signs of mild cognitive impairment, including memory lapses and slower speed on cognitive skills, several years earlier than those who didn’t report any sleep-disordered breathing.

Sleep apnea may increase your risk of dying early, a new study from the University of Tennessee found.

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