You probably don’t need a sleep doctor to tell you that not getting enough sleep is terrible for you. Chances are, you’ve already felt the effects of a sleepless night the next day, or noticed that a week of tossing and turning leaves you feeling foggy, achy, and just kind of awful overall. But for many of us, a night or two — or even a month or so of less than high quality sleep doesn’t feel like a huge deal. Sooner or later the stress ends, you get a good long sleep-in, and you consider the problem solved. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way all the time. The term “sleep debt” refers to the amount of sleep you’re not getting, and can refer both to straightforward sleep loss and the harder to recognize effects of poor quality sleep.
The concept of “debt” makes a pretty tidy metaphor: you’re supposed to get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night, depending on your personal needs. When you fall below your particular sleep threshold, your brain incurs the “debt” and will look to make it up later. It’s part of why you may sleep deep and hard after an unusually restless night and why most of us sleep in on a Saturday morning. That’s fine if you usually get your ideal amount of sleep and just need a few hours to recoup the loss on the odd weekend, but what happens if you’re like most Americans and regularly fall short of your threshold? It isn’t “no harm, no foul”. Years of no sleep or low-quality sleep means could find yourself paying interest on your sleep debt in some pretty alarming ways. Continue reading
June is all about the guys: with Father’s Day just around the corner, and Men’s Health Week underway, this month is a great time to take a moment and reflect on the lives and health of men. Men face specific challenges when it comes to all aspects of health — they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick, thanks to outdated stereotypes, and mental health concerns often take a backseat to work and family obligations. There’s a fair amount of pressure on men to tough out any health concerns they may have, which means that if they do end up on the exam table, they’re likely to play down what’s really going on.
Convincing men to take physical and mental health ‘red flags’ seriously means leaping over a few hurdles thrown up by societal gender perceptions, and that goes double for sleep. As a whole, we’re all more likely to write sleep off as something that’s nice to have, not something we need. Of course, the opposite is true. And guys? If you don’t get enough sleep often enough, it can mess with your body and head in some really serious ways. Continue reading
The summer season is almost here! And that means that travel season is in full swing, ready or not. If you’re treating your sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, or soon will be, you may have some questions. Fortunately, we’ve got answers. As a bonus, we’ve assembled a FREE printable CPAP travel checklist, available for download.
Wherever you’re headed – whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile – you can be sure you’ll get a great night’s sleep once you get there. Continue reading
Does Sleep Loss Cause Diabetes?
It’s no secret that insufficient sleep makes us cranky and wreaks havoc on our ability to focus and function. But sleep deprivation’s more insidious side effects include physical risks that are far more serious. There’s certainly no dearth of sobering study results that point to negative long-term health concerns brought on by sleep deprivation. One that’s particularly alarming? The link between insufficient sleep or poor quality sleep and one of America’s biggest public health concerns: diabetes. Continue reading
There is no denying that narcotic medications have allowed for much-needed relief for patients in debilitating pain. But there can also be no denying that there is a dark side to the skyrocketing rate of prescribed narcotics like hydrocodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl, especially when they’re consumed over a long period of time. The risk of addiction and dependency looms largest, but opioid therapies carry a range of other risks. Opioid-induced sleep apnea is one of them.
More and more research is highlighting the connection our sleep health has on our eye and vision health. Here’s what you need to know about sleep and eye disorders.
The last few days of 2016 are flying by, and that means that its time to turn our attention to the upcoming new year. For lots of us, that means making a New Year’s Resolution (or two, or ten). But when the excitement wanes, motivation can quickly follow, and before you know it, you’re back to your old habits. Don’t feel bad, though. Turns out, a scant 8% of resolvers end up achieving their goals, often before the champagne has a chance to go flat. All of the gym memberships, pricey organizers, and good intentions won’t matter if you don’t know how to keep your new year’s resolution.
Luckily, we have the answer, and it applies to any resolution you’re thinking of making. No matter what you vow to do when the year turns over, healthy sleep habits are the key to making it stick.
Cold weather can bring insomnia with it — these winter sleep tips will have you sleeping and feeling better in no time.
Yesterday marked the first day of winter, an occasion that’s typically met with very little fanfare. After all, either you’re from somewhere that’s already been buried under snow and hitting record lows for weeks, or you’re a Texan.
But even we Texans have had our share of frigid weather, and more is on the horizon. And no matter where you live, when the temperature dips, it’s tougher to get a good night’s rest. We’ll tell you why that is, why good sleep is more important than ever in the winter months, and give you some winter sleep tips so you can get back on track.
Each year on November 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day — a day set aside to honor, celebrate, and express our gratitude for the men and women who place country above self daily. But as the day is winding down and many of us settle in for a good night’s rest, many of those same veterans won’t find it easy to sleep at all.