Those who are fortunate enough to enjoy healthy sleep often take a good night’s rest for granted. But if you or your sleeping partner suffer with snoring or sleep apnea, you know how difficult daily life can be without good quality sleep. Insufficient sleep can affect every facet of life from job performance to personal relationships to your physical and mental health.
Sleep and Your Brain
Your brain needs sleep in order to function properly. During sleep, the brain continues work processing the events of the day, so a full night’s sleep is crucial to healthy memory function, decision making, and learning. Recent studies have shown that during sleep our brains clear out toxins that are associated with degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Those who snore, or sleep with someone who does, crawl out of bed each morning feeling exhausted and irritable. Noisy sleepers become used to the frequent jab of an elbow and the desperate plea “stop snoring!” Sometimes both parties experience the horror of waking up to the snorting, gasping sounds of a sleep apnea sufferer who has stopped breathing during the night. Either way, because both bed partners wake up several times each night, their brains don’t receive the restorative benefits of normal, healthy sleep.
The Sleep-Deprived Brain
The physical effects of poor sleep–dark circles, puffy eyes, dull skin–are obvious. The psychological effects are less obvious but more troubling:
- Cognitive impairment: Poor sleep reduces the brain’s efficiency in storing and retrieval, so memory is strongly affected by sleep deprived. Decreased creativity, difficulty concentrating and increased risk taking are behaviors also associated with inadequate sleep.
- Anxiety: Lack of sleep can also affect your ability to deal with stress, and that can lead to anxiety. For those who already have anxiety, sleep problems tend to become even worse, and they in turn become less able to cope with their symptoms.
- Depression: Those who have sleep apnea have been shown to be more likely to develop depression. The lack of oxygen, in addition to the interruption to sleep, can alter your brain’s functioning. Even those without sleep apnea experience increased fatigue which is often linked to depression.
Sleep loss caused by snoring and sleep apnea can do serious harm to our mental health. Don’t let snoring disrupt your family’s sleep any longer. Contact the Snoring Center today for information on minimally invasive office procedures to treat snoring and sleep apnea. Get back on the road to a better night’s sleep today!