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The hectic pace of modern life may have given us the idea that we can learn to get by on little sleep, but health experts know better. Good sleep is essential to good health. Not getting enough sleep on an ongoing basis has been linked to an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, cancer and depression.
The Healing Effects of Sleep
There’s a lot going on while you’re sleeping. Your body is producing hormones, healing damaged blood vessels and forming new brain pathways that help you learn and remember.
For your body to do these things, most healthy adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Get less, and the effects add up quickly. After several nights of skipping just an hour or two, you’ll function as poorly as if you haven’t gotten a wink for days.
Shorting yourself on sleep increases your risk of long-term illness, too. A new study in the journal Science Translational Medicine illustrates how lack of sleep quickly contributes to diabetes. After just three weeks of getting five and a half hours of sleep per night, study participants’ blood glucose levels went haywire. Some were even considered prediabetic. Fortunately, the blood-sugar effects of poor sleep disappeared after nine nights of good rest.
Tips for Getting Your Rest
Adequate sleep can almost immediately make it easier to eat a healthy diet, drive without having an accident and increase your productivity at work and school. Here’s some advice to help you catch up on your Zs, starting tonight:
If you’re a shift worker or your job frequently interrupts your rest, you may need to take extra steps to stay on a sleep schedule. Try keeping the lights bright at work, and avoid changing your shift to give your body time to adjust. Talk with your doctor if you have trouble coping.
Sharp Grossmont’s Sleep Disorders Center Can Help
If sleep continues to be an issue, it could mean something more serious and should be discussed with your doctor. If a sleep disorder is suspected, your doctor may order a sleep study, which can be done at Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center, a specialized outpatient facility for the evaluation and treatment of patients with problems relating to sleep and wakefulness. Depending on the sleep disorder that is diagnosed, treatment may include surgery, medical devices, behavior modification or medication.
For More Information
Sleep assessment is provided with physician referral only. To contact the Sleep Disorders Center directly, please call 619-740-4488. To learn more, visit sleep disorders center.
To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for a San Diego doctor specializing in sleep disorders or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.