United Sleep Apnea Services – Your Solution to A Better Life

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Why is Sleep so Important

Many people are unaware if they get a good night’s sleep. Some people take sleep easily, whereas others worry too much about their sleep. An American Sleep Association report says that around 50 to 70 million people have insomnia, a sleep disorder in which individuals find it difficult to fall asleep. 

Sleep can help you maintain your weight, feel fresh, make you eat the right amount of calories, focus at work, and have many more benefits. Ultimately, sleep is something that can save your life and prevent your body from deadly diseases. On top of all, sleep is essential to keep your body and mind under control.

Importance of Sleep

Your body is like a 24/7 factory wherein every part or organ performs its respective functions without a break. You may think that if you’re off to sleep, your body takes some rest. But the reality is your night-shift roles begin simultaneously. Thus, sleep plays a vital role in any living organism to balance one another’s functions.

A 2020 Sleep Foundation article states that sleep is an essential human body function that helps you stay healthy and free from diseases. Without enough sleep, all body functions get collapse.

A research study published a couple of years ago claims that sleep is crucial for mammalian species to survive via attaining body homeostasis. Also, it found that humans sleep around one-third of their lifetime to rejuvenate their mental and physical health.

Unfortunately, today, owing to changing lifestyles, one in three people suffers from sleep loss due to changing lifestyles. 

baby sleeping

Stress, sitting mode of work, computer radiations, and several other reasons cause sleep loss in individuals.

The Science behind Sleep

Have you ever imagined how your body gets to sleep at night and wakes in the morning? There is an internal clock in your body that controls the sleep-wake cycle. This body clock is called the circadian rhythm, which works on a 24-hour cycle. Many body functions, apart from sleep, are either controlled by or depend on this circadian rhythm. Notably, many of your body’s hormone secretions occur relative to the circadian rhythm.

The central nervous system, the brain signaling, and a few hormone secretions regulate the sleep-wake homeostasis in your body. Illumination or light becomes the primary regulator of the circadian rhythm that controls your sleep daily. A group of specialized cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain’s hypothalamus acts as a mediator between the eyes (that captures light if present) and the brain. These signaling activities determine the day or night, thereby governing your sleep initiation or disruption.

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Cortisol and melatonin are the most important hormones that influence your human body’s circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. When the illumination gets reduced (night), melatonin secretion increases, which induces sleepiness. On the other hand, when the lighting increases (morning), cortisol secretion increases, which causes wakefulness and promotes energy for the day.

Stages of Sleep

Among the four stages of the sleep cycle, the first three stages constitute NREM sleep (Non-Rapid Eye Movement), and only the fourth stage includes REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement).

The transition from wakefulness to sleep occurs at this stage. Breathing, heart rate, and muscles tend to relax or slow their activities to induce sleep. This stage usually lasts for minutes.

In addition to slowing down breathing and heart rate, eye movements also get reduced. Overall, your body temperature also decreases to help the body sleep well. This stage lasts for hours.

Breathing, heart rate, and brain activity become nil, and the body prepares for a transition between NREM to REM sleep. This stage lasts longer initially but gets reduced over time.

This stage onsets after the first 90 minutes of your sleep. Dreams will usually occur at this stage. In contrast to NREM, breathing, heart rate, and brain activity tend to increase.

As a cycle, these four stages iterate throughout the night until morning. In common, each cycle lasts about 2 hours, with significant contributions by NREM (Stages 1, 2, and 3).

Is your Sleep Cycle Normal and Healthy?

A healthy sleep cycle depends on age, gender, work, stress levels, etc. Generally, children sleep more than adults, and adults sleep more than older individuals. A research publication states that normal sleep consists of 4 to 6 cycles.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following healthy sleep chart:

Age Group Age Range Recommended Sleep Daily
Newborns
0 to 3 months
14 to 17 hours
Infants
4 to 11 months
12 to 15 hours
Toddlers
1 to 2 years
11 to 14 hours
Preschool Kids
3 to 5 years
10 to 13 hours
School-age Kids
6 to 13 years
9 to 11 hours
Teens
14 to 17 years
8 to 10 hours
Young Adults
18 to 25 years
7 to 9 hours
Adults
26 to 64 years
7 to 9 hours
Older Adults
65 years and older
7 to 8 hours

Sleep and Your Body Functions

Sleep and Brain

An individual facing consistent sleep loss (less than 6 hours of sleep every day) may experience frequent mood swings due to impaired brain signaling owing to poor sleep.

Consequently, individuals show poor performance, feel depressed, and lack concentration. People who experienced sleep loss showed 4x lack of concentration and relationship problems, 3x depression, and 2.6x chance of committing suicide compared to those individuals with a healthy sleeping pattern.

Heart attack

Sleep and Heart

In the University of Warwick study, researchers found that individuals who slept less than 6 hours faced 48% more heart diseases and a 15% higher risk of developing a stroke. The study also found that people involved in the study who were above 65 years had 83% more chances of having high blood pressure.

Sleep and Weight gain

Leptin and ghrelin, your body’s hunger hormones, are greatly influenced by sleep.

Several studies attempted to find an association between sleep and weight gain (obesity). Poor sleep leads to sleep apnea, characterized by weight gain and diabetes symptoms. Sleep apnea patients can avoid gaining weight more than recommended with good sleep. The scientific reason behind weight gain due to poor sleep is increased appetite due to increased wakefulness.

Sleep and Immune System

Research studies also prove that your immune system gets weakened with increased sleep deprivation. Individuals working night-shifts exhibit poor sleeping habits and tend to get illnesses often. A CDC report states that one in every 25 adults falls asleep while driving, leading to around 6000 crashes yearly. If you’re often catching cold and fever, your immune system is getting poor. So, check if sleep is the culprit!

Sleep and Age

As the Sleep Foundation recommends, adults require at least 7 hours, and children need at least 9 hours of sleep. However, older people show an increased lack of sleep due to age, changing sleep cycles, and body metabolisms (mostly in women). Research studies prove that older individuals have increased nocturnal cortisol levels in their bloodstream, altering the circadian rhythm of sleep.

Sleep and Mortality

Scientists have found in observational studies that sleep increases the longevity of lives. A research team from Loughborough University claims that people who sleep for about 7 to 9 hours live longer. And on the other side, there is a 12% higher chance of dying if you have sleep deprivation.

Sleep and Mental Health

Depression and anxiety have become the most common symptoms of those who suffer from severe sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. On the other hand, individuals who sleep enough show increased mental well-being with higher energy levels and productivity.

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Sleep and Blood Sugar

The circadian rhythm and sleep affect insulin levels, which control your body’s blood sugar levels. If you get enough sleep, your insulin works fine and can keep blood glucose levels under control. In contrast, sleep loss leads to improper insulin function, leading to a higher risk of diabetes.

Sleep and Stress

In humans, sleep influences the body’s stress system that involves the HPA axis (central nervous system, the corticotropin-­releasing hormone (CRH), the hypothalamic nucleus, and the brain stem). A study mentioned in the publication reveals that sleep inhibits the HPA axis functioning and cortisol secretion, influencing the body’s stress system.

Sleep and Fertility

Sleep deprivation studies demonstrate consistent results in fertility loss. Men and women experience fertility issues due to regular sleep loss habits. In women, the reproductive hormone progesterone has a strong relationship with sleep loss. Poor sleepers also exhibit a lower sex drive, reducing their pregnancy chances. Specifically, men with sleep apnea show lower testosterone levels, which lowers their fertility potency.

Good & Poor Sleep

A Healthline article addresses the significant difference between good and poor sleep.

Good Sleep

Poor Sleep

What happens if you have Sleep Loss?

If you’re sleep deprived for a shorter period, you may feel:

Continuous sleep loss may lead to:

Diabetes and obesity pair up with these chronic sleep loss disorders and further damage the body functions.

Ways to Compensate for your Sleep Loss

Conclusion

Sleep does not differentiate between poor & wealthy or thin & fat. It is the same for all. If you sleep healthily, you may achieve a complete body metabolism, hormone, and energy homeostasis and live happily. If not, you may face serious illness problems with your body functions and sometimes fear dying.

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