Sleep Deprivation

  • How to tell if it’s time for a ‘sleep divorce’

    (CNN)He snores until the walls rattle. She gives off a massive amount of body heat. One of you is a cover hog, kicks at night or takes consistent 3 a.m. bathroom breaks. Maybe you sleepwalk or suffer from insomnia. The list of reasons why your bed partner might be keeping you up at night could be long and as dreary as your mood when you drag yourself from bed each morning.

    When it comes to your health, that’s nothing to yawn at: Being deprived of a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and dementia, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Sleep Divorce As A Result of Sleep Deprivation

    There’s an emotional toll as well, said sleep specialist Wendy Troxel, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation who authored “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep.”

    “Sleep deprivation can affect key aspects of relationship functioning, like your mood, your level of frustration, your tolerance, your empathy, and your ability to communicate with your partner and other important people in your life,” Troxel said.Poor sleep — and that resulting crummy mood — makes people “less able to engage in ‘perspective taking,’ or putting small adverse events in context,” said sleep specialist Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in the division of sleep medicine for Harvard Medical School, who coauthored the book “Sleep for Success!”

    That strain can contribute to depression, anxiety, and other emotional and relationship dysfunction, Robbins said.

    Sleep training for adults prevents depression, study findsResearch done by Troxel and her team found that a well-rested person is “a better communicator, happier, more empathic, more attractive and funnier” — all traits that are key to developing and sustaining strong relationships, she said.Sleeping apart can help couples be happier, less resentful and more able to enjoy their time together in bed, particularly on weekends when work demands are lighter, Troxel said.”I tell couples to try to think of it not as a filing for sleep divorce, but as forging a sleep alliance,” she added. “At the end of the day, there is nothing healthier, happier and even sexier than a good night of sleep.”https://www.cnn.com/audio/player?episodeguid=85e00da6-889c-4c66-a203-adb70011ee08&parentOrigin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com&canonicalUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2021%2F12%2F04%2Fhealth%2Fsleep-divorce-wellness%2Findex.html

    Rule out underlying sleep issues

    Sleep partners are often the ones to flag signs of sleep disorders and encourage their loved one to visit a doctor or sleep specialist. Undiagnosed, sleep disorders may well harm you and your partner’s future health.That’s why experts say it’s best to check with a sleep specialist to rule out and treat any underlying condition before you leave your loved one’s bed — you may well be the key to identifying and treating a true health issue.

    Coping skills

    Once any serious health issue is ruled out, couples who find it emotionally bonding to sleep in the same bed may wish to try some practical coping tips before making the decision to sleep apart, Troxel said. No alcohol please. If you struggle with insomnia, cut out alcohol well before bed, experts say. It may appear to be helping you sleep, but booze actually causes middle of the night awakenings that can be hard to overcome. Snorers should eliminate alcohol as well, Troxel said, “because as everyone probably knows, if you sleep with a snorer and they have one too many drinks, the snoring will be much worse that night.” That’s because the alcohol further relaxes the throat muscles, encouraging that loud snore.

    Keep your brain sharp by finding your sleep ‘sweet spot,’ study saysThis is where partners can be powerful and beneficial sources of what experts call “social control,” Troxel said.”If you’re prone to drinking but you know that the consequences are not only going to bad for your sleep, but your partner’s sleep as well, then maybe you’ll be more motivated to cut back a bit,” she said.Raise the head. For snoring, try sleeping on additional pillows or using an adjustable bed — anything that raises the head to keep the throat open, Troxel said.”For many people snoring tends to be worse when they are flying flat on their backs, so raising the head a little bit can be useful,” she said.If the underlying issue is congestion, try adding a humidifier to the room, she added. “Some people have had success with over-the-counter nasal strips to keep the airway open.”Drown the sound. Survival 101 for dealing with a snoring partner is trying to deafen the noise, Troxel said. Try ear plugs and run a fan or white noise machine.Try sleep scheduling. A snorer who sleeps with a partner with insomnia can help that partner get more sleep by going to bed later than their partner, Troxel said.”For example, a snorer can delay their bedtime by a half an hour to an hour,” Troxel said. “That allows the partner to fall into a deeper stage of sleep and possibly stay that way once the snorer comes to bed.”Turn the snorer. Sleeping on the back is the worse position for snoring, because the soft tissues of the mouth and tongue collapse into the throat. As the sleeper unconsciously forces air past those soft tissues, snores emerge.

    How to fall asleep more quickly — the healthy way“If you can keep someone on their side, that can attenuate the snoring,” Robbins said. “I’ve heard of all kinds of creative techniques, such as putting a bra on the snorer in reverse and then putting tennis balls in the cups.”Full support body pillows may be an option, if they stay in place, said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.”I’m a fan of the simple things, but if you want to purchase something we’ve come a long way from sewing tennis balls into the back of our pajamas,” Dasgupta said. “You can buy a strap-on to your back that has little protruding foam-like things which are supposed to make you sleep on your side.”And there are some FDA-approved devices that strap to the throat or chest and provide vibrations designed to go off when you are on your back, prompting a move to side-sleeping.”

    Time for separate rooms?

    You’ve tried it all, and good sleep is still a distant dream. At this point, there’s no reason not to do what is best for each of you to get the quality sleep you need — especially since there are other ways to nurture a relationship besides sharing a bed.

    The best alarm clocks of 2021 (CNN Underscored)“Couples can still make the bedroom a sacred space, even if they choose not to actually sleep together,” Troxel said. “You can develop pre-bedtime rituals and use that time to actually connect with your partner instead of being independently on a phone or laptop or whatnot. “She encourages couples to spend quality time together before bed, sharing details of the day and sending positive messages to each other. “We know self-disclosure is good for relationships, it’s good for sleep,” Troxel said. “If you tell your partner you’re grateful for them, that’s a deep form of connection. Gratitude is good for relationships, it’s good for sleep.”

    Nor does a “sleep divorce” have to mean separate beds every night, Troxel said. It could be just the workweek, with weekends spent in the same bed. It could be every other night — the options are as unique as each couple. “There truly is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ sleeping strategy for every couple,” Troxel said. “It’s really about finding the strategy that’s going to work best for the two of you.”

  • The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body

    Original Post | Healthline May 15 2020

    The following is a fantastic article describing the effects of sleep deprivation on your body, broken down by system. Medically reviewed by Stacy Sampson, D.O., Family Medicine — Written by Stephanie Watson and Kristeen Cherney on May 15, 2020


    If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how you’ll feel the next day — tired, cranky, and out of sorts. But missing out on the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye nightly does more than make you feel groggy and grumpy.

    The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are real.

    It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk. Science has linked poor slumber with a number of health problems, from weight gain to a weakened immune system.

    Read on to learn the causes of sleep deprivation and exactly how it affects specific body functions and systems.

    Causes of sleep deprivation

    In a nutshell, sleep deprivation is caused by consistent lack of sleep or reduced quality of sleep. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis can eventually lead to health consequences that affect your entire body. This may also be caused by an underlying sleep disorder.

    Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function at its best. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new thought connections and helps memory retention.

    Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life.

    review of studies in 2010Trusted Source found that sleeping too little at night increases the risk of early death.

    Noticeable signs of sleep deprivation include:

    Stimulants, such as caffeine, aren’t enough to override your body’s profound need for sleep. In fact, these can make sleep deprivation worse by making it harder to fall asleep at night.

    This, in turn, may lead to a cycle of nighttime insomnia followed by daytime caffeine consumption to combat the tiredness caused by the lost hours of shut-eye.

    Behind the scenes, chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with your body’s internal systems and cause more than just the initial signs and symptoms listed above.

    Central nervous system

    Your central nervous system is the main information highway of your body. Sleep is necessary to keep it functioning properly, but chronic insomnia can disrupt how your body usually sends and processes information.

    During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t perform its duties as well.

    You may also find it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things. The signals your body sends may also be delayed, decreasing your coordination and increasing your risk for accidents.

    Sleep deprivation also negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. You may feel more impatient or prone to mood swings. It can also compromise decision-making processes and creativity.

    If sleep deprivation continues long enough, you could start having hallucinations — seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there. A lack of sleep can also trigger mania in people who have bipolar mood disorder. Other psychological risks include:

    You may also end up experiencing microsleep during the day. During these episodes, you’ll fall asleep for a few to several seconds without realizing it.

    Microsleep is out of your control and can be extremely dangerous if you’re driving. It can also make you more prone to injury if you operate heavy machinery at work and have a microsleep episode.

    Immune system

    While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like antibodies and cytokines. It uses these substances to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.

    Certain cytokines also help you to sleep, giving your immune system more efficiency to defend your body against illness.

    Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to fend off invaders, and it may also take you longer to recover from illness.

    Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for chronic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and heart disease.powered by Rubicon Project

    Respiratory system

    The relationship between sleep and the respiratory system goes both ways. A nighttime breathing disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can interrupt your sleep and lower sleep quality.

    As you wake up throughout the night, this can cause sleep deprivation, which leaves you more vulnerable to respiratory infections like the common cold and flu. Sleep deprivation can also make existing respiratory diseases worse, such as chronic lung illness.

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    Digestive system

    Along with eating too much and not exercising, sleep deprivation is another risk factor for becoming overweight and obese. Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness.

    Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night.

    A lack of sleep can also make you feel too tired to exercise. Over time, reduced physical activity can make you gain weight because you’re not burning enough calories and not building muscle mass.

    Sleep deprivation also causes your body to release less insulin after you eat. Insulin helps to reduce your blood sugar (glucose) level.

    Sleep deprivation also lowers the body’s tolerance for glucose and is associated with insulin resistance. These disruptions can lead to diabetes mellitus and obesity.

    Cardiovascular system

    Sleep affects processes that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, including those that affect your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. It also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair the blood vessels and heart.

    People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to get cardiovascular disease. One analysis linked insomnia to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

    Endocrine system

    Hormone production is dependent on your sleep. For testosterone production, you need at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is about the time of your first R.E.M. episode. Waking up throughout the night could affect hormone production.

    This interruption can also affect growth hormone production, especially in children and adolescents. These hormones help the body build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues, in addition to other growth functions.

    The pituitary gland releases growth hormone throughout each day, but adequate sleep and exercise also help the release of this hormone.

    Treatment for sleep deprivation

    The most basic form of sleep deprivation treatment is getting an adequate amount of sleep, typically 7 to 9 hours each night.

    This is often easier said than done, especially if you’ve been deprived of precious shut-eye for several weeks or longer. After this point, you may need help from your doctor or a sleep specialist who, if needed, can diagnose and treat a possible sleep disorder.

    Sleep disorders may make it difficult to get quality sleep at night. They may also increase your risk for the above effects of sleep deprivation on the body.

    The following are some of the most common types of sleep disorders:

    To diagnose these conditions, your doctor may order a sleep study. This is traditionally conducted at a formal sleep center, but now there are options to measure your sleep quality at home, too.

    If you’re diagnosed with a sleep disorder, you may be given medication or a device to keep your airway open at night (in the case of obstructive sleep apnea) to help combat the disorder so you can get a better night’s sleep on a regular basis.

    Prevention

    The best way to prevent sleep deprivation is to make sure you get adequate sleep. Follow the recommended guidelines for your age group, which is 7 to 9 hours for most adults ages 18 to 64.

    Other ways you can get back on track with a healthy sleep schedule include:

    • limiting daytime naps (or avoiding them altogether)
    • refraining from caffeine past noon or at least a few hours prior to bedtime
    • going to bed at the same time each night
    • waking up at the same time every morning
    • sticking to your bedtime schedule during weekends and holidays
    • spending an hour before bed doing relaxing activities, such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath
    • avoiding heavy meals within a few hours before bedtime
    • refraining from using electronic devices right before bed
    • exercising regularly, but not in the evening hours close to bedtime
    • reducing alcohol intake

    If you continue to have problems sleeping at night and are fighting daytime fatigue, talk to your doctor. They can test for underlying health conditions that might be getting in the way of your sleep schedule.

  • Addressing Sleep Could Help Women Avoid Weight Gain During Menopause

    Original Article | Posted by Sree Roy | Apr 1, 2021

    Addressing sleep symptoms during menopause may reduce susceptibility to weight gain, according to a small study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting.

    “Our findings suggest that not only estrogen withdrawal but also sleep disturbances during menopause may contribute to changes in a woman’s body that could predispose midlife women to weight gain,” says lead researcher Leilah Grant, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass, in a release. “Helping women sleep better during menopause may therefore reduce the chances a woman will gain weight, which in turn will lower her risk of diabetes and other related diseases.”

    Woman Battling Weight Issues from Lack Of Sleep

    Rates of obesity increase in women around the age of menopause. Menopause-related weight gain is often thought to be caused by the withdrawal of the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen is unlikely to be the only contributing factor, however, since all women stop producing estrogen in menopause while only about half of women gain weight, Grant says. Another common symptom, also affecting around half of women during menopause, is sleep disturbance, which has independently been linked to changes in metabolism that might increase the risk of weight gain.

    [RELATED: Insomnia Symptoms Worsen Throughout Menopause Transition]

    To better understand the role of sleep disturbances and hormonal changes in menopausal weight gain, the researchers studied 21 healthy premenopausal women.

    They used an experimental model simulating the sleep disturbance experienced in menopause to examine the effects of poor sleep on the body’s use of fat.

    Participants had two nights of uninterrupted sleep followed by three nights of interrupted sleep, where they were woken by an alarm every 15 minutes for 2 minutes each time. The researchers then restudied a subset of nine participants in the same sleep interruption protocol after they were given a drug called leuprolide, which temporarily suppressed estrogen to levels similar to menopause.

    Compared to a normal night of sleep, after three nights of disturbed sleep there was a significant reduction in the rate at which the women’s bodies used fat. A similar reduction in fat utilization was also seen when estrogen was suppressed, even during normal sleep. The combination of low estrogen and sleep disturbance also reduced fat utilization, but the effect was not larger than either exposure on their own.

    “In addition to estrogen withdrawal, sleep disturbances decrease fat utilization,” Grant says. “This may increase the likelihood of fat storage and subsequent weight gain during menopause.”

    If you are struggling with any sleep issues as a result of a diagnosis of sleep apnea, please contact us today for a consultation. We can help ensure better nights for better days!