Sleep Health

  • CPAP Crisis Creates Chaos for Apnea Victims and Snorers!

    Original Article | The People’s Pharmacy

    Do you know someone who snores and/or stops breathing temporarily? They could have sleep apnea. Why is there a CPAP crisis? Who is at fault?

    According to the AMA“About 30 million people in the United States have sleep apnea, but only 6 million are diagnosed with the condition.” People with sleep apnea may stop breathing many times during the night. These episodes can last a few seconds or as long as a minute or two. They can occur dozens of times an hour. There is a CPAP crisis going on because many patients are having a hard time getting safe CPAP devices. Disclaimer: we do not know who made the CPAP device in the photo. The illustration is not intended as criticism.

    What’s It Like To Suffer Sleep Apnea?

    I have tried holding my breath while timing it with my smart phone stopwatch. It starts to get uncomfortable around 25 seconds and I have to take a breath around 30 seconds. I have a hard time imagining what it would be like to go longer than that.

    Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by the collapse of muscles in the throat. This can block the airway. The result is reduced oxygenation of the circulating blood.

    Patients with OSA often suffer from daytime sleepiness and brain fog. That makes them more prone to accidents. They are also more likely to develop hypertension, strokes, irregular heart rhythms or heart attacks.

    Symptoms can include noisy snoring interrupted by gasping or gagging sounds. For a bed partner, this can be scary and/or annoying. It’s hard to sleep when the person nearby is “sawing wood” and intermittently gasping for air. People with OSA may also complain about frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom to pee, morning headaches, daytime irritability and “cotton mouth” upon awakening.

    Treating OSA and the CPAP Crisis:

    To treat sleep apnea, doctors prescribe machines that pump air in a continuous stream that can help keep the airways open. They are called CPAP devices, for continuous positive airway pressure. Some people find the devices noisy and uncomfortable. You have to wear a kind of face mask that pushes air into the throat and lungs.

    Others find the devices improve the quality of their lives. Here is just one of the hundreds of messages we have received on our website:

    Jerry reports that CPAP made a difference:

    “Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can cause frequent nighttime urination. After being diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, I was treated using CPAP therapy.

    “The very first night after getting my CPAP machine I slept for a full 7 hours. Before treatment, I was waking and passing large amounts of urine every 1-2 hours. My blood pressure went from high to normal, and my heart rate during exercise dropped by 20 heartbeats.”

    The CPAP Crisis Is Creating Chaos:

    Needless to say, people with serious sleep apnea rely on these machines and are well aware that their lives depend on them. Just imagine the panic they might feel if their machines were no longer available.

    That has happened to far too many patients over the last year, as the company that dominates the industry, Philips Respironics, fumbled a recall of faulty CPAP devices.

    Here is what one reader wrote us about the CPAP crisis:

    “My husband has sleep apnea, so he has used a CPAP for over 12 years. Recently his machine stopped working. When he contacted his supplier, he was told his machine had been recalled and he would have to wait for a replacement. They advised him to contact the manufacturer, Philips.

    “He called Philips, and after following the instructions to restart the machine, was told it was not working. That was July 11. We had just gotten home from the ER where we both tested positive for COVID and received infusions. So he has been without his CPAP since then.

    Anxiety interferes with sleep:

    “He is very aware of the dangers of not using the CPAP machine and has been sleeping very uncomfortably since then. I have been anxious as well, just listening to his snoring. Here’s hoping he does not stop breathing, as he used to do before getting the CPAP.

    “I have heard that it can take up to a year to get a replacement. Surely, he is not alone in this situation. What is a person with sleep apnea supposed to do? A person at his pulmonologist’s office said they are currently diagnosing new patients with severe sleep apnea. These patients are being placed on waiting lists.

    “To my mind, this situation is similar to not having baby formula available. Apparently, there are currently just two companies in the USA who manufacture CPAP devices. What can patients do without this important appliance? Doctors warn that using the machine every night is of critical importance. What can be done to help so many people in need?

    “I am hoping that sleep apnea patients can soon get the machines they desperately need for a good safe night’s sleep.”

    How Has the FDA Fumbled the CPAP Crisis?

    Our reader is right to compare the situation with CPAP machines to the baby formula shortage. Both result from the FDA’s inadequate oversight. In our opinion, the FDA has fumbled a few too many oversight responsibilities.

    That’s not just our opinion. An article in JAMA Internal Medicine, July 26, 2021 reviewed the FDA’s oversight of MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience). The agency relies on device manufacturers, distributors, physicians, patients, hospitals and other health care facilities to submit reports of problems. Unfortunately, the FDA only pays attention to deaths, rather than all serious complaints.

    The analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine points out that:

    “For the overall sample, the percentage of reports with deaths that were not classified as deaths was 23%, suggesting that approximately 31,552 reports in our sample had deaths that were classified in other categories.”

    If the FDA ignores serious complaints and overlooks deaths with misleading codes, it risks leaving flawed medical devices on the market long past their “use by” date. You can read more about the agency’s fumbling and bumbling at this link.

    What Went Wrong With CPAP Machines”

    On July 29, 2021, the FDA issued an announcement about problems with Philips Respironics BiPap and CPAP machines.

    On May 19, 2022 the agency updated its warning:

    “Philips Respironics (Philips) voluntarily recalled certain ventilators, bi-level positive airway pressure (also known as Bilevel PAP, BiPAP, or BPAP) machines, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines in June 2021 due to potential health risks. The polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam used in these medical devices to lessen sound and vibration can break down. If the foam breaks down, black pieces of foam, or certain chemicals that are not visible, could be breathed in or swallowed by the person using the device.”

    The Washington Post reported on July 29, 2022 that:

    “Today, those machines are at the heart of one of the biggest medical device debacles in decades.”

    “If inhaled or swallowed, the emissions could cause headaches, asthma, lung problems and even cancer, the company warned in launching a massive recall. The Food and Drug Administration classified the recall as the most serious type, saying “use of these devices may cause serious injuries or deaths.”

    According to the Washington Post, millions of patients have been left in limbo while they wait for their devices to be repaired or replaced.

    “In May, the FDA announced it had received 21,000 reports, including 124 deaths, concerning the breakdown of the polyester-based polyurethane foam in sleep apnea machines and ventilators during the past year — a sharp increase from 30 the previous decade.”

    How long has the maker of CPAP machines known there was a problem? Why didn’t the FDA discover this problem on its own? What should it do about the CPAP crisis?

    Some Recommendations from The People’s Pharmacy:

    Here are some of our suggestions:

    • 1) The president should invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the manufacture of chips specifically for these medical devices.
    • 2) Philips Respironics should prioritize delivering CPAP machines to people who are most vulnerable. The company should also communicate directly to every patient.
    • 3) The FDA should be more proactive regarding critical medical devices so that a life-threatening shortage of this sort never happens again.

    What Do You Think?

    We would love to read your thoughts about the CPAP crisis in the comment section below. Do you know someone who snores and has obstructive sleep apnea? Have they ever used a CPAP machine? Has their device been recalled? What are they doing now?

    If you think this article has merit, please send it to friends and family. We suspect that someone you know snores, has a sleep apnea and/or has a CPAP-type machine. They (and their health care providers) may not know about the problems with these devices. It’s super easy to share. Just scroll to the top of the page and click on the icons for email, Twitter and Facebook.

    While you are at it, please encourage your contacts to sign up for our free online newsletter. You may have noticed that Google accepts a lot of drug and device ads. Is it any wonder that articles like this disappear almost without a trace? The only way your acquaintances can read our independent voice is to subscribe to our newsletter at this link. Thank you for supporting our work!

    Contact us TODAY! Our oral devices can help.







  • Sleep and Time with Pets Help People Living with Bipolar Disorder

    by University of Western Sydney | Original Article Feb 2018

    Bipolar disorder is characterized by transitions between depression and mania. Credit: Wikipedia

    New research from Western Sydney University has revealed that simple self-care strategies, such as spending time with animals and getting enough sleep, are helpful for people managing bipolar disorder symptoms.

    The research, published in Clinical Psychologist this week, involved 80 participants with bipolar disorder reviewing the frequency and perceived helpfulness of 69 self-care strategies. These strategies were diverse, and included things such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol, practising yoga and finding things that make you laugh.

    The study found that an increased engagement in self-care strategies was associated with improved quality of life, reduced the impact of the illness, and reduced depression, anxiety and stress. Getting enough sleep was the most commonly rated strategy as “very helpful,” with “spending time with pets,” also rating highly.

    Lead researcher, honours student Edward Wynter from Western Sydney University’s School of Social Sciences and Psychology, says the study provides encouraging findings about the relationship between self-care and important functional and symptomatic outcomes, i.e. the ability of these strategies to alleviate the impact of the disorder.

    “The benefits of self-care have been reported in other chronic illnesses, but bipolar disorder research has focused primarily on medication management,” Mr Wynter says.

    “This research reveals support for strategies already well known to professionals and people living with bipolar disorder, including those relating to quality and quantity of sleep, and drug and alcohol abstinence; but this study also highlights the effectiveness of several strategies yet to be explored such as spending time with pets and engaging in creative pursuits.”

    Mr Wynter says he hopes this research leads to further exploration of self-care strategies used by people living with bipolar disorder, and their relationship with long-term quality of life.

    “I hope that knowledge of effective strategies can inspire proactive therapeutic engagement and empower people living with bipolar disorder to improve their health and wellbeing,” he says.

  • Link Between Sleep Apnea and Depression

    New research has explored the link between sleep apnea and depression and suggests that the former may be one reason that depression treatments fail.

    Around 20–30%Trusted Source of people with depression and other mood disorders do not get the help they need from existing therapies.

    Depression is the “leading cause of disabilityTrusted Source worldwide.”

    For this reason, coming up with effective therapies is paramount.

    New research points to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a potential culprit for treatment resistant depression and suggests that screening for and treating the sleep condition may alleviate symptoms of depression.

    Dr. William V. McCall — chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University — is the first and corresponding author of the study.

    He says, “No one is talking about evaluating for [OSA] as a potential cause of treatment resistant depression, which occurs in about 50% of [people] with major depressive disorder.”

    He hopes that the team’s new paper — appearing in The Journal of Psychiatric Research — will remedy this.

    14% of those with depression had OSA

    Dr. McCall and team examined the rate of undiagnosed OSA in a randomized clinical trial of people with major depressive disorder and suicidal tendencies.

    They recruited 125 people with depression, originally for the purpose of determining if treating their insomnia would improve their depression symptoms.

    The original trial excluded people at risk of OSA, such as those taking sleeping pills, or people with obesity or restless legs syndrome.

    The scientists tested the participants with a sleep study and found that 17 out of the 125 (nearly 14%) had OSA.

    Dr. McCall and colleagues note that people who had OSA did not present with the usual indicators of OSA severity, such as daytime sleepiness. Also, 6 of the 17 people were non-obese women.

    This is contrast with the demographic group usually at risk of OSA: overweight men.

    “We were completely caught by surprise,” says Dr. McCall, “that people did not fit the picture of what [OSA] is supposed to look like.”

    Also, 52 of the 125 participants had treatment resistant depression; 8 of those with treatment resistant depression also had OSA.

    Future treatment options

    The researchers point out that underlying conditions — such as hypothyroidismcancer, and carotid artery disease — may often be the cause of treatment resistant depression.

    Therefore, many people with depression undergo a series of invasive and costly tests in an attempt to figure out the cause of depression treatment failure.

    Such tests may include an MRI scan or even a spinal tap — but Dr. McCall and team urge for sleep tests first. “I am thinking before we do a spinal tap for treatment resistant depression, we might need to do a sleep test first,” he says.

    “We know that [people] with sleep apnea talk about depression symptoms,” he goes on. “We know that if you have [OSA], you are not going to respond well to an antidepressant.”

    “We know that if you have sleep apnea and get [a CPAP machine], it gets better and now we know that there are hidden cases of sleep apnea in people who are depressed and [have] suicidal [tendencies].”

    Dr. William V. McCall

    However, the study authors also acknowledge that other factors — such as the side effects of other medications, including beta-blockers and corticosteroids — may cause treatment resistant depression.

    They also point out that suicidal tendencies are also a key factor, and the researchers suggest that a further area of investigation should be the question of whether or not treating sleep apnea will also reduce suicide ideation.

    In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of deathTrusted Source among people of all ages.

  • Sleep-disordered breathing tied to greater preeclampsia risk

    Women with high-risk pregnancies who experience sleep-disordered breathing have an increased risk for preeclampsia, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

    The prospective observational cohort study involved women with high-risk singleton pregnancies, author Stella S. Daskalopoulou, MD, MSc, PhD, of the department of medicine’s division of internal medicine at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and colleagues reported in the study.

    Women with mid-gestation sleep disordered breathing have a 3.4 odds ratio for preeclampsia, and women with late-gestation sleep-disordered breathing have an 8.2 odds ratio for preeclampsia.
    Phan K, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. | Original Post

    High-risk factors included age of at least 35 years, BMI of at least 25 kg/m2chronic hypertension, pre-existing diabetes or renal disease, conception via in vitro fertilization and personal or first-degree relative family history of preeclampsia.

    Of the 235 women recruited between 10 and 13 weeks of gestation at two tertiary obstetric clinics in Montreal, 181 women completed questionnaires about their sleep based on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and restless legs syndrome during each trimester.

    Women identified with sleep disordered breathing (SDB), defined as three or more incidences of loud snoring or witnessed apneas each week, in the first or second trimester were diagnosed with mid-gestation SDB. Women identified with SDB in the third trimester were diagnosed with late-gestation SDB.

    The researchers also conducted arterial stiffness, wave reflection and hemodynamic assessments between 10 and 13 weeks and again six more times at approximately 4-week intervals through the rest of the pregnancy.

    Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), which is considered the gold standard for predicting arterial stiffness and is predictive of preeclampsia, and carotid-radial PWV were calculated to determine aortic and peripheral arterial stiffness, respectively.

    According to the study, the 41 women (23%) who had SDB also had increased cfPWV across gestation independent of blood pressure and BMI (P = .042). Also, only women with SDB saw an association between excessive daytime sleepiness and increased cfPWV.

    After 20 weeks’ gestation, women who had BP of at least 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg were diagnosed with preeclampsia.

    Women with mid-gestation SDB had an OR of 3.4 (95% CI, 0.9-12.9; P = .063) for preeclampsia, which increased to an OR of 5.7 (95% CI, 1.1-26; P = .028) for women who also experienced hypersomnolence. Women with late-gestation SDB had an OR of 8.2 (95% CI, 1.5-39.5; P = .009) for preeclampsia.

    Additionally, the researchers reported a positive association between excessive daytime sleepiness and central arterial stiffness in women with SDB but not in women who did not have SDB. Women who reported SDB and excessive daytime sleepiness appeared to have a greater risk for preeclampsia than women with SDB alone as well.

    However, women who had positive restless legs syndrome scores did not see increased odds for developing preeclampsia either in mid-gestation (OR = 1.23; 95% CI, 0.25-4.68) or late gestation (OR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.21-3.75). The same held true for women who had positive Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores in mid-gestation (OR = 2.11; 95% CI, 0.58-8.66) or late gestation (OR = 2.83; 95% CI, 0.65-19.81).

    Overall, the researchers said, there was an association between SDB in the first or second trimester and greater central arterial stiffness starting at 10 to 13 weeks’ gestation for women with high-risk pregnancies.

    Further, the researchers said, their results provide supporting evidence for arterial stiffness as an important mediator and promising surrogate endpoint for vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia, as well as for the need to screen for SDB throughout pregnancy.

  • Menopause and insomnia: What is the link?

    Original Post | Medical News Today

    After menopause, a person’s ovaries produce much lower amounts of certain hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. For some, this transition comes with sleep disturbances.

    Insomnia refers to the difficulty falling or staying asleep. It is a commonTrusted Source experience in menopause and may occur as a result of hormonal changes.

    It may also be a secondary result of the other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.

    Read on for more information on menopause and insomnia, including why it happens, how long it may last, and what medical treatments and complementary therapies are available.

    Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

    Can menopause cause insomnia?

    The exterior of a large apartment building at night. Bright light illuminates one of the windows.
    Colin Anderson/Stocksy

    Yes – insomnia is a frequent occurrence during perimenopause and menopause. Some people only experience mild or occasional sleep disturbances, but for others, the insomnia can be severe.

    According to a 2018 article, 26%Trusted Source of people going through perimenopause and menopause experience insomnia that affects their daily activities.

    In females, the rate of insomnia increases with age. According to the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN)Trusted Source, the prevalence of sleep disorders is as follows:

    • 16–42% in premenopause
    • 39–47% in perimenopause
    • 35–60% in postmenopause

    Why does menopause cause insomnia?

    Research on the exact cause of insomnia during menopause does not point to one clear cause. Several things may contribute to it, including:

    Hormonal changes

    Some evidence suggests that low hormone levels can increase the likelihood of insomnia during menopause.

    According to the SWANTrusted Source, previous longitudinal studies have found a correlation between lower levels of estradiol and poorer sleep. This is especially true if the decline in hormones happens quickly, as it does after a person undergoes surgery to remove the ovaries.

    Hot flashes

    Sometimes, insomnia happens during menopause because of hot flashes or night sweats. These symptoms can disrupt sleep, causing frequent waking.

    Hot flashes, which are one of the so-called vasomotor symptoms, are common in menopause, affecting 75–85%Trusted Source of people going through menopause.

    Hot flashes cause a sudden sense of heat around the face and neck and often occur with sweating and a fast heartbeat.

    Reduction in melatonin

    Melatonin is a hormone that plays a key role in the sleep-wake cycle, helping keep people asleep. It is especially important at the start of sleep.

    However, melatonin levels appear to decrease with age, which may cause sleep disturbances.

    It is not clear whether there is a link between menopause and a decline in melatonin. Some evidenceTrusted Source suggests that there is and that individuals during postmenopause have less melatonin than those during premenopause.

    Mental health

    For many people, menopause signals a major change. It is also a sign that a person is getting older. This, along with the symptoms of menopause, can have an impact on an individual’s mental health.

    Many mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, affect sleep. However, insomnia can also make depression more likelyTrusted Source. The relationship between sleep and mood is bidirectional, and changing hormone levels can also play a role.https://a76fa006e565d376844b91a5d5a8864a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

    How long will insomnia last?

    How long insomnia lasts during and after menopause depends on many factors. Every person who goes through menopause has a different experience. Some will find that the symptoms last longer than they do for others.

    A person’s hormone levels can start to change 7–10 yearsTrusted Source before a person’s last period. After this point, people can continue to have symptoms such as hot flashes for several years.

    Estradiol levels continue to decline for the first 1–6 years in early postmenopause, which may result in continued symptoms.

    It is of note, however, that there are treatments and therapies available that can reduce sleep difficulties. It is also important to address any other factors that may be contributing to poor sleep quality.powered by Rubicon Project

    Medical treatments for insomnia during menopause

    The main treatment for menopause-related insomnia is hormone therapy. This works by replacing the lost hormones, which can improve many menopause symptoms. People may find that they sleep better and experience fewer hot flashes while using this treatment.

    Hormone therapy is available in topical gels, creams, and patches. People can also take it internally via tablets or an implant.

    Another potential treatment is a low-dose selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

    Doctors typically prescribe SSRIs for mental health conditions, but these medications can also reduce the frequency of hot flashes, which may help with sleep. However, it is of note that insomnia can also occur as a side effect of SSRIs.

    For those who are experiencing mood changes, anxiety, or depression, talk therapy may help them understand and cope with these feelings. Lessening the impact of mental health conditions may also benefit sleep.

    Doctors rarely prescribe sleeping pills to treat insomnia, as these can have serious side effects. Many are also addictive and are not suitable for managing a long-term sleep problem.

    Natural and complementary therapies

    According to a 2019 review, no study has found that herbal or dietary supplements consistently help with menopause symptoms. However, there are many other ways people can try to make sleep easier during menopause.

    Below are some evidence-based approaches:

    Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol

    Smoking, consuming caffeine, and drinking alcohol can all make it more difficult to sleep. While it may seem that alcohol makes people drowsy, even a small amount reduces overall sleep quality.

    A person can try to reduce or avoid any of these, especially in the afternoon and evening.

    Aromatherapy

    Aromatherapy may be helpful in inducing relaxation and reducing hot flashes.

    In a clinical trial involving 100 women, researchers found that after 12 weeks of lavender essential oil inhalation, the participants had 50% fewer hot flashes.

    Other studies have also found that aromatherapy together with massage was more effective than massage or aromatherapy by themselves.

    Hypnosis

    A 2019 review notes that there is evidence that hypnosis may reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes by up to 50%.

    Moreover, for people whose insomnia results from hot flashes, hypnosis may be a helpful complementary treatment.

    Yoga

    Some studies have found that yoga has a beneficial impact on the psychological symptoms of menopause. If a person is having difficulty sleeping due to stress or anxiety, yoga practice may help reduce these symptoms.

    However, the results of other studies on yoga have been mixed. This is partly because there are many styles of yoga and numerous ways of practicing, which may lead to inconsistent results.

  • 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.