When you go to the dentist, you’re focused on oral health: healthy teeth, healthy gums, and a gorgeous smile. But at City Smiles, we’re concerned about your overall well-being too. In recent years, the role of sound sleep on health has received more attention…and rightfully so. Rest provides a sophisticated blend of restorative functions to every system in the body. Your emotional and physical wellness are dramatically affected by the quantity and quality of your sleep. Millions of Americans suffer from dangerous sleep disorders, carving years off their lives. In fact, studies show that lifespans can be shortened by 12-15 years when sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are untreated.
Repair, Restore, Recover
A good night’s sleep allows healing to take place throughout the body. Heart tissue and blood vessel lining undergo restorative processes during sleep. Your immune system regenerates while you’re resting as well, which is why people often get sick when they’re tired and sleep-deprived. Sleep also helps regulate hormone levels, even affecting hunger cycles at the hormonal level. One study showed that in teens, the risk of obesity increased for every lost hour of sleep. Moreover, growth hormone releases during deep sleep. This compound is vital for growing kids, but it also plays a significant role in adult health. If you have diabetes, poor sleep affects how your body reacts to insulin and leads to higher blood sugar levels. The physical effects of sleep deprivation never end.
Research confirms that learning and memory functions clearly benefit from sound sleep. You’ve probably noticed how “foggy” you feel after a poor night’s sleep. Brain electrical activity falters when sleep eludes you, and a host of mental functions decrease. Creativity, decision-making, and control of your emotions are just a handful of the functions that take a hit. More tragically, poor sleep can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide.
A Social Danger
A lack of sleep also reverberates to those around us. Losing 1-2 hours of sleep per night can quickly equate to losing an entire night of sleep. In fact, studies show that sleep deficiency can impair driving ability as much as alcohol. Estimates suggest that up to 100,000 car accidents each year results from drowsy drivers. You may remember a high-profile 2013 train derailment in the Bronx that killed 4 and injured 61. The engineer fell asleep, and the investigation revealed he suffered from severe obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, this scenario plays out in many ways far more than it should.
Don’t Wait To Feel Better
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine publishes guidelines for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of sleep-related disorders. Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic sleep problems, including obstructive sleep apnea. Over the past ten years, the volume of research on this public health issue has exploded. As a result, the AASM recently published guidelines that dramatically increase the role of dentists in the treatment of apnea.