5 Ways Insomnia Can Negatively Impact Your Health

5 Ways Insomnia Can Negatively Impact Your Health

Sleeping isn’t just something you do when you get tired at some point in the evening, it’s an essential function of the body for your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, millions of people struggle with sleeping problems and the resulting effects. Even mild issues can affect your productivity and stress levels. 

One of the most common forms of sleep disorder is insomnia, a problem that ranges from an occasional nuisance to a chronic condition that increases the risks of even worse conditions. 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates that up to 35% of people deal with brief insomnia, up to 20% deal with insomnia for less than three months, and 10% deal with chronic insomnia, which can happen three times a week for at least three months. Chronic insomnia can seriously affect your body mentally and physically. 

To better understand the damage insomnia can do, let's look at what causes this condition, the different types you can find yourself dealing with, and the dangers it poses to your health.

Residents of the Glendale, Arizona area who are looking for relief from sleep disorders can find help with Drs. Sarah Patel and Vinod Patel and the experienced team at Sonoran Sleep Center. Our physician-owned practice is dedicated to your overall health through custom treatment plans and lifestyle changes to help you sleep better.

Causes of insomnia

The lack of sleep associated with insomnia can happen for a number of reasons, including stress, work schedule, poor sleeping habits, late-night eating, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Any of these things can shift your body’s normal sleeping rhythm and metabolism, leading to problems getting proper rest.

Certain conditions and medications can also contribute to insomnia, such as anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, antidepressants, asthma or blood pressure medications, chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes, and overactive thyroid. 

Age also directly affects your sleeping habits, with children and teens commonly having problems getting into a sleeping rhythm and older people dealing with problems due to menopause, stress, or various health conditions.

Types of insomnia

When we discuss this condition, we differentiate between primary (idiopathic) and secondary (comorbid) insomnia. These terms indicate whether the sleeping problem is the primary issue or the result of another condition. Insomnia can also present in different ways, including:

Dangers to your health

Dealing with insomnia on a regular basis poses several risks to your health:

1. Physical and mental exhaustion

Your body needs a consistent number of hours of sleep in order for you to be ready for each day. Sleeping problems can keep you feeling drained, affect your mood, and even cause headaches.

2. Slower reaction time

The physical exhaustion you feel can reduce your ability to react properly when driving or operating equipment, making it dangerous for you and the people around you.

3. Mental health problems

Lack of proper sleep puts you at a higher risk for depression (which is actually a common cause of insomnia), anxiety, or even thoughts of suicide. It can also affect your memory and focus.

4. Physical health problems

Routine lack of sleep can increase the chances of many physical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, lowered immunity, weight gain, hypertension, and heart disease. It can also cause problems with sex, such as erectile dysfuction and lack of sex drive.

5. Substance abuse 

Having sleeping problems can lead you to use medications to help you sleep that are habit forming, and the combination can make treatment more difficult. When you’re lacking sleep, it’s harder to stick to a treatment plan to kick the medication that you’re addicted to.

Whatever the reason you’re dealing with insomnia or another sleeping disorder, we’re here to help. There are many treatment options available, so if you’re ready to get better sleep, contact Drs. Sarah and Vinod Patel at Sonoran Sleep Center today.

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