How Sleep Affects Our Health and Well-Being
Sleep is vital for our health and well-being, and an estimated 40% of the population experiences sleep disorders. Sleep disorders can interfere with our ability to work, drive, or engage in social activities. They also cost the United States an estimated $16 billion per year in medical costs. While there are more than 70 different types of sleep disorders, most are treatable when properly diagnosed. Some of the most common are insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.
In the past, scientists thought that sleep was a passive activity, but new research indicates that the brain is actively engaged during sleep. During this time, life-sustaining processes like brain repair and memory formation are occurring. The brain also carries out several important functions while sleeping, including maintaining the body’s metabolism and regulating the immune system. Researchers are now spending many of their waking hours studying the physiological and mental functions of sleep.
Sleep is necessary for physical and mental health. It restores energy and helps us cope with stress and problems. Getting a good night’s sleep helps us cope with daily pressures, solve problems, and recover from illness. Sleep deprivation is a major health concern, but a good night’s sleep can help you sleep better, feel better, and stay healthy. Sleep cycles occur in two stages – non-REM sleep and rapid eye movement (REM). Different sleep phases have specific benefits and effects.
During sleep, the brain processes sensory information and relays it to the cerebral cortex. The cortex then interprets this information from short-term to long-term memory. Most stages of sleep are quiet and the thalamus is inactive, so it’s easier for us to tune out the outside world. However, during REM sleep, the thalamus becomes active.
Regardless of the cause of sleep problems, the good news is that many sleep disorders are treatable. The key to overcoming sleep deprivation is to improve your overall lifestyle. If you have a hard time getting enough rest, consider reducing your caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and screen time. In addition, a consistent bedtime routine and a relaxing environment can help you get a good night’s sleep.
A study by Dr. Timothy Roehrs, director of research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, revealed that sleepiness can influence decision making. The study involved paying subjects who were sleepy with computer tasks to do the same tasks as those who were fully alert. The subjects were able to earn more money by working while sleepy or losing all their money if they were not able to complete the task.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that disrupts the normal breathing cycle during sleep. It can cause a range of serious health problems, including daytime sleepiness. Unlike the disease affecting the central nervous system, obstructive sleep apnea causes frequent pauses in breathing during sleep, causing the patient to wake up during the night.