Did you know that there are 42 million American adults who suffer from sleep disordered breathing or SDB? The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that reveals there are widespread undiagnosed cases of SDB among middle-aged men and women. Unfortunately, there seems to be little or no media attention being given to this health condition.
This is why the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) launched its annual Sleeptember campaign to create awareness and discussions about the dangers of untreated sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, and persuade more people to make healthy lifestyle changes. Also, this initiative aims to generate funding for sleep disorder research, education, and advocacy.
What is sleep apnea?
According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea is a “potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.” A person who snores loudly and still feels tired after a whole night’s slumber may have sleep apnea. I’m reminded of my late grandpa who used to be like this. He snored so loud that it used to keep me awake at night.
Here are several signs and symptoms of sleep apnea found in ResMed.com:
- Irregular breathing during sleep (e.g. snoring)
- Nighttime gasping, coughing or choking
- Lack of energy
- Morning headaches
- Frequent nocturnal urination
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Large neck size
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GE reflux)
The Mayo Clinic advises anyone who may be suffering from sleep apnea to consult with a physician. Seeking treatment can help alleviate these symptoms and may contribute to reducing the risk of heart problems and other conditions.
Less sleep leads to higher risks of getting sick
Meanwhile, another study published in the journal Sleep this September suggests that people who sleep six hours per night or less are four times more likely to get sick after exposure to the cold virus. In other words, the number of hours you sleep determines how vulnerable you are to catching a cold.
“We know that sleep plays an important role in regulating the immune system,” says Aric Prather, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and lead author of the study. Prather suggests that shortened sleep can change our body’s inflammatory response, which helps in fighting off and eliminating viruses inside our bodies when it’s working efficiently.
Prather stresses that people get easily sick if they don’t have adequate sleep. “This is really the first convincing evidence that objectively verified sleep is associated with susceptibility to the common cold, which is a huge deal for the sleep research community,” he adds. So if you sleep less than five hours each night, you’re four to five times at risk of becoming ill.
To conclude, the best way for you to avoid getting sick and catching a cold is to get enough sleep. So how many hours of sleep should you get? An average adult needs 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep every night, according to WebMD. If you are having trouble sleeping, here are 10 tips you can follow:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Reduce caffeine intake.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Take a warm bath.
- Establish a sleep ritual.
- Create a relaxing sleep environment.
- Follow a regular bedtime schedule.
- Make sure you have a comfortable bedding and mattress.
Have some great sleep tips? Share them by leaving a comment.
Thanks a lot for reading this article! I hope you liked it. There’s more on the way. If you want to continue reading, here are other articles you may find interesting:
- Why Not Getting Enough Sleep Is Bad And How To Solve That
- 9 Healthy Food Choices For A Successful Slumber
- How To Sleep Better Immediately In 6 Simple Ways
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