Sleep is intimately linked to how we think and behave, because it is during our sleeping hours that our brain consolidates our memory, rests, repairs and restores our cognitive capacity. During sleep, our emotional levers are re-set which allow us to think clearly and maintain strong emotional control when we are awake. When we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t think clearly or rationally, we have trouble concentrating and recalling information, and this applies to our relationships as well. When your brain does not properly reset emotional levers, you may over react to events, feel angry, grumpy, unhappy, unmotivated, impatient, bored and emotional, which can take a significant toll on your relationship. Additionally, interest in sex declines significantly and, in the case of sleep apnoea, many men may experience a level of impotency. Philips Sleep Expert, Dr Carmel Harrington shares the signs that may show if you’re suffering from a sleep disorder.
image via pinterest
What are the signs that you are suffering from a serious sleep disorder?
Someone suffering with a sleep disorder may still be getting 8 or 9 hours sleep but still wake up feeling like they haven’t had any sleep at all. Sufferers of sleep disorders can exhibit signs of chronic sleep deprivation which in the short term can make them more susceptible to cold or flu infections. Lack of sleep also impacts our productivity and ability to perform as it impairs our capacity to think and learn. Additionally, numerous mental health issues have been associated with sleep deprivation, including a fivefold increased risk of depression.
What are the long-term impacts of sleep apnoea if it is untreated?
Sleep apnoea occurs when the upper airway transiently closes over during sleep which prevents air from reaching the lungs. For the airway to re-open, the person needs to wake up even though they will not remember this the following morning (usually it is only for a brief second or two). Because this can happen hundreds of times every night, it causes significant sleep disruption and therefore causes the same health issues that lack of sleep causes (as already detailed above). In the long term, this can increase their chances of developing cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction (like type 2 diabetes), dementia and certain hormonal cancers. New Philips research shows that over one third (33%) of respondents admit to having a partner that demonstrates or has demonstrated symptoms of sleep apnoea, yet almost half (49%) did not recommend they get tested for the condition.*
What are the first steps you can take if you are worried that yourself or your partner are suffering from sleep apnoea?
If you are worried as to whether you or your partner may have sleep apnoea is to find out if you are at high risk and need to seek professional help. It is also a good idea to record your sleep and how you feel when waking up in the morning. This often reveals snoring and interruptions in breathing, which you should speak to your doctor about, and if they agree can organise an overnight sleep study for you. This will confirm whether you do have sleep apnoea and an effective treatment will be initiated. If you have other symptoms of sleep apnoea it is always worth speaking with your doctor to rule out any other sleep disorder.
Catch our daily and monthly horoscopes here.