If you aren’t getting enough sleep in Portland, you are putting your physical and mental health at risk.
Experts have long recommended a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night (eight is ideal). Yet many Americans don’t put in the effort to ensure they reach this goal. Blame it on technology, or Netflix, or simply an attitude that sleep isn’t important. Evidence shows that it is.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Oregon residents who don’t catch enough zzz’s suffer a host of consequences, starting with daytime fatigue and including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, stroke and depression. Other factors that are more likely as a result of too little sleep include:
- Accidents and injuries. Sleep deprivation slows down your reaction time, increasing your risk of suffering an accident-related injury. Chances are, you’ve heard of Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez and Chernobyl. What do these global disasters have in common? All were linked, at least in part, to a lack of sleep.
- Reduced mental alertness. Those slower reaction times are associated with a reduction in mental alertness. Not getting enough sleep leads to poor attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem-solving skills and memory impairment. It can affect academic and job performance.
- Low sex drive. Relationships may also suffer from too little sleep. Reduced energy levels cause anxiety and stress, factors that interfere with your sex drive. For men with sleep apnea, the problem is compounded; this sleep disorder causes breathing disruptions and reduced oxygen levels, leading to less testosterone production.
- Skin issues. Chronic sleep deprivation signals the body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that damages collagen in the skin. This leads to an unhealthy complexion, age lines, puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.
- Weight gain. When you get a good night’s sleep, your body releases a natural appetite suppressant. On the other hand, poor sleep triggers the release of a compound that acts as a hunger stimulant. Studies indicate that people who consistently sleep poorly have a 30 percent higher risk of obesity. And the lack of energy mentioned above makes exercising more difficult.
Unfortunately, many people in Portland experiencing symptoms such as these downplay their significance or write them off as inevitable side effects of aging, never making the association between their health and sleeping habits. They would be wise to listen to the experts, however; one research study out of Britain found that individuals who reduced the amount of sleep they received every night from seven hours to five nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. Heart disease proved especially problematic.
Sleep disorders aren’t always obvious. Your Portland ear, nose and throat specialist recommends undergoing a sleep test if you are experiencing any of the symptoms we mentioned – especially if you feel tired or groggy during the day. Doing so is in your own best interest.