Side effects of sleep deprivation

One of the most prevalent, yet frequently disregarded, and easily treatable health issues is sleep loss and sleep disorders. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans struggle with a chronic sleep or wakefulness disorder, which makes it difficult for them to function normally and has a negative impact on their health and longevity. Physicians rarely inquire about patients’ sleep habits. For instance, 80–90% of adults with clinically significant sleep disordered breathing go undiagnosed. Failure to identify sleep issues prevents not only diagnosis and treatment but also the possibility of averting their serious public health repercussions. Sleep disorders and sleep loss have negative effects on the public’s health. The most obvious effects are poor decisions leading to tragic occurrences like the Challenger space shuttle. More often than not, the less obvious effects of poor sleep have a negative impact on almost all important public health measures, including mortality, morbidity, performance, accidents and injuries, functioning and quality of life, family well-being, and use of medical services. Some of these effects, like car accidents, happen abruptly hours (or even minutes) after the sleep disorder, making it relatively simple to connect the two. Others—like obesity and hypertension—become more subtly apparent over months and years of persistent sleep issues. After decades of study, it is safe to assert that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders have significant, pervasive effects on human health. According to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, there are about 90 different types of sleep disorders, but the majority of them are characterized by one of the following symptoms: excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or unusual movements, behaviors, or sensations during sleep. Numerous negative health effects, such as an elevated risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke, have been linked to the cumulative effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders.

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