sleep loss leads to illness

Sleep Loss Leads to more Frequent Illnesses

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sleep loss leads to illnessErie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA

Do you seem to be getting sick all the time? Has feeling under the weather become your apparent normal state of being? Frequent illnesses actually can be related to a lack of quality sleep. Let’s learn more about this link, and how a sleep apnea dentist like Dr. Albert Starr at Laser Dentistry of Erie, LLC, may be able to help.

Sleep loss does damage to your immune system

If you are always feeling tired, you may attribute that to your busy schedule or a varying bedtime. However, erratic sleep actually can be the culprit behind constantly feeling fatigued, while also hindering your immune system. During the deepest stages of sleep, your body produces proteins that are crucial to keeping your immune system functioning at high levels.

When these proteins are being produced in adequate supply, your immune system is better able to fight off the effects of inflammation and stress. You also are less susceptible to getting sick when exposed to viruses, bacteria, and infections. Medical research continues to establish a link between sleep loss and greater frequency of illnesses. For example, a 2017 study that was published by scientists at the Medicine Sleep Center at the University of Washington studied 11 pairs of identical twins, whose only significant difference was their sleep patterns. In each case, the twin that had some sort of sleep disorder or did not get the proper amount of rest got sick more often, demonstrating a diminished immune system and a greater sensitivity to inflammation.

Take control of your environment to improve your sleep

Do you wake up during the night? Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? If so, you might be able to make changes to your sleeping quarters or bedtime routine.

Consider the following strategies:

  • Keep it cozy and dark – Try to keep the room as dark as it can be, and that your mattress and bedding feel comfortable.
  • Keep it cool – Set the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. Your body has a natural tendency to cool down while you are asleep.
  • Keep it device-free – Limit screen time in the moments before bed, as the bright light emitted from phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions may trick your internal clock into thinking it is still daytime. This will inhibit the natural processes that prepare your body and mind for sleep.
  • Keep it consistent – Try to maintain the same bedtime and wake time every day of the week, so that your rest is more consistent.

Sleep apnea disrupts rest for millions of Americans

According to statistics released by the American Sleep Association, there are as many as 20 million adults in the United States suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a serious sleep breathing disorder that occurs when there is a blockage in the airway during sleep. These blockages can be partial or complete, but each time an attack of sleep apnea takes place, the sleep cycle is disrupted. This also halts the production of the proteins that are so important to the immune system and deprives you of the restoration to mind and body that occur during the deepest stage of sleep. A patient with sleep apnea also is at a much higher risk of chronic ailments such as heart attack, stroke, depression, and diabetes.

Treating sleep apnea in Erie

Dr. Albert Starr is a practitioner of sleep apnea dentistry, a specialization of dental science that treats cases of sleep apnea by addressing the root of the problem—the airway blockage. At Laser Dentistry of Erie, LLC, we prefer to treat sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy. This consists of a customized mandibular advancement device or an oral appliance that can be custom designed to fit the mouth of each patient. To learn more about how Dr. Starr can treat sleep apnea, please call our office at (814) 825-2615 to schedule a consultation. You have lived without restful sleep long enough!

Laser Dentistry of Erie, LLC, is here to serve the oral health needs of patients in Erie, Harborcreek, and Millcreek in Pennsylvania.

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