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The Critical Importance of Sleep Quality

May 12, 2016

CDC Sleep Statistic

Insufficient sleep is a leading cause of death and disease. According to the CDC, 35% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.

Use the National Sleep Foundation Sleepiness Test to see if you are more or less sleepy than the general population. Similar tests are often used by doctors to test sleepiness levels. If you rate “very sleepy” on this test, you should speak to your physician.

Sleep apnea is a condition where your airway becomes obstructed by your tongue or relaxing muscles as you fall asleep. When this happens, it can cause a severe dysruption to your sleep as your body gets starved of oxygen and gets jolted awake–some times hundreds of times a night. More than just making you severely tired, sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that causes high blood pressure, increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Suprisingly, most people with sleep apnea do not remember these sleep interuptions where they gasp for air or even sit bolt upright in bed. It often takes a sleep partner or a medical sleep study to determine if you have apnea. Snoring, being overweight, having difficulty breathing through your nose, swollen tonsils, a narrow throat, a large tongue are all risk factors for having sleep apnea. You can take the American Sleep Association Sleep Apnea Questionaire to gauge your risk of having sleep apnea.

Even if you dont have apnea, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep from improving your sleep environment (light, sound, bedding), changing activities near bedtime, modulating caffeine and alcohol intake, reducing allergens, optimizing nasal breathing, supplementing melatonin, and many, many more. Contact Dr. Morris  or another ND or Functional Medicine practitioner to help you optimize your sleep and give your health and vitality a major boost.

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