Depressed young woman lying in bed cannot sleep from insomnia

Your Sleeping Habits May Be Damaging Your Brain

Getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis can cause permanent damage to your brain.

You know that foggy feeling you get after you pull an all-nighter or you didn’t get enough uninterrupted sleep? That’s not a normal feeling.

Sleep, especially good quality sleep, is a primary biological need. It is something that people and animals need to survive. Since you spend nearly one-third of your life unconscious, it’s critically important to make sure you’re getting the rest you need.

Not doing so can lead to irreversible damage.

How can a lack of sleep damage my brain?

Sleep disordered breathing describes a variety of diagnoses including snoring and sleep apnea.

Over the past few years, scientists have been able to determine just how important sleep is in learning, memory, and overall brain health. One study revealed that newly acquired information is “replayed” during certain stages of sleep.

According to the National Institute of Health, poor sleep causes the build-up of a waste product called beta-amyloid. This accumulation is linked to impaired brain function. In severe cases it can lead to Alzheimer’s which is caused by beta-amyloids clumping together and affecting communication between neurons in your brain.

Studies have shown that your brain does most of its housekeeping while you sleep. If your brain isn’t able to do this, protein clumps that would normally be cleared away are left to reach toxic levels.

Why does sleep affect my mood?

You’ve probably noticed yourself snapping at the most minor inconveniences if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep, but have you ever wondered why?

According to a study done by the University of Philadelphia, people who only got 4.5 hours of sleep reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally drained. When those same people got a proper night’s sleep, their mood drastically improved.

The quality of sleep you’re regularly receiving affects more than just your mood. Since sleep affects your mood, it has a direct effect on your mental state.

Getting enough sleep, especially in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage allows your brain to process and remember thoughts and memories. Not getting enough sleep makes it harder for your brain to reinforce positive emotional content. This can negatively affect your mood and emotions and can be tied to new mental health disorders or an increase in severity of existing ones.

Why can’t I get a good night’s sleep?

If you suffer from sleep disordered breathing, you may find it hard to get a proper night’s sleep. Conditions like sleep apnea and UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome) rob you of your ability to feel rested.

The first step to take control of your health is reaching out to a medical professional for an official diagnosis. Once you know that the cause of your problems is a sleep disorder, make an appointment with Dr. Andrea Stevens to learn how to manage your condition.

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