If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, you may not think much of it. However, chronic sleep deprivation can affect many areas of your life. Not getting enough shut-eye can affect your work performance, mood, and overall physical health. It’s important to get quality sleep each night so that your body can function properly. You might be having some sleep trouble here and there, but how do you know if it’s becoming a problem that needs medical attention? Keep reading and we’ll tell you how to know when it’s time to see a sleep specialist.
You regularly experience trouble sleeping
If sleep disturbance is becoming a regular thing, you may have a problem that needs treatment. Most people experience difficulty sleeping from time to time, but if this is becoming increasingly common, you should take it seriously. Most adults need roughly seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Regularly getting less than a solid seven to nine hours could result in health problems. Compromised immunity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and decreased heart health are just some of the ways your body reacts to chronic sleep deprivation.
You experience daytime sleepiness
Do you often feel exhausted even though you’ve had the recommended amount of sleep? This may be from waking up frequently during the night. Tell your physician if you are getting enough sleep or sleeping more than usual, and still feel very tired. A good night’s sleep should leave you feeling refreshed and focused. If that’s not the case, a medical professional may need to intervene.
You feel depressed and anxious
Lack of sleep can negatively impact your mood. While it’s normal to feel down or experience some anxiety from time to time, it’s not normal to continue to feel this way for an extended period. If you’ve been feeling depressed and anxious and you can’t seem to shake how you’re feeling, sleep deprivation could be to blame. On the other hand, while sleep problems could lead to depression, experts at the National Sleep Foundation have found that a problem with your sleep could also be a symptom of depression that is already present.
Your daily life has been affected
You should be concerned if your sleepiness is affecting your ability to complete tasks you were once able to do with ease. Take notice of things like struggling to stay awake when you’re sitting still, poor memory, trouble concentrating, and poor performance at work or school.
A hidden cause of sleep problems
In some cases, sleep troubles may not have anything to do with a sleep disorder. There is a chance you could have a serious medical condition causing your insomnia. Health issues that affect your thyroid and kidneys and conditions like Parkinson’s disease can rob you of a good night’s sleep. Stress can also impact sleep quality. If you’ve experienced several nights of sleep disturbance, one of your medical visits should include a trip to your primary care physician’s office. He or she can evaluate you and help identify the source of your sleeplessness. If stress is the root cause, your doctor might refer you to a mental health professional or recommend alternative coping strategies such as yoga and meditation.
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