As a physician, I take care to address the issue of sleep sufficiency with each and every patient.
Sleep is necessary for survival and well-being; yet, according to a recent study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of American adults are sleep deficient. With regard to sleep sufficiency, not only is it important that an individual gets the proper quantity of sleep; but it is equally important that an individual gets the proper quality (depth) of sleep.
If you are not getting the proper quantity or quality of sleep; not only will you experience fatigue; you may also experience anxiety, depression, cognitive/memory dysfunction, endocrine system impairment, immune system impairment. As your physician, it is one of my objectives to help you achieve the proper quantity and quality of sleep.
What happens during sleep?
During sleep your body performs many vital functions which are necessary for your health and well-being. These functions include:
- -Protein Synthesis
- -Cellular Repair
- -Growth Hormone Secretion
- -Memory Consolidation
- -Motor Skill Learning
- -Hormone Regulation, including the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate hunger and satiety
- -With regard to sleep quantity: adults require, on average, 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- -With regard to sleep quality: in order to obtain the full benefits of sleep, it is important to achieve the proper mixture of “sleep categories”. Sleep is roughly divided into two categories: Non-REM (Rapid-Eye-Movement) Sleep and REM Sleep. During Non-REM sleep, body metabolism slows down as sleep gets deeper and deeper. There is a reduction in the body’s physiological activities. Brain waves slow down as sleep deepens. Breathing and heart rate slow down, blood pressure drops, body temperature decreases. As the brain experiences its deepest levels of sleep, the body becomes immobilized. Conversely, during REM sleep brain activity intensifies, and most dreams occur during this sleep stage. Breathing becomes rapid and shallow, heart rate and blood pressure rise, limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed while the eye muscles move rapidly in various directions. The proper mixture of Non-REM and REM sleep allows the body to achieve maximum health restoration and concomitantly enhances brain functions such as memory, learning, mood stabilization, and concentration.
Types of Sleep Disorders:
- -Insomnia: difficulty falling asleep and/or remaining asleep for a suitable period of time
- -Narcolepsy: characterized by the sudden and overwhelming need for deep sleep
- -Sleep Apnea: characterized by episodes of interrupted breathing and diminished oxygenation during sleep
- -Restless Leg Syndrome: uncomfortable urge to move one’s legs while an individual is at rest, often as the individual is trying to fall to sleep. Getting up to move diminishes the urge and discomfort. This condition is frequently associated with sleep apnea.
- -Parasomnias: characterized by abnormal nocturnal behaviours, experiences, and autonomic responses which come from sleep. Includes sleepwalking, sleep terrors, sleep enuresis (loss of bladder control while asleep), and REM sleep behaviour disorder (in which the individual physically enacts his dreams).
Symptoms and Associated Long-Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation:
- -Excessive Sleepiness and Fatigue
- –Difficulty with Concentration
- -Impaired Memory Retention
- -Learning Impairment
- –Impaired Judgement
- -Mood Swings: including Depression and Mania
- -Impaired Immune Function
- –High Blood Pressure
- -Weight Gain and Obesity
- -Increased Risk for Diabetes and Heart Disease/Stroke and Cancer
- -Risk of Early Death
Illuminant Being and Wellness can help you achieve a better night’s sleep. Firstly, we will conduct a thorough history and physical examination aimed at identifying your specific causes and associated medical conditions which lead to your specific type of sleep deficit. Secondly, by designing a treatment program which is tailored to your specific condition, we will utilize Low Level Light Therapy to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. Please feel free to call Dr. Candice Perkins at 631.418.5606 if you have any questions about how Low Level Light Therapy may improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, and the quality of your life.