Do You Suffer From Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans each year. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans complain that they have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. People experiencing chronic sleeplessness typically report having a poor quality of life. Performance at work and at school, the ability to make important decisions, and relationships all suffer when you aren’t getting the sleep you need on a nightly basis.

Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia

If you:

  • Regularly have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep each night;
  • Feel tired most mornings when you should be feeling refreshed after a good night’s rest;
  • Feel sleepy and lethargic throughout the day, wishing you could just lie down and take a nap when you need to be alert and productive at work, while driving and at home;
  • Have trouble concentrating and focusing on tasks when you need to be mentally alert;
  • Have trouble learning and remembering important information;
  • Are frequently moody and irritable;

…. there’s a good chance that you are suffering from insomnia. The good news is that insomnia can be treated. The highly-trained sleep specialists at Comprehensive Neurology and Sleep Medicine have successfully helped thousands of sleep-deprived patients throughout Maryland sleep better and restore their physical and mental health and overall quality of life.

How Sleeplessness Affects Your Physical and Mental Health

On average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night to maintain their health. Getting enough sleep is just as important to your health as getting enough food, air and water. Getting less than 7 hours sleep night after night leads to health consequences for your entire body and mind. Sleep is a time when critically important biological processes take place that maintain the health of your cardiovascular system, central nervous system, digestive system, endocrine system, immune system, and respiratory system.. Sixteen different research studies have linked long term sleep deprivation and sleeplessness to early death and the development of common chronic diseases. (1)

Insomnia’s Impact on the Cardiovascular System

Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining heart health as well as the health of blood vessels that regulate your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. Lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Insomnia’s Impact on the Central Nervous System

During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. A sleep-deprived brain loses its ability to function at its best. Sleep-deprived people often report feelings of impatience, irritability and moodiness. Decision-making processes and creativity are also impaired when you feel overly-tired and sleepy.

Insomnia’s Impact on the Endocrine System

Hormone production occurs during sleep. Testosterone production requires at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is about the time of your first R.E.M. episode. Waking up throughout the night impairs the ability to produce the hormones needed to stay healthy and functioning properly. Children and adolescents who don’t get enough sleep don’t produce adequate amounts of the growth hormone that helps the body build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues.

Insomnia’s Impact on the Immune System

Sleep is also a time when your immune system produces protective antibodies and infection-fighting substances that protect your body from illnesses caused by harmful bacteria and viruses. Poor sleep habits interfere with your immune system’s ability to fight off illness or recover quickly when you do get sick.

Insomnia’s Impact on the Digestive System

Sleep deficits also affect the body’s ability to maintain proper levels of leptin and ghrelin — the two hormones that control appetite. Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat, while gherkin stimulus appetite. When you sleep poorly, your body’s leptin levels decrease and ghrelin levels increase — which encourage late-night snacking and the weight gain that comes with overeating and poor eating habits. Sleep deprivation can make you feel too tired to exercise. Long-term lack of exercise can lead to excessive weight gain because you’re not burning enough calories and not building muscle mass. Sleep deprivation also causes your body to release less insulin after you eat. Insulin helps to reduce your blood sugar (glucose) level. Sleep deprivation also lowers the body’s tolerance for glucose and is associated with insulin resistance. These disruptions can lead to diabetes mellitus and obesity.

Insomnia’s Impact on the Respiratory System

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that disrupts normal breathing patterns, causing one to wake up throughout the night. OSA can lead to respiratory infections like the common cold and flu and make existing respiratory diseases and lung diseases worse.

What Causes Insomnia?

Insomnia can be triggered by various physical and psychological factors. Possible causes for insomnia include:

  • Psychological issues – bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, or psychotic disorders.
  • Medical conditions – chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, congestive heart failure , angina, acid-reflux disease ( GERD ), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma , sleep apnea, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, hyperthyroidism , arthritis , brain lesions, tumors, stroke.
  • Hormonal imbalances or fluctuations.
  • Watching TV or using computers before going to bed at night.

Where to Get Treatment for Insomnia

The sleep experts at Comprehensive Neurology and Medicine have more than 30 years experience diagnosing and successfully treating thousands of patients throughout Maryland for insomnia and other sleep disorders. Dr. Konrad Bakker is is board certified in sleep medicine by the American Board of Sleep Medicine as well as board certified in sleep by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Bakker has extensive experience treating patients seeking help for all sleep disorders. He uses a variety of treatment modalities including cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia, CPAP, dental appliances [mandibular advancement splint] and Inspire ( hypoglossal nerve stimulator implant/pacemaker for sleep apnea). Sarah E. Jamieson is a physician’s assistant with specialized training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia. Together, Dr. Bakker and Ms. Jamieson will listen to you carefully and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you get the sleep you need to restore your physical and mental health as well as your overall quality of life. Call us today at (301) 694-0900 to schedule an appointment. Virtual appointments are also available, allowing you to receive a medical consultation via our own phone or computer in the comfort of your home.

Information about Narcolepsy

Sources: (1)