Sleep and Your Health
Providers at The Insomnia and Sleep Institute of Arizona understand sleep disorders can be associated with, cause, or exacerbate a number of mental, emotional, and physical issues in those of all ages. These comorbidities can include type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, depression, as well as anxiety. Good sleep health is important for everyone, and particularly those with concurrent chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, ADD/ADHD, cancer, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many other diseases.
Stay current on trends in sleep medicine by reading articles related to sleep and your health. Please visit our blog for the latest information and book an appointment at one of our offices if you suffer from a sleep-related condition.
Understand how Sleep Impacts Your Overall Health
Sleep-Related Health Problems
Sleep is a state of relaxation that has benefits beyond letting our brain rest—it also allows our cardiovascular system to take a break. While we sleep our blood pressure decreases, and this is beneficial in that it decreases our risk of heart disease and stroke. A study by CHEST called “Sleep and Hypertension” delves deeper into this relationship. What is clear is that there is a positive relationship between sleep and your health.
During normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down. Those who have sleep problems also have blood pressure stays higher for a longer period of time. High blood pressure is one of the leading risks for heart disease and stroke. About 75 million Americans—1 in 3 adults—have high blood pressure.
Obesity is linked to numerous co-morbidities, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Numerous studies have found that obese patients are at a higher risk of suffering from OSA, with just a handful of patients best treated with a strict diet and weight reduction alone. The vast majority of those diagnosed with OSA will also require CPAP therapy. Those who fail with CPAP might be able to explore options such as the Inspire implant. There is also a link between insomnia and the disorder’s allowing for more waking hours to eat, which leads to obesity, which leads to related co-morbidities. This is a vicious cycle that can often be managed and/or treated.
Neurological disorders affect more than just memory. Often, patients in later stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias stop following the regular circadian sleep-wake cycle. This can lead to being awake all night and sleeping all day (or, worse, not sleeping much at all). Part of this problem stems from the disease itself, while another factor that disrupts this cycle is the medications often prescribed to treat these diseases.
Compounding Health Issues Related to Sleep Disorders
Numerous studies have linked lack of sleep with more intense cravings of unhealthy food. This lack of sleep may stem from necessity (intensive workload), personal choice (choosing to stay up too late), or from a sleep disorder (such as insomnia). The body will usually crave more food as these extra hours awake require energy, but unfortunately, these cravings are usually high glycemic options or foods high in saturated fats (leading to obesity). Such foods are known to increase risk of hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases.
Anxiety, Depression, Alcohol, and Addiction
Changes in sleep patterns can be caused by a variety of reasons such as anxiety, depression, and alcohol abuse or addiction. In fact, lack of sleep or oversleeping is such a common symptom of depression that it is included in the PHQ-9 screening questionnaire. Anxiety can lead to insomnia as patients get trapped in a cycle of thinking about their worries (which then prevents them from sleeping). Alcohol abuse and addiction can cause changes in the sleep cycle so that the body fails to enter the necessary REM cycle.
Long-term use of Sleep Aids
Pharmaceutical companies are offering new solutions to the most common problems, and this includes sleep disturbances such as insomnia and narcolepsy. However, many of the medications prescribed to treat insomnia are meant to only be used for a short amount of time in order to allow other practices to help. Many sleep aid medications can cause dependency when used for long periods of time. This is why is it imperative to work alongside a sleep specialist when addressing your sleep disorder.
Diabetes is a disease that causes sugar to build up in your blood, a condition that can damage your blood vessels. Some studies show that getting enough good sleep may help improve blood sugar control.
Sometimes sleep really can be the best medicine. Proper sleep (7-8 hours of quality sleep per night for most adults) will not cure type 2 diabetes, but it could delay it for months of years. Patients who have diabetes as well as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can see blood sugar spikes at night because of a failure in the body’s regulation. Lack of oxygen makes the body think that it needs more energy, so it signals the liver to release stored energy in the form of glucose, which spikes blood sugar levels. This means that addressing the sleep disturbance could help in controlling the patient’s diabetes.
Cancer and Sleep
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is life-altering as it is, but did you know that your sleep health can also suffer because of this disease? It is not only the inherent post-diagnosis worry that causes worsened sleep, but some chemotherapy treatments can cause sleep disturbances as side effects. Additionally, for some patients, changes in sleep patterns stem from cancer affecting the brain (as a primary tumor or a metastasis). Finally, there is pain caused by some cancers which can cause or exacerbate insomnia or poor sleep.
“Working with the team at the institute and especially working with Dr. Krietsch has been an absolutely amazing life-changing experience. If someone had told me I’d be sleeping through the night AND getting up at 5:30 am every morning a few months ago… I would have told them they were crazy. My life is 100% better, I am keeping the institutes cards on hand and have handed them out to people who say they have insomnia.”
“Professional and efficient from my first call to schedule and all the way to the end of my first appointment. Each office member you come in contact with will be courteous and kind. It didn’t take long to go back and see the doctor. Dr. Ramalingam was so thorough and calming. I highly recommend this caring office.”
“I had the best experience at The Insomnia and Sleep and Sleep Institute. The technicians are very friendly. I was very nervous and the technician was very patient and explained everything to me. She communicated to me every step of the way. Made feel at ease. I recommend this place.”
“I had the best experience at The Insomnia and Sleep and Sleep Institute. The technicians are very friendly. I was very nervous and the technician was vI love the people at this office! Everyone from Dr. Patel, the sleep study technician, the respiratory therapist, the lady from billing, and the office staff were all nice, helpful and pleasant. They took time to explain the results from the sleep study, which was very helpful.”
“The staff is friendly and patient oriented. They seem interested in helping to overcome obstacles when they come up. There is a patient portal and all questions of mine have been answered quickly. The doctor is friendly, attentive, on time, and seems both up to date and knowledgeable in his field. This is, frankly, one of the few places I often contact about which I have no complaints. I’m happy to recommend this facility enthusiastically.”
“I have too much experience with sleep clinics so it’s easy for me to rate the clinic. Dr. Gunn is an excellent sleep doctor. The facility is clean, the rooms are spartan with a comfortable bed which it conducive for sleeping. My tech was Brandon and he was professional and a pleasure to work with. I strongly recommend this sleep clinic.”
“A great doctor. My long-term doctor had retired. I was referred to Dr. Patel. I was exceptionally pleased. He gave me a couple of pointers and even though I was doing well things got better. I will see him annually for sure.”