How well are you really sleeping? Sleep is essential to our overall health and well-being and can play a vital role in brain function. But chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to a wide range of health problems. Dr. Carlos Nunez joins our Laura Cavanaugh to talk about common issues that prevent a good night’s sleep and simple strategies to optimize your sleep health.
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can take a serious toll on our bodies.
“Sleep is one of the three pillars of good health. We talk about the first two all the time. We talk about diet and exercise, but we often ignore good sleep,” said Dr. Carlos Nunez, ResMed’s Chief Medical Officer. “Every system in the body, from your brain to your heart to your immune system, relies on good restorative sleep.”
Those systems suffer if you don’t sleep well. And if you don’t sleep well regularly, it can lead to devastating health consequences later in life.
There are a number of factors that contribute to sleep disruption, but one of the top issues impacting how we sleep is sleep apnea.
Some 54 million adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea, 84 percent of whom go largely undiagnosed and untreated.
“Untreated sleep apnea is devastating for your health,” said Nunez.
Do you snore when you sleep, wake up exhausted with headaches or covered in sweat? Do you sound like you’re choking or gagging when you snore? If you have experienced any of these issues, you may suffer from sleep apnea.
“The tissues in your throat relax when you fall asleep. As they relax, the air can make them vibrate. It makes the sound that we call snoring. But in sleep apnea, they relax so much they obstruct the flow of air into the lungs. The snoring can get very loud or often it just stops completely and it sounds like you’re not breathing,” said Nunez. “When air doesn’t get into your lungs, that means oxygen is not getting into your blood and your brain literally things that you’re dying, that you’re being suffocated or strangled.”
With sleep apnea, that can happen 20, 50, 100 times an hour. As a consequence, you don’t wake up refreshed and are excessively tired.
If any of those symptoms sound familiar to you, talk to your doctor to see if you might have sleep apnea.
The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. ResMed’s AirSense 11 is the most modern, next-generation. connected CPAP device on the market. It’s much like a smart phone. The device enables the user to download an app so that your doctor can monitor your therapy from their office. The device learns from how you sleep, while the app monitors the therapy and provides coaching.
Untreated sleep apnea scientifically has been shown to increase risk for things like Alzheimers and cardiovascular disease, as well as higher mortality of all causes.
Nunez says it was definitely a wake-up call.
“It changed my life,” said Nunez, who now sleeps nightly with a CPAP device. “I never realized how poorly I slept and that I was never rested until I started treating my sleep apnea.”
For more information, visit www.sleepforbettertomorrow.com
If you have any signs and symptoms of a sleeping disorder, whether it’s sleep apnea or something else, talk to your doctor. One of the most important things that you can do for your overall health and wellness is to get a good night’s sleep. Better sleep can truly change everything.
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