Sleep is absolutely essential to good physical and mental health, and most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep EVERY night. Sleep deprivation — caused by insufficient sleep or poor quality of sleep — impairs the body’s immune system, physical reflexes, emotional stability, and cognitive functions, such as memory, decision-making, the capacity to focus one’s attention, and the ability to complete complex creative activities or mathematical calculations. Severe sleep deprivation may lead to weight gain, an increase in muscle, joint, and nerve pain, depression, and even hallucinations. Sleep disorders can also be symptomatic of more serious illness, such as clinical depression and/or heart disease, meaning that it’s essential to talk with your doctor if you are having problems falling, or staying, asleep.
If you or your doctor think that you might have a sleep disorder, a first step in further evaluation is to answer the 8 questions on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. If your score is equal to or higher than 10, the results should be discussed with your doctor. Depending upon your symptoms, your physician may determine that you are a candidate for a sleep study. Continue reading>>
As first seen on US News & World Report.Print this page