It's Time to Wake Up and Pay Attention to Your Sleep

woman sleeping

Hitting the snooze button on understanding your possible sleep disorder is no longer a healthy option, scientists warn in a new study from the Institute of Medicine. 

According to an article on NPR, "more than 50 million adults in the U.S. have a disorder such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea," and it is affecting their mental and physical health. The Institute of Medicine's report shows that sleep issues such as insomnia and sleep apnea not only make you at higher risk for accidents, but also can have harmful effects on your brain.There is also research from the CDC that shows people who lack sleep have higher risks for cardiovascular disease, infections, diabetes and may even be at higher risk for Alzheimer's disease.  According to the NPR article, sleep has a big effect on "everything from blood pressure to memory to metabolism."

In highly controlled sleep studies, scientists have been able to take a healthy young person and put them in a pre-diabetic state, within 2 and a half weeks, just by messing with their sleep schedule, according to the article. There is also evidence, that going without sleep, is bad for your brain. Your brain actually needs sleep to stay healthy and sharp! During sleep, the brain recharges and clears "out many of the toxins that build up during wakefulness," according to NPR,  and "among those toxins is beta-amyloid, which produces the sticky plaques that appear in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease."

Most sleep disorders can be treated, but few people seem to follow through with the treatment, as it requires switching schedules, sleep equipment or surgery, the report form The Institute of Medicine found.