Health risks linked to not getting enough sleep

MGN Online
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 7:25pm

According to a new study, one-third of Americans are not getting enough sleep.  

Dr. Sergio Alvarez at the Sonno Sleep Center in West El Paso recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep every 24 hours, but said many people are not getting that. 

"Unfortunately, in our society, sleep has been equated to laziness," said Dr. Alvarez, but adds that sleep is valuable. Giving up those extra few hors of sleep could have some risky side effects. Dr. Alvarez said not getting enough sleep can lead to psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety and judgment problems. 

Anti-depressants are one way to treat people who lose sleep because they are stressed or worried, but only under a doctor's care. 

Others may turn to over the counter medications with "P-M" at the end of the name. Instead, Alvarez recommends changing bad habits that make it difficult to fall asleep including using computers, tablets or watching television before bedtime. 

"All the light is actually telling the brain that it's okay to stay awake," said Alvarez. 

Feeling tired the morning after staying up later than usual is normal, but Alvarez said people should worry when it begins to impact daily life. Some red flags to look out for are if your work performance begins to suffer, if family and friends say you look tired and one common symptom is snoring loudly. 

Brian Pincon is a patient of Dr. Alvarez's and decided to get help when his issues sleeping became a bigger problem. 

"I wasn't getting enough sleep from snoring. I was falling asleep while driving," said Pincon. 

Pincon said his snoring was linked to sleep apnea, which is when people stop sleeping in their sleep. 

Snoring is also linked to obesity and smoking, and is also common during allergy season.

Other problems linked to sleep loss include heart problems, weight loss and memory loss.

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