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What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

We all know what a bad night’s sleep feels like, but what’s really going on in the body if we aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis? Poquoson, VA dental sleep specialist Dr. William Harper often sees patients who haven’t slept well in a long time and helps them achieve the sleep they deserve. Here’s why sleep is so important, what happens if you don’t get enough sleep, and what to do about it.

Why Do We Need Sleep?

There are several important functions the body performs while we are asleep. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, during which the muscles relax and bodily functions like heart rate, breathing, and even brain waves slow down. The body progresses through multiple sleep phases during sleep, which restores cells, allows the brain to process and store information, and returns us to a refreshed and alert state.

People who do not get enough sleep on a regular basis are at a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, attention deficits, and lower cognitive function. What’s worse, people with chronic sleep deprivation become tolerant to these effects and may not realize how much it affects them.

How To Tell If You’re Chronically Sleep Deprived

Sleep deprivation can make daily life more difficult, and it also puts you at a higher risk of many health problems and even car accidents. Some of the most common symptoms of poor sleep include:

  • Waking up tired or feeling extremely sleepy in the morning
  • Waking up repeatedly throughout the night
  • Gasping for air in the middle of the night or snoring
  • Sore jaw or dry mouth when waking
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or short temper
  • Falling asleep during the day or even while driving

These are common signs of sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder that can make it difficult to get enough sleep.

What Can I Do About Poor Sleep?

There is treatment available to help you get the high quality sleep that you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Many people know about CPAP therapy for sleep apnea, but there are other treatments that a dentist can offer. Dr. Harper offers oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea, which works to adjust the jaw to keep the airway open during sleep. The appliances are custom-fitted to each patient’s mouth for a comfortable fit and effective treatment.

Schedule your sleep screening today by calling 757.600.0861 or request an appointment on our website.