5 Ways Insomnia Can Negatively Impact Your Health

5 Ways Insomnia Can Negatively Impact Your Health

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Without around 6-10 hours of good-quality sleep a night, which varies based on various factors, you may feel tired or drowsy during the day and experience acute symptoms, such as headaches. 

Sometimes, consistently lacking sleep is a sign of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, which needs professional treatment and has an array of negative effects on your health. However, even insomnia without a direct cause can have poor health outcomes. 

Here at Sleep Cycle Center in Austin and Lakeway, Texas, our specialist providers Chad Denman, DDS, Vidya Pai, MD, and Michael Lund, DDS, provide home sleep testing for sleep apnea to diagnose or rule it out as a possible cause of your insomnia. They can also help you evaluate your health risks and navigate the road to better sleep. 

Here are five negative impacts insomnia can have on your health:

1. Increased risk for cardiovascular health problems

The health of your heart and blood vessels is an integral aspect of your overall health. Conditions like stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure are more likely to affect you if you don’t get the amount or quality of sleep you need every night. 

Additionally, if your insomnia is a symptom of sleep apnea, your risk for heart disease is even higher because the condition affects your breathing while you’re asleep. That is because your breathing problems lead to decreased oxygen in your blood, which causes your cardiovascular system to work harder as it keeps blood pumping through your vessels. 

2. Lower immunity

A lack of sleep can cause your immune system to let its guard down. Your immune system’s purpose is to keep invasive bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens from making you sick. When your immune system isn’t functioning as it should, it leaves you at a higher risk of infectious illnesses that these pathogens cause. 

3. More inflammation throughout your body

More inflammation in the body can come with substantial downsides for your overall health and well-being. While inflammation is a natural immune system response, it can cause damage if there are no dangerous pathogens present for it to target. No matter the cause of your inflammation, low-quality sleep or a lack of sleep makes it harder to manage. 

The possible symptoms of elevated inflammation are diverse and can include:

If you have pain-causing illnesses, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, insomnia exacerbates your discomfort and other symptoms. 

4. A decline in your mental health

Insomnia impacts your mental health as well as your overall mental functioning. You might find that you’re more irritable throughout the day, experience mood swings, or find yourself more confused than usual when you’re lacking sleep.

Additionally, insomnia increases your risk for mood disorders and other mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. If you have these conditions already, insomnia can worsen the symptoms. Consequently, improving your sleep can help you manage these conditions. 

5. A higher likelihood of accidents and oversights

With increased confusion, a slower reaction time, and poorer judgment from insomnia, you’re at a higher risk of accidents and oversights that would be less likely to happen after a good night’s sleep. That is especially risky for driving, operating heavy machinery, or working in any dangerous environment where a mistake could lead to a significant injury.  

If you consistently have trouble falling asleep, wake up often during the night, can’t fall back asleep, or have low sleep quality, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment over the phone or online at the closest Sleep Cycle Center location. 

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