For the past decade, we’ve been hearing a lot about getting enough sleep and what lack of sleep can do physically and mentally to a person. Most experts say that we should be getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night. Not getting enough sleep can make a person more susceptible to obesity, diabetes and increase the risk of some cancers and heart conditions. It also leaves a person mentally fatigued, interfering with their ability to function at the level they should be functioning at.
Allow me to say just how true this is…
About 15 years ago, I was sent to a sleep clinic by my doctor because my wife said I stopped breathing a lot when I slept. After the tests, the sleep clinic doctor shared the good and bad news with me. I had three separate and distinct sleep disorders, the worst of which was sleep apnea (this is the one where you stop breathing many times while sleeping). However, he then said that he could treat the sleep apnea or the other two, but it’s not possible to treat all three at the same time. So, I sleep with a CPAP machine that forces air into my nose and keeps me from stopping to breathe. The doctor also told me that to treat the sleep apnea, it can aggravate the other two disorders which he described as minor. The CPAP machine did help, but I also live in constant severe pain which also prevents me from sleeping well. On a good night, I am fortunate if I get a total of 4 hours of sleep during 8 hours of trying to sleep. Consequently, I am constantly fatigued and often fall asleep quite easily. Basically, I’m so tired that I can’t stay awake and but hurt so much I can’t stay asleep. Yes, I am obese, have Type-2 diabetes and my immune system is very compromised making me very susceptible to every bug that goes around.
With all that said, have you ever heard of ‘social jet lag’? It has nothing to do with flying in a plane from one time zone to another. Social jet lag is defined as getting up at a certain time during the week and then sleeping in on the weekends. While many people do this to catch up on their sleep, it is actually proving to interrupt our body’s circadian rhythm. Many functions in your body are controlled by your circadian rhythm.