Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science
Dr. Thomas Colletti
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of daily life and has many benefits to our minds and bodies. Inadequate sleep can increase the risk of making personal, professional, and even life-threatening errors on a daily basis. Aside from cognition, sleep promotes healing, with prolonged sleep loss resulting in detrimental effects on immune function. Many providers, as well as patients, are working more demanding hours and sleeping less while the pace of their lives is accelerating. Numerous studies have found links between insufficient sleep and an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, neurocognitive dysfunction, accidents and injuries, and even death.1-3 Inadequate sleep has even been linked to seven of the 15 leading causes of death in the United States.11 While many may be willing to trade sleep for a few more hours of wakefulness, people often overlook the potential short- and long-term health consequences that insufficient sleep has on one’s body as well as one’s mind.
While it is common practice for medical providers to encourage their patients to “get enough sleep at night”, many are unsure exactly how much is enough. In addition to this, many patients do not fully understand nor are they aware of the potentially harmful effects that prolonged sleep deprivation can have on their mental and physical health.
Hunstad MA. Sleep – An Epidemic of Insufficiency. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2019; 1(3).
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