1. SLEEP APNEA
Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious medical condition in which the snorer stops breathing during sleep, for seconds or even minutes. Untreated, it can be life-threatening. Sleep apnea symptoms include loud snoring, pauses in breathing (as observed by another), waking suddenly with shortness of breath, waking with a dry mouth or sore throat, morning headaches, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, attention difficulties and irritability. If you suspect you or your sleeping partner may have sleep apnea, consult your doctor as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.
2. HEART DISEASE AND STROKES
Medical research has established a direct link between poor sleep and an increased likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. In fact, sleep-deficient individuals are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease regardless of age, weight, smoking and walking regimens, according to the National Sleep Foundation. To keep our hearts and vascular systems performing as they should, we need quality sleep and plenty of it.
Doctors have discovered prolonged bouts of insufficient sleep can lead to depression and that once an individual’s sleep difficulties are solved, the depression lifts.
4. STRESS AND ANXIETY
We all feel stressed from time to time. In fact, 44 percent of Americans suffer from stress, according to an in-depth medical study of 10,000 participants. Whereas sleeplessness was once considered the byproduct of stress, recent medical research reveals stress is the result of poor sleep, particularly for those of us who are already worrywarts.
We tend to think of fatigue as simple tiredness, say, after a poor night’s sleep. But chronic fatigue, which can stem from sleep deprivation, can be severe, resulting in headaches, muscle and joint pains, and a host of other ailments.
6. WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEM
When we lack adequate sleep, our immune systems are weakened, increasing our susceptibility to colds, flus, bacterial infections and other illnesses. Additionally, a weakened immune system means we are less equipped to fight off bugs once they have struck.
Sleep-deprived people on the job and on the road pose serious threats to our safety. In addition to 100,000 yearly traffic accidents, these individuals are responsible for over 250,000 workplace accidents and mistakes every year, including such wide-scale disasters as the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
8. IMPAIRED THINKING
Poor sleep impairs our thought processes such as our ability to learn, make sound judgments and focus our attention. When we cannot think clearly, we make mistakes, incorrect decisions and fail to retain information. A chronic inability to think clearly leads to serious difficulties in one’s work and personal life.
9. WEIGHT GAIN AND DIABETES
Medical research shows people who sleep less at night are more likely to be overweight and obese. One study indicated people who slept a few hours less every night over a small number of consecutive nights gained an average of two pounds. The reason is sleep deprivation causes people to eat higher-calorie foods. Medical experts agree that overweight and obese people are at greater risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
10. STRAINED RELATIONSHIP
While snoring may be viewed by some as merely irritating, it is the third most common cause for divorce in the U.S. and troubles 30% of all married couples. An estimated four out of ten women whose partners snore move to another room to sleep. Some snorers are so loud, however, they still disrupt their partners’ rest despite the walls and closed doors between them
11. PREGNANCY COMPLICATIONS
Studies indicate women who snore during pregnancy have an increased risk of complications, including high blood pressure, fatigue, gestational diabetes (which means diabetes during pregnancy) and preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication with high blood pressure and organ damage, often the kidneys. Additionally, snoring mothers-to-be run the risk of having smaller babies.