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What Effects Our Sleep?

Dr. Ibrahim

Today I was thinking about various factors that effect our sleep.  I was thinking about the implications of modern technology, a fast paced society and high standards of living.  In terms of modern technology, access to the world wide web has allowed us to work and play at any hour of day or night.  As a result, we give up sleep time to chat on Skype with our best friend who lives in Paris.  We stay up late to finish that business deal in Japan.  We're awoken at 2am because we got a text message about where to have lunch tomorrow.  By changing our natural circadian rhythm to accommodate our need for more technology time, we create insomnia.  Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.

Living in a fast paced society where everyone is on the run also contributes to many sleep disorders.  The availability of fast food and excessive consumption of it has contributed to obesity in our society.  Obesity is a major risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that's associated with pauses in breathing (apnea) or reduction of normal volume (hypopnea) that occur while you sleep.  This leads to multiple arousals and fractured sleep which causes excessive daytime somnolence.  

High standards of living pushes us to work harder and longer hours in order to keep up.  Since there's only so many hours in a day, we sacrifice sleep time to try and be more productive.  This also effects your natural sleep cycle and results in insufficient sleep syndrome.  Jet lag from traveling and shift work are also other cause of daytime somnolence, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and insomnia.  

Restful and refreshing sleep needs to be a regular part of our lives.  If you're not waking up feeling ready to take on the world, maybe you should consult with a sleep physician and get back on track!