The Physical Stress of Sleep Disorders

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Sleep deprivation and apnea can put stress on the entire body and raise blood pressure and cause the release of cytokines by the immune system, putting stress on the cardiovascular system. Sleep disordered breathing may cause abnormal lipid metabolism, and SDB and sleep deprivation may be tied to metabolic syndrome, which affects tens of millions of Americans.

Sleep deficit produces decreases immune system functioning, decreased glucose tolerance, and decreased motor skills.

It is important that you sleep enough and with as little obstruction as feasible.

Try to stay awake for a long time, and sleep finds a way to seep into your life. Sporadic, unplanned naps and microsleep events occur at inopportune times. These can be dangerous and are a main reason to avoid prolonged sleep deprivation.

Insomnia is not the same thing as sleep deprivation. A person could have insomnia but no real sleep debt, or sleep debt without visible signs of insomnia.

Insomnia is classified as primary insomnia if another condition, medication, or substance known to cause of be associated with insomnia cannot be identified. This might sound like a cop-out – if you can’t identify the root cause, just call it insomnia – and some medical experts regard it as that. But as a practical matter in the doctor’s office, saying the main problem is primary insomnia is often the best course and sets the doctor and patient on the path to effective treatment in the short run. Whether or not there is a deeper cause of the insomnia for any given patient may not be worth finding out.

Secondary insomnia is also frequently referred to as “insomnia associated with” the condition or situation that caused it. So you might see it called “insomnia associated with pain” or “insomnia associated with drug withdrawal” or “insomnia associated with mental illness” or similar.

People with primary insomnia have higher levels of interleukin­6 (IL­6) in their blood. Is this evidence of a bad immune system? Or of an immune response to something – the cause of the insomnia or the insomnia itself? Nobody knows for sure, and there is a such a large population of insomniacs that it is hard to make generalizations because insomnia has so many causes and characteristics.

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