If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not alone. Most studies estimate between 50 and 70 million people in the United States suffer from a sleep or wakefulness disorder. In the midst of hectic schedules and busy lives, Americans tend to let sleep fall by the wayside. However, not getting the shut eye you need could have some shocking effects on your well being. Below, we uncover five surprising facts about sleep deprivation and explain how MedCenter TMJ may be able to help.
1. It can cause your skin to age faster.
Getting insufficient sleep for just one night can lead to dark circles and wan skin the next day, but a continued trend of deprivation can also have more permanent effects. In a recent study, women’s skin appeared to age more quickly when they didn’t get enough sleep. This is most likely because sleep deprivation leads to increases in cortisol, a stress hormone that degrades collagen, a skin-tightening and smoothing compound.
2. It can make you gain weight.
As it turns out, being sleep deprived may cause you to gain weight. Getting less than six hours of sleep can make you feel hungrier and cause you to eat more than you really need. This may be due to the compounds your body makes while you snooze. Ghrelin is a peptide that increases appetite, while leptin does the opposite. Sleep deprivation raises your ghrelin levels and lowers your leptin levels. In this way, getting adequate sleep can help you maintain a slimmer shape.
3. It can affect your memory.
You’ve likely experienced the mental fog that rolls in when you don’t get the sleep you need, but persistent sleep deprivation can also cause more serious memory loss. While you rest, your brain and central nervous system perform functions to store memories and allow for optimal cognitive ability. Sleep deprivation can impact both short and long term recollection. A 2013 study of elderly adults confirmed “poor sleep in old age prevents the brain from storing memories.”
4. It has been linked to TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).
Your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is the band of tissue that spans from your temples to your lower jaw. If this joint becomes stretched, torn, misaligned, or otherwise damaged, you may suffer from TMD. This is a chronic condition that can create a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. In addition to headache, back pain, vertigo (dizziness), and tinnitus (ringing of the ears), TMD has been linked to sleep deprivation. A 2013 study of a simulated Mars mission found “both quality of sleep and stress levels due to extreme condition…were associated with TMD.” The relationship between sleep deprivation and TMD is two-way. The discomfort associated with TMD could disrupt your rest, and insufficient sleep may also raise your chances for developing TMD. In addition, both TMD and sleep deprivation are linked to stress and anxiety.
5. It can cause you to think you’re not impaired or sleep deprived.
Ironically, people who consistently get poor sleep don’t realize they are suffering the effects of deprivation. NY Magazine reports: “You may have heard by now of ‘short-sleepers,’ those genetic mutants who require just a few sort hours of sleep each night to thrive. Most of us do not belong to this exclusive club, as experts suggest that just one to three percent of the population can function this way. The trouble is that it might be very, very easy to think you’re among these lucky few. After a long period of sleep deprivation, you stop realizing how tired you are.” For this reason, it’s important to maintain a good sleep schedule and watch for symptoms of TMD or other conditions associated with sleep deprivation.
We Can Help You Sleep Better
Whether TMD is interfering with your sleep or sleep deprivation is causing your TMD, our doctors can help diagnose and treat your condition. We offer customized TMD treatment solutions to improve your health and comfort. To find out more about our services or schedule a consultation, contact MedCenter TMJ today.