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Aspire Magazine: The Power of Sleep

There's a lot going on in your body while you sleep. Hormones are being released. Cells are being repaired. Organs are being replenished with the oxygen they need to function properly.

It’s no wonder—how well you sleep at night can have a big effect on your health and on how you feel and perform throughout the day. This is especially true as we get older, according to Debra Uhlenbrauck, respiratory therapy manager at Aspirus Iron River Hospital & Clinics.

“Lack of adequate sleep not only leaves you feeling groggy, but over time it can cause serious health problems, such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes,” she said. “Your body needs time to rejuvenate itself in order to function at its best.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep nightly. Regularly getting a good night’s sleep can: ▸ Help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

▸ Improve your ability to learn and solve problems.

▸ Lower your risk for obesity.

▸ Enhance your creativity.

▸ Lower your risk of depression and anxiety.

▸ Improve your mind and memory.

▸ Make you more alert and heighten your decision-making skills.

There are warning signs to look out for if you are concerned about your sleep habits. While loud snoring is usually harmless, it can potentially be serious. It can warn of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing temporarily stops several times a night. People with sleep apnea may wake up choking or gasping for air. Fortunately, treatment—including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy—can help. Uhlenbrauck said it’s important to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your sleep habits because sleep disorders can be difficult to self-diagnose. A sleep study, either in-home or at a sleep center, can determine a definite diagnosis and prevent a condition from causing an even more serious problem. Sources: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; National Institutes of