Sleep disorder. It’s estimated that more than 300,000 Trinidadians suffer from it. That may seem weird because right behind food, Trinis love a sleep! And yet, lots of us are walking around tired all the time, just chalking it up to busy schedules and lack of exercise.

You keep saying that you need to get to bed earlier, but maybe you have sleep apnea, which is the involuntary cessation of breathing while asleep. If you’ve got it, or insomnia, or other sleep disorder, there’s treatment. And just in case you don’t understand how essential sleep is to a happy, healthy life here are 12 risk factors associated with a lack of restful sleep:

1. Migraines

According to Dr. Robert Rosenberg, sleep medicine specialist and author of ‘Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day’, sleep apnea can aggravate migraine attacks. Some studies have shown that migraines in test subjects were reduced by 50 percent following successful treatment of sleep apnea. It could be the combined effects of low oxygen and inflammation caused by sleep apnea.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

2. Weight Management Issues


Which came first the chicken or the egg? Gaining weight can trigger obstructive sleep apnea. “The airway becomes more narrow, while the organs and tissues swell—making for very little room for the traveling oxygen,” explains Charles Kimmelman, MD, director of the New York City Ear, Nose and Throat Center. But people who don’t sleep well are at a higher risk of becoming obese. In 2004 a Stanford University and University of Wisconsin study found that sleep-deprived people had higher levels of a hormone that triggers appetite and lower levels of a hormone that suppresses it. Yikes. lose lose.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

3. Decreased Sex Drive

Low energy levels will definitely contribute to this, but for men in particular there may be another factor. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002 suggests that many men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels. Nearly HALF of the men in the study who suffered from severe sleep apnea also secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

4. Increased Risk of Health Issues

Diabetes, Heart Attack, Stroke, and High Blood Pressure are just SOME of the major health issues associated with sleep disorder. Basically doctors are finding that of patients with these conditions an abnormally high percentage of them have sleep disorders.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

5. Increased Risk of Depression


In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression. What’s worse, sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, while depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

6. Stress

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. Who needs that?

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

7. Irritability

When you’re tired, you’re irritable, and that can have an extremely negative affect on your relationships and general well being. Prolonged states of irritability may turn what should be a temporary state of grumpiness into what’s perceived as just… your personality.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

8. Hazard Behind the Wheel


This is similar to the point above, impaired cognitive function, but so important it needs its own space. You’ve probably heard that driving tired is as dangerous as driving drunk, well, it’s true. In fact, statistics show that in the United States there are far fewer car accidents the day after daylight savings time adds another hour to the switch day. Experts have determined that it’s the extra sleep allowing everyone on the road to be more generally alert. Wow.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

9. Growth Suppression & Premature Aging

“It’s during deep sleep, what we call slow-wave sleep, that growth hormone is released,” says sleep expert Phil Gehrman, PhD. Lost sleeping hours means less of that growth hormone. For young ones that could mean stunted growth. For older individuals it likely means shortages in muscle mass, thinner skin, and weaker bones. It can also mean more wrinkles and puffy eyes. Not a good look.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

10. ADHD Misdiagnosis in Children


Children with obstructive sleep apnea can be misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder because of a lowered ability to concentrate combined with hyperactivity. Many parents know that over-tiredness in young children often results in hyperactivity, but won’t associate it with the symptom as they grow older.

Take a quick quiz to find out if your child is at risk

12. Decreased Daily Productivity & Creativity

Cognitive function is decreased when we are tired. It’s simply harder to do just about anything. Which means we take longer to perform tasks, to think and recall, and to create.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

13. Hearing Loss

Snoring is often associated with sleep apnea, and when harsh internal vibrations occur inside the ears due to snoring, “noise trauma” may occur, resulting in hearing impairment and eventually, hearing loss.

Take a quick quiz to find out if you’re at risk

To find out more about how sleep impacts your health, and qualify for a FREE home sleep test ‘like’ ISD Health Solutions on Facebook at Also, convenient services from ISD Health Solutions coming soon to Massy Pharmacy locations near you.

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