Keeping You Safe: Dangers of not getting enough sleep

Advice and tips from the sleep doctor
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 11:20 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A good night’s rest is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

An average adult needs at least seven to nine hours, according to Dr. Thad Golden, the medical director at Coastal Sleep Lab.

“Each individual has their own perfect number and if you get less than that, you’re just not going to feel as good or perform as well and affects other parts of your health hugely. Most people get less than they actually need,” said Golden.

He said lack of sleep can affect everything from your ability to drive to increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Sleep deprivation can also affect your mental health.

“It can worsen depression, anxiety, underlying psychological issues which today, I think, are quite prominent,” Golden explained.

When it’s time to wind down, Golden said life stresses and technology are two of the biggest factors that get in the way. He said it’s important to have a set schedule that includes cutting caffeine and alcohol at night, exercising so you’re physically tired and avoid electronics.

“It’s what we call is sleep hygiene and what that means is, everything from a comfortable bed, comfortable environment to those small details, and if you tend to those, that’s a great start,” he said. “Quieting the mind. Reading is a great way to do that, some people say I’m not a reader. My answer is great, even better because you’ll be bored and want to go to sleep.”

If that doesn’t work Golden said you could be suffering from a sleep disorder like insomnia, restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea, and book an appointment for a night’s sleep at Coastal Sleep Lab.

“We put sensors on their head to look at their EEG, through their brain waves. And we have sensors that look at the rise and fall of their chest. We look at oxygen levels, we look at leg movements and then we look at their heart which is really important,” said Golden.

The sleep doctor said the tests are painless and will determine if there are underlying health issues that are contributing to your sleep patterns.

“There’s help for almost everybody. All these things are treatable issues that can really make a huge difference in your quality of life,” he said.

Golden said you should also invest in a good, comfortable bed and take 20-30 minute naps to be more alert during the evening.

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