Efficiency and mental productivity depend to a large extent on your overall health status. It is very difficult to enjoy your work, study productively for an exam, be creative for an exciting project and stay motivated when you body and central nervous system are not functioning as they should. So, before planning how to study more efficiently for your next exam or how to manage your work tasks, let’s take a few minutes and discover how sleep quality can have an impact on your work or academic performance and physical well-being.
What are Sleeping Disorders?
Sleeping disorders are a variety of conditions that can have a profound effect on your physical health and even mental wellness. When the quality of your sleep is disrupted considerably, the repair processes that are going on in your body and brain cells during the night are disturbed. The result is that you wake up feeling tired or “foggy”, leading to a profound decline in intellectual “sharpness” and cognitive productivity. Even though you slept the recommended eight hours, you feel like going to bed again because you wake up experiencing fatigue. As you may guess, it is not sleep quantity, but rather sleep quality that is important for replenishing the energy reserves depleted during the day and resting your brain cells.
The most common sleeping disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and sleepwalking. The first two are the most frequently encountered in the general population. For example, sleep apnea has a prevalence of 8 to 24% in the adult population, being much more common in men than in women. Fatigue, daytime sleepiness, loss of productivity and mental concentration are common symptoms in both conditions. Sleep apnea is relatively more serious than insomnia, as it is caused by airway obstruction that generates chronic snoring and a low oxygen intake through breathing pauses during the night, and can lead to unwanted health complications like depression, irritability and even high blood pressure, if left untreated.
Some scientists go even further and claim that sleep apnea can cause brain cell death if it has a prolonged course and is not dealt with in a timely manner. It is because the most sensitive organ to low levels of oxygen is the brain. Cell loss over time can lead to impairment of short-term memory, mental concentration, intellectual ability and motivation to persevere in your academic or business tasks. Adequate mental capacities and a well rested brain are very important in maintaining work efficiency and developing your career. Although not associated with a disrupted breathing, insomnia can cause problems too. It is often linked to depression and anxiety, and it is not completely clear whether insomnia is the cause or the consequence of these mental illnesses. No matter what sleeping disorder some may suffer from, these health conditions must be managed efficiently if you strive to maintain work productivity, overall mental integrity and wellbeing.
How to Address Sleep Apnea and Improve Sleep Quality?
If you suspect that you may suffer from a sleeping disorder, you may want to start from simple yet powerful habits like eating healthy and regular exercise. The reason these two are so important consists in their capacity increase your body’s defense mechanisms and immunity, improve cell metabolism and blood circulation, allowing you to resist the impact of sleeping disorders more effectively. Regular exercise is especially important in sleep apnea. The collapsed airways that lead to snoring, which is the basic mechanism of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), also cause a diminished intake of oxygen in your body. Exercise improves the body’s ability to extract oxygen more efficiently, thus ameliorating many of the OSA symptoms.
The well known sleeping pills can temporarily help people with insomnia, but they will certainly inhibit your mental “sharpness” during the day. Consider using herbal supplements or nootropics to preserve your mental productivity during the day and sleep better during the night. Medical therapies also focus on improving the breathing pattern in sleep apnea. The continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) masks, which force the collapsed air passages to open effectively and deliver sufficient air during sleep, are the standard form of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Surgery is the last resort when other sleep apnea treatments have failed, which consists in a surgical correction of the anatomical structures that compress the airways and cause snoring. Psychotherapy for depression and anxiety is also very helpful in treating insomnia.
As you can see there are a number of ways to increase the quality of your sleep and to improve your daily performance. Treating sleeping disorders will enable you to become more intellectually efficient, motivated and inspired to do great work or accomplish your student projects with less panic and stress. If you regularly wake up tired or you are exhibiting persistent snoring, consulting with a physician is highly recommended and beneficial because you may be suffering from sleep apnea.