The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia

When we are babies, we spend about 16 to 17 hours a day just sleeping. Our brains are developing at a quick rate and we need sleep to help facilitate this rapid growth. We take a nap during the day until we reach elementary school age because we are still transitioning out of our infantile sleep cycles. Forgoing these naps usually results in mood disruptions and “crankiness”.  As we get older, the naps become intermittent but the danger of sleep deprivation is still a reality.

Sleep is the body’s biological healing system and is critical to healthy brain function. When we are teenagers, we spend the weekends sleeping until the early afternoon hours but as we get older the responsibilities and commitments of life take over, sleep becomes a precious commodity. That isn’t just a quirk of the generations, our bodies are biologically programmed for different sleep cycles at different points in our lives. Let’s discuss the benefits of proper sleeping schedules and the dangers of sleep deprivation and the damage of insomnia.

Sleep deprivation encompasses a number of symptoms. It might the student working part-time and staying up late at night to study. It could be the single mother working graveyard shifts and inhaling caffeine to stay awake. It could be the overworked doctor, short-staffed and busy, forgoing steady sleep for the sake of the patients. It might be the laid-off father tossing and turning all night thinking about the future. Sleep deprivation happens for a number of reasons and can affect anyone, but the effects can be severe if not treated.

Sleep deprivation affects almost every function of the body: cognitive, vision, digestion, and respiration, all of it because our bodies need sleep. Sleep is when our body does internal repairs. The brain needs to dream in order to filter and clean out the neurological clutter that fills our minds throughout the day. Sleep is necessary for the body to repair tissues and muscles, synthesize hormones and rejuvenate the brain. Lack of sleep can lead to “activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to a rise in blood pressure and an increase in cortisol secretion” both of these reactions are harmful to the body and the mind.

Thanks to research regarding the benefits of sleep, we can better understand the dangers of insomnia. Insomnia is more than just losing a few hours of sleep because your busy schedule can’t allow it, insomnia is a mental condition in which the mind cannot seem to transition from active mode to sleep mode. Insomnia affects as much as 20% of American adults. Not only does insomnia make the sufferer feel terrible and tired, but it can also lead to a host of health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Medications and therapies like hypnotherapy, meditation, and sleep training can help in some cases.

Complications of Insomnia

Research has shown that insomnia can be caused by a number of reasons: genetic history, allergies, gastrointestinal conditions, neurological conditions, medication and stress. Conditions like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and depression are contributed to the insomniac brain. MRI research of insomniac patients reveals that their ability to “modulate brain function and development including gene expression, protein translation and memory function.” These studies help to educate both physicians and patients about the danger of sleep deprivation and hopefully, find more remedies for the sleepless.

Understanding sleep disorders requires medical attention but there are over the counter and holistic approaches that have been shown to improve sleep quality. Working together with your physician to find the right formula is crucial in your mental and physical health. Furthermore, for those that regularly forgo sleep, remember that you are only doing yourself and your work a disservice. Sleep is a necessary function that needs to be regulated and maintained.

For more information about our MRI capabilities for sleeplessness or other conditions, contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Our offices are open Monday through Friday 8.30 am- 5 pm and open on Saturdays from 9-12. You can call our office at 504-883-8111 or fill out our Request an Appointment Form on our site.

Advantages of the Newest, Top of the Line Radiology Tools

While the education and knowledge that a physician has is critical, the instruments and equipment he or she uses are just as important. Depending on the field a doctor works within, their instruments of choice may differ. Every doctor has their stethoscopes and thermometers but working in the medical imaging field means that you have access to a variety of different machines and have to decide which will provide the best services to your patients.

For many medical imaging facilities, the machines that are most traditional may seem like a safer route. Patients make the common mistake in believing the only way to get effective medical imaging is to use a hospital’s equipment or facilities. In actuality, you could be paying less for the same results when you go to Radiologist owned private facilities like Doctors Imaging. We accept many different kinds of insurance and have the same, if not better, medical imaging equipment for the patient’s convenience.

Doctors Imaging is committed to providing the most comfortable imaging experience for their visitors. Just take a look at some of our outstanding equipment. Many patients come into Doctors Imaging requiring imaging services and yet they are afraid of possible side effects from the radiation component of the machines. Luckily for those in fear, Doctors Imaging is equipped with the latest in digital imaging innovation. Take, for instance, the Siemens Digital X-ray. In previous generations, when an x-ray was performed, the body was exposed to mass amounts of radiation to produce a high-quality image of the skeletal structures. Now, with equipment like this, there is less radiation involved. Just clear digital images that can see into the body even better than before.

Or for instance, the Siemens 3T MRI. While MRIs do not use radiation at all, the 3T MRI is the strongest MRI machine for every part of the body. The “T” in “3T” shows how strong the image quality is of the machine as MRI machines used by others are usually 1.2T and 1.5T. The high image quality corrects for slight movement from the patient, like breathing, and is performed much faster than previous forms of imaging.

For many patients, it is not the fear of radiation that keeps them from getting recommended imaging procedures, it is the fear that comes from the exams. Many patients are claustrophobic and dislike being closed in, so for them an MRI appointment would be much more difficult than an X-ray exam. For these patients, Doctors Imaging offers the Siemens Open MRI. The open portal to the MRI gives patients a bit more room to breathe and helps to combat that uneasiness. If a patient’s breathing becomes too erratic or they cannot stop nervous movement, then the procedure can take twice as long and only yield a handful of helpful results. But patients who desire an open MRI should be aware that the image quality of open MRIs is much lower than that of traditional MRIs.

If state-of-the-art equipment is what a patient is looking for then they need look no further than Doctors Imaging. As opposed to the ultrasounds of yesteryear, Doctors Imaging has 3D ultrasound capabilities. Ultrasounds use sound waves and computer technology in order to produce an image in real-time. In previous generations, the images were always in black and white, with blurry edges and if the child was not in proper placement, there is little to see of the image. With 3D and 4D ultrasounds, doctors and patients can see into their bodies digitally and the movement of blood or fetuses like never before.

Our equipment, expertise, and knowledge is just as, if not better, than most hospitals and we offer the same capabilities for less. That is what makes Doctors Imaging in Metairie the best suggestion for your imaging needs. If you have other questions about our equipment, practices or methods, please contact our offices at 504-883-8111 or ask us a question online.