Adults need an average of 7-8 hours of sleep each night to keep their bodies at peak performance. Although each person’s sleep needs differ, studies show that sleeping less than 7 hours a night on a regular basis may lead to serious health risks such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and weight gain. It is estimated today that 70 million Americans have some form of acute or chronic sleep disorder. This is a conservative estimate as most people may not realize they have a sleep issue.
One of the most disturbing correlations made in recent sleep studies is in the area of stroke risk. Studies have now proven that subjects with moderate to severe sleep apnea can have a 2-3 times higher risk of suffering from certain types of stroke if undiagnosed and untreated.
Links to heart disease are also quite strong. 50% of hypertensive patients are suspected to have sleep apnea. Hypertension is a key contributor to heart attack, stroke and cardiac related deaths.
Diabetes and insulin resistance disorders are found commonly amongst sufferers of sleep apnea. Recent studies linked type 2 diabetes to the lowering of oxygen pressure in the arteries (hypoxemia) which occurs during episodes of sleep apnea related breathing disturbances during sleep.