According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of U.S. adults don't get enough sleep. Busy lives may be the reason some people don't log the hours they need, but for others, sleep disorders are the culprit. Research shows proper sleep is essential for good health. Dr. Virend Somers, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, studies sleep because sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, are associated with issues that affect the heart.
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Research shows proper sleep is essential for good health.
"It's important because we spend about a third of our lives asleep," says Dr. Somers. "If your spouse says that you stop breathing during the night, that’s a very strong signal that you may have sleep apnea."
Other symptoms of a sleep disorder include daytime sleepiness, irritability, obesity, erectile dysfunction, depression and certain heart-related conditions.
"You could have a disease like high blood pressure or like atrial fibrillation, and then definitely we need to look for sleep apnea," Dr. Somers says.
A sleep study can help diagnose sleep disorders and let health care providers know what, if any, treatments you might need.
"Because we’ve realized that when you don’t sleep well, bad things happen," says Dr. Somers.