Poor sleep can lead to a wide range of health problems- and it can impact those with mobility issues or medical conditions significantly. When you don’t sleep, it takes a toll physically and mentally- creating a cycle that leaves you moody, tired, and susceptible to illness or injury.
If you have trouble getting a good night’s rest, you may already know the harm poor sleep can cause. Beyond fatigue, lack of sleep can make you vulnerable to illness and injury- as well as impact your mental health and sharpness. If you live with a physical disability or rely on mobility aids and devices, poor sleep can have other serious repercussions.
National Sleep Awareness Week strives to celebrate sleep hygiene and laud the benefits of good sleep health. Hosted by The National Sleep Foundation, this observance aims to encourage everyone to prioritize their sleep.
Are you getting enough rest? Here is how sleep can impact and affect your mobility:
When sleep is interrupted or inadequate, your cognition will suffer. Sleep is part of critical thinking; it is tough to navigate tough terrain, plan ahead, or react spontaneously when you are sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep could lead to poor choices that cause a nasty fall for someone with mobility issues or physical impairments.
Sleep definitely impacts an individual’s coordination, rendering them clumsy or a bit of a klutz. This may be accompanied by a loss of balance; if you don’t sleep well, do you ever feel dizzy? This is reported among individuals with chronic sleep issues or insomnia. Being poorly rested can make you feel lethargic, which increases the odds that you trip, stumble, or fall.
Problem Solving Skills
When it comes to decision making, a lack of sleep can contribute to poor judgement and sub-par choices. For example, when choosing how to navigate a wheelchair up a steep incline or how to operate an unfamiliar lift can be muddied and more complex when you are overtired. Fatigue hampers your problem solving abilities.
Furthermore, consider these health consequences of a lack of sleep:
- Depending on how prolonged your sleep issues are, lack of sleep can cause depression and mood disorders. A poll indicated that the majority of those diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression reported sleeping less than six hours a night, on average. This study points to a correlation between sleep hygiene and mental health.
- Achieving a deep state of sleep is necessary for creating certain brainwaves and ‘ripples’ in the memory that keep you sharp and prevent forgetfulness. Memories are consolidated during these deeper phases of sleep, which helps stow them in your longer-term memory bank. When you do not reach these sleep phases, your memory could be compromised.
- There is a connection between poor sleep and weight. In fact, lack of restful sleep is associated with an increased appetite- which could be the underlying reason for the fact that individuals who sleep under six hours per night are 30% more at risk of being obese.
- If all these side-effects were not enough, it is also reported that a lack of sleep can cause less interest in sex and a much-decreased libido. Since decreased energy and lethargy are natural consequences of poor sleep, it makes sense that many may lose interest in sexual activity when they are not rested. Furthermore, a lack of sleep causes feelings of tension that may also interfere with libido.
- Men also bear the burden of dealing with decreased libido due to sleep apnea, which can also directly cause poor sleep. Sleep apnea and continuous interruptions in sleep correlate with lower testosterone levels.
- Poor sleep also causes a public health risk in that it can be a safety hazard to have under-rested drivers operating cars on public roads and highways. Fatigue slows response time dramatically and could cause delays in reaction that jeopardize lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 100,000 accidents each year in the US are caused by driver fatigue- and of these, around 1,550 result in a crash-related death.
- Come to think of it, fatigue and lack of sleep present risks and hazards at work, too. Think about the accidents, incidents, and injuries that could be caused by the tired inattention of those you work with; furthermore, those that struggle with sleep hygiene typically call in and take more sick days than their counterparts that do not report difficulty with sleep.
As you can see, there are many health-related issues and complexities that can be caused and exacerbated by lack of sleep or fatigue. Do you have issues with sleep? Talk to your primary care provider about a sleep study. If you live with issues surrounding accessibility, talk to the mobility specialists at Pacific Mobility.
For quality equipment and first-rate customer service, call for a consultation today.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)