Lack of Sleep Can Silently Be Damaging Your Health: Sleep Awareness Tips from a Stroke Survivor and Thriver

I didn’t know I was having a stroke.

One afternoon I was home alone writing an email when suddenly my keyboard started swaying from left to right. When I stood up, the room was spinning. Violently. Somehow, I grabbed my phone from my desk before collapsing and dialed for help.

A dark truth would hit me years later. I’d fallen victim to a silent sleep epidemic which was also affecting a number of my colleagues and friends.

More than a third of American adults fail to obtain the CDC’s recommended seven or more hours of sleep each night. Dr. Wendy Troxel states in her book, “Our culture is steeped in this entrenched belief that more work is always better and that sacrificing sleep is a necessary, even noble feat in the pursuit of personal betterment and success.” This belief is “mortally misinformed,” she states, as insufficient sleep increases the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, weight gain, depression, amongst many other physical and mental issues.

“Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity. It is your life support system” according to Dr. Matthew Walker. Research shows that not getting enough rest and having too much stress are risk factors for stroke and other forms of heart disease.

I hadn’t been getting adequate sleep for years and wound myself into a ticking time bomb that went off.


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