**Sponsored Content** Why sleep is essential to all Canadians

The Laker News logo as created by Liane Rogers. (Healey photo)

by Michelle Gilfoyle

One thing Canadians aren’t getting enough of is sleep. Studies have shown that one in two adults in Canada have trouble either going to sleep or staying asleep. Similarly, one in five adults found that even if they do fall asleep, it is not enough to be refreshing. This is a problem, as sleep is essential, especially here in Canada. We already have a high risk for conditions like obesity, heart disease and depression and these are all things that a lack of sleep can increase as well.

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, second only to cancer. About 1 in 12—or 2.4 million—adults in Canada are diagnosed with heart disease, and every hour, 12 of these adults die from it. This is important to note because even though heart disease can be genetic, there are other causes that can increase a person’s risk. One cause is sleep deficiency. Getting enough sleep at night is what allows the body to regulate your blood pressure. Without sleep, you could develop high blood pressure which in turn is a risk factor for heart disease.

Another big health issue in Canada is obesity. Public Health of Canada reported in 2017 that 64% of Canadian adults are overweight or obese. This is a notable issue as poor sleep is linked to weight gain. One study showed that 55% of adults with sleep deficiency were more likely to develop obesity. This may be because a lack of sleep can greatly affect a person’s desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Working out is probably not a priority for people who did not get any sleep the night before.

Mental illness is another issue that many Canadians are familiar with. 1 in 5 people in Canada will experience a mental illness every year. This includes illnesses like Schizophrenia, but notably anxiety and depression. There is a link between sleep deficiency and depression. Sleep disorders like insomnia, which is prevalent in Canadians, are known to have higher rates of depression. As many as 75% of people with depression have said that they also suffer from symptoms of insomnia. Insomnia and depression tend to also lead towards suicide, the ninth leading cause of death in Canada.

To help combat sleep deprivation and in turn all of these illnesses, there are some measures Canadians should take. Using your phone or laptop before bed may be negatively influencing your ability to sleep as they let off blue light which blocks our body’s ability to create melatonin, the hormone that makes people tired. Also, not having a comfortable mattress may be affecting the way you sleep. Mattresses should be replaced every 7-9 years to prevent dust from building up and to allow your mattress to keep its shape. Getting a new mattress can easily be done online as well due to the current environment we’re in.

Though there are other risk factors for developing heart disease, depression or becoming obese, getting a good night’s sleep should not be one.