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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Sunnybrook

5885 Sunnybrook Drive
Sioux City, IA 51106

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Sleep Health

The word 'sleep' can bring about a lot of feelings. Some people love it, some struggle with it, and most people don't get enough of it. Scientists don't exactly know why we sleep, but they know that the body requires it to function properly. Sleep is an important part of your overall health, and knowing about sleep and sleep disorders can give you steps to getting your health back!

Why Is Sleep Important?

Sleep affects your metabolism, immune system, memory, learning, and body functions. It is an essential part of staying healthy, both mentally and physically. However, sleep isn't just a single process. It's made up of several processes called the sleep cycle that take place in your brain.

The Sleep Cycle

During the night, your body goes through the sleep cycle. This cycle consists of five stages: four Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) stages and one Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage. Technically, all of these stages combined last around 90 minutes, but during the night the stages range in length and timing depending on the person. The NREM stages last the longest and range from a light sleep to a very deep sleep. The last stage of sleep, REM sleep, is where most people have dreams. 

Sleep Deprivation

A lack of sleep can lead to immediate problems, such as poor judgment and moods, and it can affect your ability to learn and remember information. Long-term sleep deprivation can cause major health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Sleep patterns can often be disrupted by sleep disorders and cause sleep deprivation.

Sleep Disorders

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This sleep disorder affects one out of every five people in the U.S. The consequences of obstructive sleep apnea are far-reaching, and some are even life-threatening. These conditions include:

Poor Sleep

Poor sleep can cause mood problems including anxiety, loss of motivation, and shortened attention span. It can also create daytime sleepiness that could increase the risks of car accidents, slower reaction times, and reduced work efficiency.


Men with obstructive sleep apnea are three-times more likely to have a stroke.

Heart Problems

Obstructive sleep apnea can increase your chances of hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, heart disease, and sudden death.


Obstructive sleep apnea can increase your chances of  developing Type II Diabetes.

Poor Food Choices

Lack of sleep due to obstructive sleep apnea can cause obesity due to a higher appetite for high-calorie foods. It also increases the chances of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Reduced Sex Life

Obstructive sleep apnea has been shown to lower libido and cause impotence.

Need to Urinate

A lack of sleep due to obstructive sleep apnea has also been shown to cause nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination.

Nightmares, Sleep Talking, and Sleepwalking

Children most commonly experience nightmares and they are often times combined with sleepwalking and occur early in the night. For most people, sleep talking is rare and short-lived. It is not dangerous, but can be annoying to those who are in the same vicinity.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 1% to 15% of people experience sleepwalking during deep sleep. Contrary to the misconceptions about sleepwalkers, you should always wake someone who is sleepwalking.

Unnatural Sleep and Wake Patterns

Your body regulates your sleep patterns, but sometimes your sleep patterns become interrupted. They can happen too early or too late during the night for you to feel rested.


This condition is when you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and can create daytime fatigue, problems concentrating, and mood swings.

If you are experiencing any of the above sleep disorders, or you feel that you could be getting a better night's sleep, consider UnityPoint Health - Sioux City's Sleep Lab. Let our experts help you sleep better.