Fight or Flight Responses: The Link Between Sleep Disorders and Chronic Diseases

Fight or Flight Audio

Getting the proper amount of restful, restorative sleep is important to your health for several reasons. One of the most important reasons, however, is the relationship between sleep and your brain. Sleep Medicine experts have found that sleep disorders actually cause heightened brain activity during sleep, and when continuous and untreated, this increased brain activity can lead to chronic diseases. Click the play button to listen to Dr. Jeffrey Durmer explain the connection between sleep disorders and chronic diseases.

Common sleep disorders—such as Sleep Apnea or Restless Leg Syndrome—activate the brain during sleep. This activation mirrors the activity that occurs during the fight or flight response. When your body goes into fight or flight mode, your adrenaline surges. Your blood pressure and heart rate also increase. The fight or flight response that can occur due to a sleep disorder impacts your body much like slamming on the brakes to avoid an accident when a car in front of you stops unexpectedly.  Normally, these levels would be very low during sleep.

As the surge elevates blood pressure and heart rate, your blood sugar levels also spike. These surges can occur hundreds of times an hour. The shock of absorbing high blood sugar and high blood pressure nightly can cause serious damage to your body, your blood vessels and even your heart.

Additionally, continuously heightened brain activity during sleep can increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol keeps blood sugar high and alters insulin levels. If insulin is not secreted correctly, it redirects itself and instead enters fat cells, which leads to weight gain and vulnerability to Type 2 Diabetes.

Sleep disorders create the systemic vascular inflammations detailed above and are responsible for keeping your brain overly active at night. If you think you may be suffering from one or more sleep disorders, the experts at FusionSleep® are ready to help. Call today to make an appointment.