MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Getting a good night’s sleep is important because if you’re not getting the recommended 8 hours, it will eventually take a toll on your overall health, doctors caution.

During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain physical health. For children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development and too much screen time can delay melatonin production, making you stay awake longer.

Doctors urge parents to minimize screen time before bed and exercise daily. Getting physically tired is one of the best ways to ensure sound sleep.   

“Sleep also, you know, helps for memory consolidation. It also helps for our mood, you know, helps therefore to decrease depression anxiety if you have adequate sleep, but also for work performance,” said Dr. Ricardo Abreu, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine specialist. “You know, if you don’t have adequate sleep, you are more prone to have mistakes. You know your reaction time is slower.”

Sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder, and while it doesn’t affect how much sleep you get, it does affect the quality. The leading cause of it is obesity. Some overweight people have large necks, which makes their throats very narrow. When they fall asleep, the muscles Relax and Collapse, which causes them to stop breathing. The brain will then experience what is called arousal, which opens the throat so the person can keep breathing. This happens many times, so the quality of your sleep is impacted.

“The most common the easiest treatment for people get to lose weight and arrange is CPAP therapy. Continuous positive airway pressure is a little air compressor that you connect with a hose with a mask, and when you have it on, the air pressure will prevent the throat from collapsing during asleep. So when you have it on, there is no snoring. There is no stopping breathing. There is no low oxygen. So when you wake up in the morning, you feel refreshed,” said Abreau.

If you notice you constantly feel tired, talk with your doctor immediately. Sometimes a sleep study might be necessary to help find the cause of the problem.