Here’s what sleep deprivation does to your body and brain

Lack of sleep affects almost all bodily functions, and prolonged sleep deprivation can cause serious problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, lowered immunity, etc. For the human body, sleep has the same meaning as food and water. as much as we can you can’t live without it. Sleep maintains the body’s energy level and allows cells and tissues to heal and overcome any minor damage.

Unfortunately, for many, the modern lifestyle also favors late nights, early starts and shift work, all of which can increase the risk of health problems associated with sleep deprivation. This is especially true for young people. According to report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults in the United States admits they don’t get enough sleep. Avoiding adequate sleep for a few days may not cause serious harm, but if you sleep less regularly, sooner or later it can lead to physical damage or neurological disorders.

Sleep deprivation: meaning, causes and symptoms

It is often recommended that healthy adults sleep between seven and nine hours a day. For children, the recommended amount of sleep falls between nine and 12 hours. Anyone who sleeps less than necessary to stay healthy, or whose sleep is disrupted to the point where it prevents them from getting the full sleep they need, may experience sleep deprivation, also known as sleep deprivation. of sleep or lack of sleep.

For busy people or those with irregular working hours, one of the reasons for not getting enough sleep may be that they cannot give sleep the necessary importance. Phyllis C. Zee, a professor of neurology at the Faculty of Medicine in Feinberg, Chicago, explains that when people have to stay awake and work under artificial lighting at night, their internal clock can break and behave as it does during the day. . This change can eventually lead to insomnia and reduced sleep hours.

Apart from those who choose to stay up late, there are a number of other key factors that can lead to sleep deprivation.

Late night office work sometimes becomes a necessity because there are deadlines you can’t afford to miss. However, if you develop the habit of working late at night, this can increase stress in the long run, reduce focus and lead to disorders such as anxiety, sleep apnea (abnormal pattern of breathing during sleep), etc.

Of course, many people have no choice when to work and are sometimes forced to work irregularly or on night shifts. Ppeople who work shifts or work irregularly (more than 20 million Americans work shifts) are many more likely to suffer from insomnia, SWSD (sleep disturbance when working shifts) and other sleep problems.

Research conducted by Tip for better sleep in 2019 suggests that the incidence of sleep deprivation is higher in those in lower income groups. In the study, more than 60% of Americans who admitted to not getting enough sleep were also stressed due to unstable financial conditions. People who earn less are also more likely to work shifts and have more than one job.

Those who suffer from health problems such as depression, insomnia, kidney or urinary problems, sleep apnea or indigestion can also suffer from sleep disorders. For these people, even if they sleep more than seven hours, they may not get quality sleep and thus wake up insecure.

Watching movies, news or TV late at night, drinking coffee or something caffeine-based products in excessive amounts, spending “all night” at school or attending events at night are just a few common lifestyle choices that can have a negative impact on our sleep.

Some of the most general symptoms of this type of occasional sleep deprivation are morning headaches and body aches, decreased attention span, irritation, daytime dizziness, dry mouth, severe snoring, mood swings, common cold and more.

How does sleep deprivation become dangerous in the long run?

Those who suffer from sleep deprivation from an early age are less likely to consult a medical professional early, as the initial symptoms of insomnia seem relatively normal and most people ignore them. However, the real health risks begin to appear when sleep deprivation persists for a long period of time and becomes chronic insomnia.

Some of the serious health risks that arise from chronic insomnia are the following:

During sleep, your blood pressure drops in a reaction called a “night drop.” Although it is not known exactly what causes this, according to some researchThe less you sleep, the better your chances of high blood pressure at night, and people who sleep six hours or less may have a sharper rise in blood pressure. In addition, if you already have high blood pressure, lack of sleep can make the situation worse. This not only puts extra strain on the heart, but also affects your body’s ability to maintain optimal blood sugar levels. potentially increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, cardiac arrest and other diseases.

Lack of sleep can cause thickening of the blood vessels, arteries and ventricles in the heart, which eventually leads to heart failure. Research published in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in 2017 also found that people suffering from sleep deprivation are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems than people who get enough sleep. Therefore, good sleep seems to be essential for keeping your heart and blood supply healthy.

According to recent study conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the sleep-wake cycle in our body, also known as the circadian rhythm, plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system. The production and release of antibodies and cytokines that regulate the immune response is carried out at optimal levels, if there is a minimal disturbance in our circadian rhythm. In addition, reduced sleep can have a negative effect on immune system functions such as leukocyte mobilization and T cell differentiation.

Lack of sleep is also associated with obesity. One reason may be that sleep is an important modulator of neuroendocrine function and glucose metabolism. Studies have shown that prolonged sleep loss can lead to changes in the metabolic and endocrine systems, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased cortisol levels and increased hunger and appetite. Chronic lack of sleep can also make people feel too tired to exercise.

Proper secretion of testosterone and growth hormones may also require sleep. These hormones are needed for very important physiological activities related to bone development, tissue repair and reproductive health. Developing the habit of not sleeping at night can lead to hormonal imbalance. So if you have health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, baldness or low sexual desire, sleep deprivation can make your situation worse.

Depression, anxiety, stress, memory loss (short and long term), bipolar mood disorder, schizophrenia, hallucinations and many other psychological diseases are found directly and indirectly related to the quality and timing of sleep.

REM sleep, in particular, can play an important role in maintaining mental health. During REM (fast eye movement) sleep, brain activity increases, your eyes move fast, and your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing speed up. This is also when you make the most of your dreams. REM sleep is important for learning and memory. REM cycles They are thought to be important for emotional well-being, as during sleep they allow your brain to efficiently process all the experiences you have had during the day. Thus tLack of enough REM sleep can be especially detrimental to consolidating positive emotional content.

Ways to overcome insomnia

The easiest way to avoid sleep deprivation is to sleep seven to eight hours a day, but many people, including those who suffer from physical or psychological problems, those who have to work irregular hours or shifts, teenagers or parents of newborns and young children, it can be difficult to achieve this.

However, sleep time is not the only thing to keep in mind when dealing with sleep deprivation. The quality of sleep also plays an important role in protecting you from sleep disorders. According to researchers, if you really sleep at least 85% of the total time you intend to sleep, so you have a good night’s sleep.

Here are some simple ways you can improve your sleep quality and reduce your risk of sleep deprivation:

  • Do not use your laptop, smartphone or other gadget, including TV, for at least two hours before bedtime (if not possible, avoid using them just before bedtime). This rule also applies when you wake up, so instead of updating your WhatsApp status when you wake up first, it may be better to do yoga, meditation or exercise. In fact, research also shows that some meditation techniques are very useful for improving the quality of sleep.
  • Setting a strict schedule for going to bed and waking up and actually following it (also on weekends) can help your body maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
  • According to Sleep FoundationIf you sleep regularly, duration is important. They suggest that about 10 minutes is considered the best nap duration. This allows you to take a quick break without falling asleep in slow waves, which can make you feel too bored after waking up. TThe time of day for a nap is also important. Most sleep experts recommend taking a nap no later than 2 p.m. This is because napping earlier leads to a combination of light and REM sleep, while napping after 14 hours tends to lead to slower sleep. If you feel that you feel difficult after 2, try exposure to bright light instead of a nap – this can have a similar energizing effect.
  • Try to avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages within six hours of sleep. Not surprisingly, many people have a habit of drinking coffee after meals, which is not a healthy practice at all, because it can adversely affect the process of absorption of minerals in the body. For quality sleep, health experts also recommend an interval of several hours between dinner and bedtime.
  • Like caffeine, drinking alcohol also reduces the quality and timing of sleep. Too much alcohol too close to bed can cause an imbalance in your body’s circadian rhythm.

These solutions may seem quite basic, but are very effective in treating sleep deprivation at an early stage. Applying these simple lifestyle rules can help you avoid chronic insomnia and some of the health risks associated with not getting enough sleep.

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