Lack of Sleep-Effects
Lack of sleep will lead to serious problems for your overall health. Let us take an in-depth look of its side effects, symptoms, causes and treatment.
Most people tend to overlook what their body has been signaling especially when it comes to sleep and pay no heed in getting enough sleep. Constant lack of sleep brings serious risk on the body’s optimum health. Healthy eating and regular exercise are not the only factors that will make a person healthy. Getting enough sleep at least 7 to 8 hours per day is also needed for optimum health. Unfortunately, most adults only get less than 6 hours of sleep every day for a wide variety of reasons. Let us consider the implications of sleep deprivations on your overall well being.
Side Effects of Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation has serious effects on your brain, body and memory. Let us consider each one of them.
* On the Brain
The body requires enough sleep in order to revitalize certain organs especially the brain which is the center of all bodily functions, hence, it must be well-rested for optimum performance. Constant lack of sleep will result to improper functioning of neurons in the cerebral cortex which impede cognitive skills suspending routine performance. Hence, sleep is vital in the proper development of the brain and enhancing the memory. Among the side effects of lack of sleep for the brain include depression, head injury, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
* On the Body
Study reveals that sleep deprivation reduces hand-and-eye coordination. It also affects the weight changes of your body by altering hormonal balances as well as disturbs leptin and ghrelin levels making you feel starved and discontented with what you consume, leading to drastic weight gain. Moreover, your mental health is also affected; this is characterized by reduced mental alertness which eventually leads to insomnia. No wonder sleep deprivation is closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease and Diabetes Type 2. Other side effects of sleep deprivation on the body are mood swings, clumsiness and decrease of sexual urge. And sleep deprived individuals are often absentminded and feel agitated.
* On the Memory
Getting enough sleep is essential in building stronger memories. Hence, it would be much easier for you to remember the concepts or skills you’ve learned if you have fallen asleep quickly subsequent to learning them. But the memory of sleep deprived individuals will most likely degenerate everyday. Long-term effects include impaired vision, obesity, mental impairment, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, depression as well as psychological and relationship problems. Other side effects of inadequate sleep include poor concentration, anxiety and poor immune system.
Symptoms and Signs of Lack of Sleep
Now, let us consider various symptoms due to lack of sleep.
* Common symptoms of sleep deprivation include watery eyes and heavy eyelids. They even tend to sore somewhat, prickling the eyes.
* Excessive yawning and feeling very tired are other symptoms of sleep deprivation. Sufferers may face irritable mood swings and significantly poor concentration while chronic lack of sleep will manifest symptoms of blurred vision, headaches and dizziness.
* Since it affects the memory, then memory problems are ascertained which are very common among college students.
* Decreased reaction time and body ache are also felt among sufferers bringing about extreme bodily fatigue resulting to nightmares and hallucinations. Blood pressure also increases due to inadequate sleep distinguished by trembling of hands.
* Weight gain is the most prevalent symptom of sleep deprivation closely linked to obesity.
Causes of Lack of Sleep
Medical disorders can cause lack of sleep such as insomnia, menopause and other undiagnosed medical disease. In most cases, sheer bodily pain inhibits an individual from sleeping followed by the manifestations of sleep deprivation symptoms. Psychological factors also play a role in causing sleep deprivation such as anxiety, jet lag, depression, worry, stress and nervousness. Psychological conditions or disorders can also cause lack of sleep like Bruxism, sleepwalking and delayed sleep phase disorder. Those who have irregular sleeping and waking pattern are often the victims of developing psychological disorders. Other causes of sleep deprivation include heavy consumption of recreational drugs and alcohol; excessive consumption of caffeine and nightmares every night; depression and mental disorder; medication side effects, narcolepsy as well as personal and lifestyle habits.
Can you die from lack of sleep?
Many insomnia patients worry about dying from lack of sleep. There was an experiment conducted in rats in 1989, which showed total sleep deprivation for seven to fourteen days lead to their death. The longest record, medically documented for a person who has gone without sleep is Randy Gardner, a 17 year old San Diego student who stayed awake for 11 days for rehearsing for a dance competition, back in 1964. The ill-effects that he suffered were sleepiness, after the dance. He slept for 14 hours after the show and was completely recovered
However, this is an example of sleep deprivation which is different from insomnia. Sleep deprivation is when your body or mind does not get enough rest to sleep or function properly. Insomnia is problems related to getting or staying asleep at least for one month. The two may look similar but it is not always the case. Insomniacs can also experience sleep deprivation .
Though lack of sleep does not directly lead to death, it can put you at risk of other serious medical ailments that can increase mortality risk. Consistently sleeping for less than six hours has been linked to loss of concentration, poor hand eye co-ordination and loss of memory
Treatment for Sleep Deprivation ( Lack of Sleep )
Lack of sleep can be treated in numerous ways depending on the underlying cause as well as the seriousness of the condition and their effectiveness differs with every person. Here are some ways of treating sleep deprivation.
* Physical activity
Engaging is some form of strenuous physical activity like enrolling in a gym greatly helps in getting a good night’s sleep.
* Sleep Diary
This effectively helps in figuring out the reason behind your troubles of getting sleep and a specialist will be able to find the best treatment that suits you best.
* Pre-sleep Preparation
Light dinner, a glass of warm milk, water or wine helps in getting good sleep. Some even take a warm shower which also helps in getting better sleep.
* Lifestyle Change
Look for ways to de-stress yourself as well as eat healthy. Avoid heavy consumption of intoxicants and alcohol and exercise regularly.
Really then, lack of sleep is curable and with earnest effort and determination, success is ascertained.