What Is Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is a lack of sufficient sleep and its effects can be felt from just one night of sleeping badly. Chronic insomnia can have long-term adverse effects on your cognitive functions but just one night of bad sleep is enough to upset your rhythms.
What Are the Signs of Sleep Deprivation?
Not sleeping at least 7-9 hours per night can result in you not functioning to the best of your ability the following day. Your reactions are slower, you take longer to finish tasks, and your mood can be despondent. You will experience day time fatigue, forgetfulness and a feeling of grogginess.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation?
- Feeling extreme fatigue during the day
- Difficulty in learning new things
- Craving high sugar foods
What Are the Causes of Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation can be caused by many factors, internal and external. You could be trying to sleep in an unfamiliar environment, you could be suffering a stressful situation, working a different schedule, you could be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, or you could be sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress that has you tossing and turning all night.
How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Me?
Quality sleep is crucial to our physical health and mental wellbeing. During sleep, your body is repairing itself, storing long term memories, building muscle, and storing energy for the following day’s activities.
Not getting enough rest disturbs your body’s natural processes and puts a strain on your central nervous system by limiting information pathways between your brain and nerve cells. Without sleep, your brain and body become exhausted and are unable to function well.
Your daytime coordination suffers, you become moody, withdrawn, and crave junk food. Your emotional and mental state is affected and you may be more susceptible to catching colds and flu at this time because your immune system is suffering too.
A lack of sleep over a prolonged period can cause hallucinations. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder are at risk of developing mania due to prolonged lack of sleep.
How to Relax and Sleep Better
- Meditation and breathing exercises
- Removing electronic devices from your bedroom and not using a phone or laptop for one hour before bed
- Take a bubble bath or warm shower before bed
- Improve and stick to a sleep hygiene routine
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy could help to strengthen positive thoughts to bring a more constant sleep pattern
- Exercise during the day to promote physical and mental wellbeing
- Make sure your sleep setup promotes restorative sleep—for example, you may need to replace your mattress if your current one doesn't provide ample support and causes discomfort, soreness, or pain
Sleep is as vital to our needs as food, water, and shelter. Dreaming is an essential part of the sleep structure that assists in storing long term memories and helps to improve our cognitive abilities.
Sleep deprivation studies have shown those who go without sleep have high blood pressure, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, fewer antibodies to find off viruses and can develop insulin resistance. Chronic insomnia could lead to heart disease, obesity, and stroke.
Finding a way to manage stress will go a long way in aiding your sleep health, enjoy some fresh air, spend more time doing activities that bring you joy, and don’t feel guilty about sleeping in on Sundays, that’s what they were made for!
Disclaimer: Nolah does not provide medical advice. All resources on the Nolah blog, including this article, are informational only and do not replace professional medical counsel. Talk to your doctor about any health, mental health, or sleep-related issues.
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