In today’s world of workaholism and hustle, a good night’s sleep can take a backseat. Lack of sleep can cause problems in the workplace, classroom when driving, and in social situations. You may find it difficult to pay attention, learn, and respond. It may also be difficult for you to assess the feelings and responses of others. Lack of sleep might also make you irritable, grumpy, or anxious around other people. Lack of sleep is associated with several chronic health issues, such as depression, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. Not getting enough sleep can drain one’s mental abilities and put physical health at risk too.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Physical Health
If you’ve ever had a restless night, you can anticipate feeling exhausted, irritable, and uneasy the following day. Everything becomes difficult and you just can’t be present enough during the day on your day-to-day tasks. However, getting less sleep than the suggested 7 to 9 hours per night does more than just leave you feeling lethargic and fatigued. Being drowsy during the day can also increase your risks of accidents and injuries from other causes. If you sleep for less than five hours a night, your risk for High Blood pressure increases. A lack of sleep can also affect your body’s release of insulin, a blood sugar-lowering hormone thereby increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes. People who don’t get enough sleep often have lower libido which lowers the sex drive of an individual. In men, this deceased sex drive is due to lowered testosterone levels. The body’s balance is also affected by a poor quality of sleep. Less sleep can increase the cortisol levels in the body and impact your brain and body immensely. Lack of sleep inhibits the immune system’s ability to strengthen itself. Your body may not be able to fight off intruders and recovery from disease may take longer if you don’t get enough sleep.
Effects of poor sleep on Mental Health
Your body’s primary information highway is your central nervous system. It needs proper sleep to stay healthy, but long-term insomnia can interfere with the normal transmission and processing of information in your body. Your brain’s neurons build connections during sleep that aid in the retention of newly learned knowledge. Your brain becomes fatigued from sleep deprivation and is unable to function well. Sleep deprivation can cause mood swings and irritation. It can affect you emotionally. A tired brain finds it hard to process emotions. If sleep deprivation continues long enough, you could start having hallucinations — seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. Other psychological risks include depression, anxiety, impulsive behaviors, suicidal thoughts, and mania.
Microsleep episodes can be very dangerous
Additionally, you can find yourself experiencing microsleep during the day. You may nod off for a few to several seconds throughout these episodes without realizing it. Microsleep is uncontrollable and can be very hazardous when driving. If you experience a microsleep episode while working with heavy machinery, it may further increase your risk of harm.
Getting your sleep schedule under control
The most basic form of sleep deprivation treatment is getting an adequate amount of sleep, typically 7 to 9 hours each night. This is frequently easier said than done, particularly after missing many weeks or more of essential sleep. After this, your physician or a sleep specialist may be able to assist you. They can identify and treat any potential sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea, Narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, and circadian rhythm disorder are some of the major sleep disorders. Getting enough sleep is the best defense against sleep loss. Generally speaking, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should abide by the 7 to 9-hour recommendation for your age group. Limiting daytime nap, avoiding caffeine after 5 pm, less screen time before bed, journaling your thoughts and emotions before bed, gentle movements during the day or right before bed, simple exercises during the day, going to bed, and waking up at the same time each day can all help you create a good sleep schedule which will improve your circadian rhythm.
By: Gursharan Kaur