How Sleep Deprivation Affects Our Health
All people experience a time when they feel that they cannot go to sleep. There is a ton of ideas, thoughts and processes happening inside their minds all at once that it hampers their ability to go to sleep quickly. This experience is called sleep deprivation. Some people can’t even sleep for days due to this.
We all know that sufficient sleep is essential so that we can perform our daily task efficiently without any instances of feeling tired or sleepy. Having enough quality sleep will not just make our performance more effective during our daily tasks. It also helps protect our mental health by enabling our brains to function effectively and consistently. Sleep helps us having stable emotional health and prevents any mood swings. Also, sleeping keeps our body healthy by replenishing lost energy and maintaining bodily functions.
Let us know first what is sleep deprivation. Its causes, effects, and ways we can avoid this.
Sleep Deprivation is Insufficient Sleep
Yep, you read it right, and sleep deprivation is primarily the lack of sleep. It might be mild, like it only happen once, or even chronic, where it occurs like for days, or even weeks. There are symptoms that you can see on a sleep-deprived person. Such as not getting enough sleep, harder to get to sleep and gets only a few hours of sleep (usually not reaching the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep). Sometimes sleeping during or in between tasks and not in sync with the body’s natural clock and or having a particular disorder like sleep apnea.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
There are a lot of things that can cause sleep deprivation; the most common ones are:
- Commitments, especially for study or work – People who are working in different shifts can experience sleep deprivation to their ever-changing work schedules. Sometimes involves working on even graveyard shifts and working during the day every other week. Even studying until late at night or early morning and waking up early to go to school can disrupt a student’s sleep pattern.
- Disregarding proper sleep due to other factors – Factors like excessive playing of computer games. Sometimes even playing computer games for almost 20 hours regularly. Or staying late at night in casinos and bars can also cause sleep deprivation.
- Environmental conditions and sleeping habits – Environmental conditions like humidity, temperature, the noise level of the place, and also brightness can affect one’s sleep. Habits before sleeping like drinking coffee and energy drinks, or watching movies for some before going to bed, can also make them take a long time to go to sleep.
- Insomnia and other Illnesses – Insomnia is a condition where people have a hard time going to sleep at night. A lot of factors contribute to this illness, such as anxiety or taking in medications. Insomnia affects up to 33 percent of the world’s adult population. And Insomnia is one of the leading causes of sleep deprivation. Other illnesses such as sleep apnea can also be the cause of lack of sleep.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
The general effect of Sleep Deprivation is to make one’s body lethargic and ineffective during different tasks they do daily. Lack of sleep weakens their body’s immune system, making their body prone to diseases and illnesses. And it also takes them a long time to recover from it. It also reduces one’s body weight due to sleep deprivation that affects appetite. It also affects our moods, making us susceptible to being easily irritated, losing focus and easily gets distracted during work. Thus, it makes us forgetful and also affects our motivation. And lastly, lack of sleep can also affect our sex drive.
Ways to Avoid Sleep Deprivation
There are a lot of ways that can combat sleep deprivation, most common ones are:
- Have time to take a nap whenever possible.
- Go to bed earlier than usual, let’s say 2 hours before your usual sleeping time.
- Clear your mind before going to sleep, like avoiding using your mobile phone or watching movies before sleeping.
- Stop drinking too much alcohol or other sedatives like Valium and Nyquil.
- Stop drinking coffee or anything with caffeine before going to sleep. The best to minimize its consumption overall.
Following these steps will gradually bring back your natural sleeping cycle, and will give you enough sleep to last throughout the day, whatever the activity is.
Sleep is essential to keep our body healthy and to fulfill any task we face every day. Disregarding this is like ignoring your health and your body’s ability to work. Sometimes, we cannot avoid to stay late at night or to have a night of insufficient sleep. So the best way to combat this is to prepare for it like getting enough sleep beforehand. And also get enough rest afterward, so that your body can regain its lost energy, while not disrupting your sleeping pattern.