Are You Sleep Deprived?

Are You Sleep Deprived?

More and more research is pointing to lack of sleep as one of the reasons for the onset of several diseases. That sleep is rejuvenating, is a well known fact. There is nothing like a perfect night’s sleep, to kick start another day’s work.

Symptoms for lack of sleep

• Tendency to commit mistakes
• Increased feeling of irritation
• Friction between husband and wife
• Ill-natured towards the children
• Feeling of drowsiness
• Decreased reaction times
• Increased risk for accidents while driving
• Poor decision making capacity
• Decreased performance levels
• Finding fault with others
• Picking unnecessary and unwanted quarrels
• Decreased immune function
• Impaired memory
• Weight increase and obesity
• Acquiring hypertension(2) and diabetes(3)

Reasons for lack of sleep

Insomnia is a term associated with the condition of disturbed sleep. While there are several causes for disturbances in sleep pattern, some of them are man-made. For example, some people have a tendency to stay up late at night. On top of that, you have to wake up early for the next day schedule. This means that you will be sleep deprived. Some other reasons for lack of sleep are:

• Restless legs syndrome
• Sleep apnea
• Depression
• Polyuria associated with diabetes
• Hormonal changes as in menopause
• Disturbances in circadian rhythm as in jet lag
• Eating just before going to bed
• Exercising just before bed time
• Intake of caffeine before bed time (Drinking coffee)
• Sleeping in the presence of bright light

It is generally agreed that people need to sleep between seven and eight hours every day. The maximum amount of time spent in deep sleep is called the core sleep. This is the time when you are not aware of your surroundings. The period of core sleep varies from individual to individual, but is essential for normal health. The sleepiness gradually wears off as the period of core sleep is crossed. Generally, it is good if you wake up at least thirty minutes after the core sleep. Studies have shown that too little sleep or too much sleep can be deleterious to health(2,4). Research has shown that either of these two habits can lead to increase in abdominal fat(4) . This can also increase the risk for acquiring cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Optimum sleep is invigorating. Too little sleep or too much sleep is debilitating.

Producing ideal conditions for sleep

A tired body produces good sleep. On the other hand, too tired a body can produce only disturbed sleep. If you eat just before going to bed, your level of sleep will not be satisfactory. Good bed room environment produces good sleep. But, we pay little attention to such matters. Even the height of the pillow can influence the way we sleep. Night lamps play an important role in sleep. Too bright a light can be disturbing. Recent research also shows that sleeping in the presence of light can lead to weight gain because of disturbances in melatonin secretion. Reading a book is the best sleeping pill one can come across. The most important thing is to have a clear mind. After all, the sleep center is located in the brain. Family feuds before bed time or carrying worries from the workplace to the bed, is not going to help the cause of good sleep. The best policy is to forget the past and to look forward to a rosier tomorrow. Sleep will automatically embrace you.

References:

1. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep:National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm. Last updated:May 21, 2007 Accessed on: Feb 23, 2011

2.Gottlieb DJ, Redline S, Nieto FJ et al.Association of usual sleep duration with hypertension: the Sleep Heart Health Study.Sleep. 2006 Aug 1;29(8):1009-14.

3. Gottlieb DJ, Punjabi NM, Newman AB. et al.Association of sleep time with diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance.Arch Intern Med. 2005 Apr 25;165(8):863-7.

4.Chaput JP, Després JP, Bouchard C et al.The association between sleep duration and weight gain in adults: a 6-year prospective study from the Quebec Family Study.Sleep. 2008 Apr 1;31(4):517-23.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2011
Written by Vangeepuram Satakopan
Partially Revised by Syed K.Haque, MD
Originally published at http://www.ihafs.org/2011/02/sleep-deprived/