Sleep Disorders are More Damaging than we Realize
Domlur, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
Sleep is always considered a crucial part of healthy lifestyle and a good sleep is related to our working ability, But when we feel pressed for time it is also one of the first thing to go. Poor and insufficient sleep can gradually result into various physical and psychological problems. Some of the common consequences include a bad mood, fatigue and lack of focus. Poor sleep also gives rise to various immunological and long-term health complications such as blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac problems, etc.
Sufficient sleep is as important and as required as food and air. A healthy life is incomplete without a normal 7-8 hours of sleep. After a long and tiring day we all need an uninterrupted sleep to start fresh and full of energy next day. While sleeping our body undergoes various metabolic and hormonal changes which help to maintain immunity of the body and play a major role in a disease free lifestyle. People give up sleep for a number of reasons, which if continued for long can alter the functioning of body and mind and lead to various complications.
Insufficient sleep tends to make the person drowsy and moody the following day. Sleep deprivation affects the memory power and makes the person dependent on caffeine. Even the effects of alcohol are magnified and lower the quality of life. According to research most of the marriages are unsuccessful due to problems related to insufficient sleep. Lack of sleep can affect sexual life as well as the drowsiness the following day can show negative impact on the marital relationship. With the increasing competition in the new scenario people prefer their work to their health, but are not aware of the negative impacts this will leave on their life.
According to experts a person should sleep for 7-8 hours a day. An uninterrupted sleep helps an individual to relieve the day’s stress and tiredness, and also improve the mental and physical health. Our sleep can be affected by many medical, psychological and environmental factors. A contemporary lifestyle and work- related factors are also among the common causes of sleep deprivation. Because of today’s fast forward and busy lifestyle people extend their working hours by cutting down on sleeping time. Sleep deprivation can lead to many chronic health issues. Knowing these health complications can help you to overcome a sleep problem and lead a healthier life.
The consequences of your being sleep deprived can include the following:
- Visual impairments – The retina of a sleep deprived person looses the ability to form clear and accurate vision. Sleep deprivation also results in double vision and tunnel vision. The condition of prolonged wakefulness can gradually affect the centre of the visual field which can be accompanied by other visual impairments and a feeling of hallucination.
- Metabolic alterations – When asleep our body exudes various chemicals/ hormones to control appetite, glucose breakdown and processing, and energy metabolism. Lack of sleep alters the metabolic mechanism of the body and induces hormonal imbalance. Sleep deficit person tends to produce a high level of stress hormone CORTISOL and the glucose regulating hormone INSULIN. Elevated insulin levels are associated with fat storage and weight gain and increases the risk factors for diabetes. People who sleep less than 4 hours have less leptin and more ghrelin (hunger stimulating hormone) production in their body which further leads to overeating and gradually obesity.
- Psychological or mood disorders – a sleep deprived person will feel irritated and will experience mood swings most of the time. If sleepless nights continue from days to weeks, weeks to months, it may become chronic and may result in depression, memory loss and other types of mental disorders. People may also tend to get sad, angry, depressed and mentally exhausted. Sleep deprived individuals may also lack social skills. Once an individual gets back to a normal sleep routine, these self reported symptoms may improve.
- Cardiovascular problems and hypertension – sleepless nights can pump up the blood pressure level which is associated with various cardiac complications and heart stroke. Cardiovascular disorders can also be caused by increase in weight. According to researchers from a reputed institute sleep deprivation can lead to hypertension as well as decrease the body’s ability to repair the blood vessels.
- Immunological complications – our body produces infection fighting antibodies in sleeping mode which help to protect our body from foreign substances. Lack of sleep deteriorates the protecting ability of the immune system and makes the body more prone to illness.
- Diabetes – according to studies sleep deprivation can affect the glucose production of the body and gradually lead to Type 2 diabetes. However, the effects of diabetes can be decreased by getting back to normal sleeping habit.
- Respiratory problems – since lack of sleep weakens the immune system of the body, the entry of foreign substances is not resisted and the body gets prone to common cold, influenza and other types of respiratory problems.
- Brain related complications – sleep relaxes our body and helps to get rid of day long stress. It also boosts up the functioning ability of the brain. In children growth hormones as well as the cell repair proteins are produced while sleeping. The ability to think and concentrate can be affected by insufficient sleep. It also contributes to short term as well as long term memory loss.
Sometimes the following complications can be seen
- Sleep deprivation of more than 24 hours can affect the ability to differentiate various types of smells.
- The ability to focus or concentrate is impaired when awake for more than 72 hours. An insomniac person will be less innovative and may lose the thinking and decision making skills. The work accuracy, effectiveness and performance can steadily decrease with an increase in the waking hours.
- Sleep deprivation alters skin characteristics.