Sleep Disorders

Chronic sleep deprivation – How lack of sleep can eat your mind and body health

May times in a day we realize that we don’t find enough waking time to fulfill our daily needs and responsibilities.

Shift work, family and social responsibilities, long commutes and emails etc. eat up a lot of our waking hours and thus to have some leisure time, we cut down our sleep.

This loss of sleep of few hours piles up day after day ultimately making us sleep deprived.

Sleep deprivation have a lot of adverse effects of both, mind the body and if a person is not able to sleep enough for a long period of time (7 hours of sleep minimum every night), then the condition becomes chronic.

Sleep deprivation or sleep loss is a common condition today, affecting every one in three adults, both men and women alike.

Chronic sleep deprivation is a rare type of sleep disorder, as a result of which there are not much studies on it.

It is proven that if the condition persists for a longer period of time, then chronic sleep deprivation can lead to brain death and the person can die.

Well it is one of the ultimate outcomes of sleep deprivation. There are many disastrous effects which sleep disorders have on mental and physical health of a person. Some of them are listed as below.

How chronic sleep deprivation affects you?

Several studies have come up which link sleep deprivation and increase in blood pressure.

Especially if a person is suffering from hypertension or pre-hypertension and is not sleeping enough at night, then he is more prone to have high blood pressure which can result in various health problems in near future.

When you are tired and not having proper and sufficient sleep at night, then even the small tasks like grocery shopping or light walk after food seems to be a hefty task. This means sleep deprivation lowers your stress threshold and increase fatigue.

If you are deprived of sleep, then it becomes hard for you to remain alert and focused through the day. Loss of sleep leads to trouble in concentration and thus decreases performance.

In professions like pilot and surgeons, it is advisable to have proper sleep as they need to get up at any time and start the job.

Lack of sleep hinders in formation of memory and thus you suffer from impaired memory. Students who wake up late studying should actually sleep well at night to have a sharp memory and alertness throughout the day.

Sleep deprivation also tends to decrease optimism and sociability in a person. If you are not sleeping enough at night, you don’t feel like mixing with people much and feel lazy and less hopeful.

Sleep deprivation also affects the normal cognitive processes, thus decreasing ones potential of being creative and innovation both physically and emotionally.

Researchers say that chronic sleep deprivation might increase the risks of obesity in a person.

loss of sleep or not having quality sleep affect the food consuming mechanism of the body badly and thus increase constipation, food consumption, indigestion and similar types of health problems.

There are many factors that can result in risk of cardiac morbidity and sleep deprivation is proven to be one of them. Chronic condition leads to inflammation in veins that can cause serious heart related issues like heart stroke etc. in future.

In few case of chronic sleep deprivation, it is seen that poor sleep or less sleep for a long period of time leads to brain death. This decreases the life expectancy as a whole.

Diabetes, behavioral and neurological changes and reduced immunity are some of the other problems that occur if you are sleep deprived.

Apart from all the health issues caused due to sleep deprivation, the chance of work and road accidents increases. This is more common with people working in shifts or travelling overnight.

What makes you sleep deprived and things that worsen your condition

Sleep deprivation can be a result of many things like medication side effect, stress and anxiety, work load, unhealthy lifestyle, noisy and uncomfortable sleeping environment etc.

Some factors like stress and sleep feed on each other, which means if you are stress, you tend to sleep less and if you are spending more time awake, then you might suffer from hazards of stress.

Consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking, having excess of caffeinated drinks, eating unhealthy food, irregular sleeping schedule etc. are the things that worsen the loss of sleep in a person.

It is very important for a person to maintain a normal body clock, in order to maintain a harmony between body and mind.

For this purpose, sleep is a vital requirement just like food, water and air. Taking prompt medical advice is a wise choice, before your acute sleep deprivation turns into a chronic condition.

Chronic sleep deprivation

Treating chronic sleep deprivation

If sleep deprivation is a common sleep disorder today, its treatment is also simple. Your mantra should be to sleep more.

A normal human being needs an average sleep of six to seven hours per night, although this need of sleep changes with the kind of work a person does and age.

But sometimes it is difficult for a person to sleep due to his hectic schedule or some other reason.

In such case, it is important that you feel the important of it and remind yourself that rest is equally needed for proper functioning of the body, both inside and outside.

There are a number of methods and treatments used for combating chronic sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders.

They not only help in sleeping for the required hours but also improve the quality of sleep.

Meditation, yoga, exercise, balance diet, healthy lifestyle and fixed eating and sleeping times are few things one can do to sleep well.

There are several herbal and Ayurvedic medications available which aid in sleeping properly.

Also there are few over the counter pills available which should be taken only after medical prescription.

In order to bring the back the rhythm of body’s natural clock, one must maintain a diary.

One must write down the total number of hours he sleeps and time when he sleeps normally. Also creating a fixed schedule is helpful.

You should go to bed at the same time daily and wake up early. Before getting back to your normal day to day routine, exercise or do yoga for sometime which will energies your body and senses.

Other methods like acupuncture and aromatherapy are also helpful in treating cases with sleep deprivation.

For chronic sleep deprivation, hypnotism is one method which is also used. When a person is not able to sleep for long, then a skilled hypnotist creates an atmosphere and conscious in a person externally that’s triggers sleep in him.

Professionally trained and certified hypnotists are allowed to conduct such an activity in special clinics or at the patients place.

This practice involves the use of certain techniques and energies that instigates another person’s mind to relax and go into the state of sleep.

In many cases, sleep hypnosis is conducted by professional although one can try out self hypnosis and train your mind to fall asleep on its own.

In some ancient schools of medicine, there are certain techniques like reiki etc. which consider that any trouble in the energy system surrounding a human body triggers illness and thus must be harmonized.

By balancing the energy levels, one can treat any problem, both physically and mentally including sleep deprivation.

Apart from these methods and treatments, it is important to have a soothing and comfortable environment for sleep.

Make sure that your sleep is not disturbed by any external disturbance or heat fluctuations.

For this try to keep your room well ventilated and lighted during day time and dark while you are sleeping.

You may use room fresheners or aroma or natural essential oils that create a sleep inducing environment.

This will help you sleep properly and even increase your knack to sleep. Avoid watching television or working on laptop while on bed.

This will simply distract you from your sleep zone and you will land you waking late at night.

Conclusion

Sleep is still a topic of debate for many and its connection with a health well being still required more and more proofs and studies.

But there is no denial in the fact, that if you don’t sleep well, you are vulnerable to be mentally and physically weak and ill.

You may not come to know what your body and mind are doing during sleep time, but they are still functioning to maintain your health and life.

So, if you are one of those, who consider sleep as a time waste and want to work instead of sleeping at night, think again.

You might put yourself to a danger of getting chronically deprived of sleep and thus suffer from various health issues.

References

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/important-sleep-habits

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/12/how-sleep-deprivation-decays-the-mind-and-body/282395/

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