Sleep deprivation is known as the overall lack of amount of sleep necessary for the body.
Sleep is described as a stage wherein a person is unconscious and can be aroused. Sleep is different from coma. Just like sleep, the person is on an unconscious state; however, the person cannot in any way be aroused. Sleep is very important. This helps the body to function normally and stay healthy. The sleep phenomenon is very complicated.
Sleep is a dynamic process. It is during sleep wherein the human brain is very active. Sleep may affect both mental and physical health, and is important for the body systems to function normally. It is also important for the function of the immune system. Sleep can affect the body’s ability to endure sickness and fight against different diseases.
Sleep deprivation may be similar to insomnia, wherein the body doesn’t get the necessary amount of sleep. It can be caused by different factors such as: emotional, physical, and mental factors. The effects may differ from simple sleepiness to a more serious case such as death. In most cases, people tend to not care about being sleep deprived as it may not affect their lives at the disease’s early stage. However, over time, it may get worse and may be life-threatening.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
Different factors such as medications, diseases, substance abuse can cause sleep disorders that may contribute to the development of sleep deprivation. In most cases, stress is the cause of the disease. People who are stressed find it difficult to sleep. On the other hand, the lack of sleep may also lead to stress. From time to time, the brain and body needs time to regenerate. However, stressful situations may make the body to forget to take a break, even when the body is very exhausted from the day’s activities.
Substance abuse and alcohol is another common cause of the disease. Drugs such as stimulants and symptoms of drug withdrawals have been known to cause sleep disorders. The effects of these substances may vary from one person to another, which results to difficulty determining the substance’s impact on sleep.
Another cause of sleep disruption of sleep is smoking. It may reduce a person’s total number of sleeping hours. Studies have shown that people who are smoking are more likely to experience daytime drowsiness compared to nonsmokers.
A common overlooked cause of sleep deprivation is diet. A well-balanced diet is important when it comes to sleep and overall health. It is essential to avoid foods high in sugar and oil, and consume more whole grains, lean proteins, and vegetables and fruits. A healthy diet helps provide nutrients to the body especially to the brain, which is responsible in performing various organizational tasks. An unhealthy diet may result to obesity, which results to diseases including sleep problems. Energy drinks, cola, chocolate, tea, and coffee also may lead to poor sleep.
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Sleeping less may cause different health problems and accidents which may even lead to death. In fact, survey have shown that hundreds of thousands of car crashes happen every year due to drowsy driving, which eventually leads to thousands of deaths and injuries.
The lack of sleep may not just affect a person’s work performance. It may even result to losing the chance of having a promotion, or losing the job. Furthermore, a workplace that involves operating complicated machines, motorized vehicles, or heavy machinery may lead to more danger. A sleep deprived person may lose focus at the workplace, which may result to serious injuries and even death.
Sleep is essential to keep a person refreshed and well rested, especially deep sleep. Individuals who don’t get enough sleep may become irritable and depressed, which may later lead to relationship difficulties. Furthermore, severe depression could lead to suicidal thoughts.
A major problem around the world today is obesity. This disorder causes a lot of problems including strokes and heart attacks, leading to premature death. The most common cause of obesity is poor eating habits. However, sleep deprivation may also be a factor. Loss of sleep may contribute to an increase in appetite and eventually, weight gain.
Diabetes is a disease associated with high blood sugar levels. It may lead to complications such as: renal diseases, strokes, heart attacks, and blindness. Certain studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to develop diabetes mellitus.
Management of Sleep Deprivation
The only cure for sleep deprivation is to sleep or treat the underlying cause. It is important to have each day at least 4 to 8 hours of sleep. Power naps is also encouraged. Power naps may involve at least 20 to 90 minutes of sleep. Naps may help increase a person’s performance.
People with sleep deprivation are discouraged from taking in stimulants such as coffee. The use of tranquilizers, antihistamines, and alcohol to achieve sleep is also discouraged due to risk of dependence. Patients dependent to these substances may have difficulty sleeping without taking any of these drugs.