The Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation Part 1

Do You Just Think you Need More Sleep?
Sleep deprivation

What causes sleep deprivation? Well, pain can be a contributor for one; but did you know that your belief system can play a role as well?

How much sleep you think you need actually influences the length of time you spend in bed. So if you believe that you need 8 hrs of sleep, but really only need 6, you might end up tossing and turning for up to 2 hrs.

You’ll think you’re dealing with sleep deprivation, but it’s really that you’re just in bed longer than you need to be. So if that’s true, what about the opposite?

In other words, can we trick our brain into thinking we had a good nights rest when we really didn’t? And if so, how? But if we make ourselves believe we slept well, will we still get the same benefits as if we really did?

So, how’s that for an intriguing train of thought?

And is that all there really is to it? Unfortunately no,  there are other causes for this crippling problem.

Next, we’ll take a closer look at these.

Good Sleep Bad Sleep

First of all, what exactly is the reason for sleep anyway? Well, simply put, sleep is our bodies way of renewing and replenishing itself. And too little sleep can be just as bad as too much.

There’s a healthy balance between wake time and sleep time, although this balance isn’t the same for everyone. However, we’ll be focusing on too little sleep here.

Incidentally, we talk about the lack of sleep, but not about too much wake time. The focus is on the amount of sleep, not the amount of wake. Apparently, sleep deprivation is more critical than being awake too much.

So, what happens to us when we don’t get enough sleep? Most importantly, it puts our body into stress mode. And good stress can turn bad.

However, your brain takes a direct hit.

Your Brain on Sleep

As we now know, our brains are quite actively performing various functions while we sleep. And there are four different sleep stages we go through.

To begin with, we all need a certain percent of sleep in each stage. Notice I didn’t say ‘amount’ of sleep; as there’s an important difference. Because while we all need highly individual lengths of sleep time; we all require the same percent of time in each stage of sleep.

For example, the following shows how much of each stage we need.

One 4-5%; Two 45-55%; Three 16-21%; REM 20-25%.

Now, there are 2 stages that play key roles in the maintenance of both memory and mood. Specifically, stage 3 (slow wave sleep), and REM (rapid eye movement).

So, let’s look a closer look at these.

In particular, slow wave sleep (SWS) is important for memory consolidation. Therefore, not getting enough SWS will cause memory problems.

Additionally, in a study of a group of men 65 yrs of age and older, an increased risk of high blood pressure was associated with a decrease in stage 3 (slow wave), and an increase in stages 1 & 2.

And in fact, the time spent in stage 3 was inversely proportional to the number of men with high blood pressure.

On the other hand, REM sleep is essential for mood management. But because emotions play a huge part in memory recall, REM sleep also improves memory.

So some of your moodiness and forgetfulness can be a result of lack of REM sleep as well.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation increases blood pressure, impairs human functioning overall, but negatively affects mood most of all.

You might think that depression and/or anxiety are causing your sleep problem. When in reality poor quality sleep might be the cause of your depression and/or anxiety.

In fact, a study found that people with insomnia are more likely to become depressed than those who have better sleep.

Also, more women than men suffer insomnia.

Sleep deprivation also:

  • Reduces your ability to hold a meaningful conversation.
  • Changes your eating habits.
  • Can make you more apt to make bad choices.
  • Causes you to be more vulnerable to infections.

Therefore, it’s critical that we get enough sleep. But there’s more to the story. I’ve previously addressed the role Cortisol plays in stress. Next, I’ll introduce two new players to the field.

However, There’s so much information, and I don’t want to leave anything valuable out. So, I’ve decided to continue this next week.

At that time, I’ll talk more about your gut health; as well as some natural treatment options.

Till then, blessings…

And please add any comments or questions you might have.

P.S. I offer a sincere apology to those I told I would have this info published this week; I just didn’t realize the amount of information that needed to be added.

 To Be Continued…

 

 

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