SLEEP DERPRIVATION AND ITS IMPACT ON HEALTH
In simple terms, Sleep Deprivation means not getting sufficient amount of sleep which may occur due to numerous reasons: from physical illness to mental imbalance, to stress or lifestyle changes. Our generation is becoming chronically sleep deprived due to technological developments and busy life styles.
Most of the people don’t realize that sleep is equally important for the normal functioning of human body as well as mind, as food and water. A sleepless night can make us restless in the morning and can hamper our daily activities.
Getting enough sleep during bedtime helps our body relax and also helps us coping with stress of daily routined work and personal life. An adult human needs an average of seven to nine hours of sleep to keep the body function normally.
The causes of sleep deprivation are many. Some of them are :
Life style changes/ Habits – In order to stay awake during work or studies, people are in habit of consuming copious amounts of caffeine ( Tea/Coffee) or other supplements, throughout the day or during night also. They are not aware of the serious consequences of this as it can make them deprived of sleep.
Medical Conditions – Some medical conditions can cause sleep deprivation like:
Sleep apnea – A condition in which breathing stops repeatedly during night leading to disturbed sleep.
Restless legs syndrome – It is tingling sensation in the legs relieved by walking around.
Sleep disorders – some of them are walking in sleep, talking in sleep or night terrors.
Drugs – Certain drugs are capable of keeping the person taking it, awake.
Not getting adequate sleep affects our normal lifestyle and daily activities and has serious impact on health as well.
Drowsiness – We would feel drowsy and lazy throughout the day.
Low immunity –Poor sleep leads to reduced T-cells that helps fight diseases. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep at night are more prone to catch infections like common cold.
Poor performance at work – Resulting from poor concentration which causes lack of coordination and results into low productivity.
Prone to accidents due to concentration problem.
Quality of life is hampered.
Diabetes – Studies have shown that people who sleep for few hours are more likely to have diabetes type 2.
Loss of memory and attention deficit disorder, hand tremors, migraine, weight gain or loss, fibromyalgia, increased level of stress hormones, REM etc are just a few to name.
Sleep deprivation can cause more serious impairments to life and can even lead to death if prolonged.
How do we come to know that we are sleep deprived? If somebody comes across such symptoms then it is a warning signal that the person is facing this problem.
Tiredness throughout the day, irritability, snaps at anyone even at most trivial things, unable to concentrate, fatigue, frequently getting ill, appetite changes etc.
But with little effort the person can prevent oneself from the adverse effects of sleep deprivation.
Taking proper diet and avoiding tea and coffee in excess, eating light in dinner, consuming lots of fruits and drinking a plenty of fluids.
Another way is by taking full rest and relaxing before bedtime. One should avoid watching TV at night as it keeps the brain stimulated for hours after.
Playing one’s favourite soft music. Taking a warm and soothing bath may help in falling asleep at night.
Regular massage helps relieve the tensed nerves and tight muscles.
Exercise daily for atleast 20 minutes everyday as it releases stress relieving hormone and reduces anxiety and tension.
Engaging oneself in some creative activity can be of great help like painting,Gardening, learning music or dance, in free time.