In the modern day, as work place pressures keep on increasing, we are finding it more and more difficult to stick to healthy sleeping patterns. This more than often leads to sleep deprivation. Although, sleeping for 5-7, or even less per night has almost become our regular lifestyle, there are some serious issues related to sleep deprivation. Contrary to our beliefs, sleep disorders may actually have some serious repercussions on our health. These disorders though combatable on a non-regular basis, become more dangerous as soon as they become chronic in nature.
Sleep disorders might lead to insomnia, nightmares, depression, chronic irritability, Alzheimer’s disease, breathing disorders, epilepsy, narcolepsy, sleep walking or sleep talking and few of these usually have a chronic and lasting effect on our bodies. Here are a few ways how these sleep disorders affect your health.
1. Impaired Cognitive Activity
Scientific observations have shown that, sleeping for less than 5 hours at night on an average, may lead to impaired brain activity or cognitive dysfunction. Often, staying up late to complete the day’s work or even watch late night TV disrupts your sleeping pattern. Weekend binges may be fun, but these activities could be depriving you of important cognitive functions.
2. Mood Swings
Have you ever noticed your family, friends or co-workers complain about your mood swings on the days you arrive with less hours of sleep? Your body needs rest. Sleeping for an average of 6-8 hours is what keeps your mind and body healthy. If you choose not to give that much time to your body to reboot, chances are that you will develop irritation, migraines and an easily perturbed personality.
Sleeping for the regular 7 hours every day is really going to make you feel more buoyant and happy, rather than stressed and worried. People suffering from narcolepsy are advised to change their sleeping patterns and timings for these reasons solely.
3. Dysfunctional Memory
The brain power games like Sudoku, hangman, or even crossword puzzles are not going to be of much help in that context, if you don’t even have a minimum of 5 hours’ worth of sleep in you. Scientifically, your creativity, intelligence, memory and sarcasm or wit, basically stems from a fit and healthy mind. These are all unachievable to you, if you are functioning on less than 5 hours of sleep currently.
It is one of the basic factors that are going to make you successful. So don’t run after opportunities on your sleep time. Instead, sleep well and opportunities are bound to happen.
4. Heightened Stress
Stress, hypertension, early ageing etc. result from series of sleepless nights. If you wish to carry on your daily activities without getting easily stressed over them, then it is of utmost importance, that you give yourself some proper rest. People facing sleep disturbances and regular lack of sleep might face issues like bed wetting and snoring as well.
It has been observed in studies that workers with lesser hours of sleep in them seem to get stressed easily and eventually mess up their work at some point of time, as compared to those who have a good 8 hours of sleep at night. Children too may face sleeping disorders such as sleep walking or disturbed sleep patterns for fear of completion of work at school or during separation from a parent.
5. Constant Yawning
Be honest, have you been yawning much more lately in class or at your place of work? Though yawning consistently may not be as serious an issue as some of the others listed in this article, it is definitely a problem you should watch out.
Yawning is considered being impolite, especially while someone else is speaking to you. Even if you yawn during a lecture at class, the speaker is bound to feel offended or hurt.
6. Low Attention Span
Low sleeping hours and a disturbed sleeping pattern among individuals has been seen to be closely related to low attention spans and hazy memory. You brain makes new connections between neurons while you sleep and processes the information you have observed or experienced during the day at this time. These hours are precious for your brain to effectively program and store your memory. If instead you choose to simply curb your sleeping hours, then you might end up getting in the mornings with a tired, unprocessed brain and hazy memories of yesterday. This is when your brain effectively becomes “foggy”.
It has been observed in certain studies, that sleep deprivation in individuals may also cause hallucinations among them. This is especially the situation if the person is already suffering from narcolepsy or even systemic lupus erythematosis. These hallucinations could be auditory, tactile or even visual. They may actually lead to long term psychotic disorder known as “schizophrenia”.
8. Lowered Immunity
While your body rests during the allotted 5-8 hours of sleep, it releases certain anti-bodies, as well as, cytokines and white blood cells. These cytokines and anti-bodies help your body to fight viruses and bacteria. They are most effective during the recovery from an injury or illness. If enough time isn’t given to your body to heal, then you may end up with a lowered immunity system.
9. Higher BP
Studies have confirmed that disturbed sleeping pattern and sleep disorders are the major cause behind the significant increase in the number of people developing a higher blood pressure in recent times. High blood pressure is in itself a major problem, which in turn leads to bigger problems like hypertension, gaining weight, chronic depression, bipolarity or even mania.
An increase in the blood pressure also makes them prone to fatigue, irritation, work-place stress and frustration. It also increases the chances of committing suicide in a person.
10. Higher Chances of Cardio-Vascular Diseases
An increased blood pressure, depression, increased irritability or anxiety due to sleep deprivation, have been seen to have heightened the chances of developing a cardio-vascular disease.
One’s heart becomes stressed with the pressure of working over time, coping with the tensions or finding appropriate solutions to cope up with these. But, when such conditions persist for a long period of time, one might end up facing serious heart problems. Meditation or yoga might be helpful to reduce some of the stress, but doctors more often prescribe full 8 hours of sleep for patients suffering from such cardio-vascular problems.
Feelings of sadness or loneliness every once in a while is considered normal and usually happens to most of us. Yet, feeling stressed, anxiety, depression and manic episodes on the other hand, are not usual and if you are going through some of them you should consider counselling from a professional. It may have more to do with your sleeping pattern than you would guess.
Lesser sleeping hours have been found out to be a major cause of chronic depressive disorders among people. Depression affects you in the ways you eat, sleep, behave, talk or even your perspective towards life and your life goals. Insomnia is a sleeping disorder, very common among patients facing chronic depression. What you could do in such a situation, is to increase your sleeping hours and seek out measures by which you can sleep in a peaceful manner.
As sleeping disorders become more rampant and strong among the existing population, it has become even more important for us to find panacea and comfort in little things and ensure that we have a satisfying and proper sleep every single night. Though less sleeping hours is something most of us have to face at some point of time in our lives, be it for examination or deadlines at our jobs, we should be careful not to make a habit out of it.
It falls upon us to take proper care of our health if we ever hope to benefit from all our work and achieve the goals we hope to, sometime in the near future.
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