Is Sleep Deprivation Causing Havoc in Your Life?
Lack of sleep can have pervasive effect on physical and emotional well-being. During sleep, biological and physiological processes take place that are essential for maintaining optimal health.
Why Sleep is so Important
When adults sleep, the body engages in a healing process by producing hormones that repair damaged tissue or tissue that has degenerated. In children, this hormone also facilitates growth and mental development.
A host of other beneficial activities occur during sleep, which include the following.
- Each person's immune system produces disease fighting cells during sleep and, as a result, works more effectively.
- During sleep, the brain "catalogs" waking experiences by organizing thoughts, storing memories, and consolidating learning that happened during the day.
- Rest allows parts of the brain to recharge, which is why emotional stability, cognitive reasoning, and motor skills all benefit from a good night's sleep.
- During sleep, hormones go to work that help people regulate appetite and ward off inflammation and disease.
If you suffer from insomnia, being deprived of sleep can put you at risk for a host of health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and other serious illnesses..
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
- You feel tired all the time, even if you think you've slept well. You tend to want to fall asleep during the day and feel hazy or "out of it."
- Your memory is poor. You have difficulty recalling names, times, and information.
- You find it difficult or impossible to concentrate, and find yourself making poor decisions.
- You seem overly emotional. You may have mood swings, feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, or stress. You may even feel depressed or lethargic.
- You consistently feel sleepy when driving.
- Your job performance is poor. You make mistakes, forget things, and find it difficult to keep an emotional balance.
- You experience clumsiness or have a succession of accidents at work, when driving, doing chores, and/or playing sports.
- Your blood pressure is rising/high, your heart seems to pound, you gain weight, and/or you have signs of diabetes/high blood sugar levels.
- You easily and frequently get sick.
These are some of the most common effects from lack of sleep. If you feel that you may be suffering from some type of sleep disorder, you're not alone. Research shows that one in three people will suffer from sleeplessness at some time during their life.
What to Do if You Feel Sleep Deprived
If you are having difficulty sleeping, see your doctor right away. He or she will discuss your sleep deprivation issues and give you a thorough physical exam. A sleep study may be recommended to enable your doctor to arrive at a proper diagnosis. Then, he or she will recommend a treatment strategy to get you back on track getting the sleep you need.
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