Many people feel sleep deprived if they miss too much regularly scheduled sleep. They may say they feel bad or otherwise are not at their best.
Researchers may now have found out why sleep deprivation is so hard on your body. A study conducted at the University of Surrey in England, which was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, shows that getting less than your optimum amount of sleep can cause real chaos in the workings of your body.
Findings indicate that lack of sleep creates changes at the genetic level, so much so that some good genes grow sluggish while less-beneficial genes mutliply faster. All told, the lack of sleep can mess with about three percent of the genes in your body.
The result? Inflammation throughout the body, along with lowered
immunity, protein damage, and metabolism issues. Real harm comes from
not getting enough sleep.
Even more interesting, the study showed that the body suffers harm within just a week's time if a person does not receive enough sleep. Seven days of insomnia can be damaging.
The research results reveal that millions of sleepy-eyed people are causing real problems in their physical body, as well as the usual lack of alertness and shorter attention spans already associated with a restless night. It also makes you sleepy, which means you are not at your best either mentally or physically. Fighting to stay awake might not be in your best interest.
This new information goes along with other studies that suggest lack of sleep causes more of the stress hormone cortisol to show up in the body. It can also increase a hormone called ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. This can lead to obesity.
So how much sleep does it take so that you do not suffer from sleep deprivation? Generally, adults should sleep between six and eight hours in order to obtain enough rest. An infant needs to sleep for 16 hours, while teenagers need about nine hours. Women who are pregnant, particularly in the first trimester, frequently need more sleep than normal.
If you think you are getting enough sleep, but still sometimes feel tired and sleepy during the day (even if you're bored), then most likely you aren't getting enough sleep. And you wouldn't be alone.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that a large percentage of the population does not get enough sleep.
For example, over 40 percent
of parents with children at home sleep less than seven hours a night.
And only about one-third of high school students get a full eight hours.
Scientists have long known sleep is necessary, but have not been sure why. People who work the night shift or otherwise suffer from sleep deprivation frequently suffer from a variety of diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.
About 30 percent of US citizens are thought to be sleep deprived, meaning they receive fewer than six hours of sleep each night. That number is higher among night shift workers or others whose routine is frequently disrupted.
It's important to remember that appropriate sleep means actually being asleep. Simply being in the bed for 8 hours does not mean you have received 8 hours of good sleep. In the Surrey study, people who were in bed for 10 hours only received about 8.5 hours of sleep. So while laying in the bed may be restful, it does not promote good sleep.
Going without sleep is also hazardous to others, especially if you are driving. Do not drive or operate machinery if you are sleep deprived. According to The National Sleep Foundation, if you have trouble staying awake, yawn a lot, or can't recall when you last passed an exit, you probably need to pull over.
What are Good Sleep Habits
Establishing a Healthy Sleep Schedule
Importance of Sleep
More Evidence on Why We Need Sleep
More Tips on How to Sleep Better
Examining Sleep Aids
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Causes of Extreme Fatigue
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Physical Effects of Stress