- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Health Benefits of Sleep and Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
The Most Common Diseases Associated with Sleep Deprivation
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Prostate Cancer
- Ulcerative Colitis
How much sleep do we need?
Why do we need sleep to survive?
Sleeping is a crucial part of our 24 hour life. The lack of sleep can cause a variety of issues, it can definitely hinder our health and even shorten our longevity. It is important to make sleep a part of our everyday health program.
Sleep Deprivation and Academic Performance
A study in children with sleeping disorders found them to struggle with attention, focus and learning. This was especially true in children with sleep apnea, snoring and other relevant disorders. In other relevant studies, college aged students with poor routines and sleep patterns had lower grades than their fellow college mates.
Sleep Deprivation Hinders the Ability to Read Facial Expressions
A new study has found that lack of sleep can negatively affect how you perceive others and can therefore hinder judgement and awareness.
Sleep and Car Accidents
In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported, being tired, more than alcohol, caused the highest number of fatal single car accidents.
Sleep and Mental Clarity
Several studies have confirmed that a severe lack of sleep provokes the same reactions and stupor as one who is drunk. Conclusions show driving reactions and eye hand coordination are impaired with lack of sleep. Furthermore, many of the study participants were unaware of their own poor judgement during the study. In other words, their own clarity and perspective of their own awareness was clouded.
In another study, students with a healthy sleep pattern had higher scores than those who lacked sleep.
Sleep and Athletic Performance: Stamina
A research study by, Stanford University, found improved performance and endurance in athletes that completed several weeks of regular sleep patterns. Most of the athletes recorded about 10 hours of sleep per day.
It is believed sleeping between 7 to 8 hours may help improve blood pressure readings. It has also been found that those that sleep less than 6 hours per night have a tendency to have higher blood pressure or run the risk of becoming hypertensive.
Why? It is understood the body generally recovers during the sleep cycle. During this time it also regulates stress hormones. This in turn helps your nervous system to function properly. The nervous system affects how our body functions and reacts to various stressors.
Sleep: Children and Adults
Adults and children react differently to lack of sleep:
- Adults usually become lethargic and sleepy.
- Children tend to become hyperactive, impulsive and somewhat rebellious.
Short sleep durations have been connected with the increase of bad cholesterol levels.
Colds and Flu
Lack of sleep can increase your risk of catching a cold or the flu. Lack of sleep causes you to be tired and stressed. These factors lower your immune system.
Interesting fact: Vaccines work quicker and more effectively in a rested body.
Sleep can Improve Creativity
Sleep improves the creative process. Recent studies are learning how the brain becomes very active during certain phases of sleep. This activity during sleep seems to encourage creativity and clarity when problem solving and/or brainstorming. Study groups showed greater problem solving outcomes in the sleep group than in the deprived group. Plus, memory is improved. An improved memory can allow past experiences to spur ideas with the inception of new knowledge.
There is definitely a connection between depression and sleep, the connection is complex though, and is a vicious cycle. Insomnia can be a symptom of depression. This sleep deprivation caused by insomnia can further complicate existing symptoms of depression. Also, those that suffer from insomnia are at higher risk of developing depression. In addition, sleep can reduce anxiety and can improve stability during the day. Plus, balance is very important in defeating depression. Sufferers should seek professional help, improve their diets and establish a healthy sleep routine.
Did you know that a sleep deprived body provokes a reaction similar to insulin resistance? A sleep study induced a sleep deprived scenario. The participants were reduced their sleep time by a minimum of 5 hours for six consecutive days. At the end of only six days, the participants displayed impaired glucose levels. Impaired glucose levels are a known precursor to diabetes.
Have you ever heard of inflammatory response? A sleep deprived body has an inflammatory response in the cardiovascular system. This response increases the factors and risks associated with stroke, heart attack and even diabetes.
Sleep can possibly control inflammation
By now, it is obvious to see many illnesses and disease can lead to sleep deprivation and insomnia. In addition, these illnesses can provoke inflammation in the body. In fact, research found people who get less sleep, six or less hours a night, have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who sleep well through the night.
Longevity: Sleep and Living Longer
Sleep is when our bodies recover and cleanse themselves of the previous day's events. Cells are renewed and we are to wake up refreshed. If we disturb a healthy sleep pattern we can induce a variety of problems and increase our risk of illness. These illnesses can provoke diseases that shorten our lives. Also, one study even referred to sleep deprivation as mimicking aging. Not good.
In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night
Instead, get a good night's sleep and try to follow a healthy sleep pattern that you can stick to. Your life may depend on it.
There is quite a bit of research on how memory is affected by sleep. Researches are trying to narrow down the effects of sleep with regard to recent memory and long term memory. Regardless, most studies have confirmed improved memory skills in groups which attained quality amounts of sleep: this is to say, it is better to learn and perform something after sleeping,
In one particular study, patients that slept 5 hours a night had a 73% chance of becoming obese. This was compared to a secondary group which attained 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Sleep and Weight Loss
Sleep greatly improves your chances of reaching your diet and workout goals. You might think a pound lost is a pound lost, but in one interesting study, researchers found those who had better sleeping patterns lost more fat than those who didn't. Participants with sleep deprivation did lose weight but lost more lean muscle as opposed to fat.
Sleep reduces stress and its effects
Stress causes many mental and physical problems and can greatly affect cardiovascular health. A regular sleep schedule, which includes 7 - 9 hours of sleep can improve stress levels and reduce subsequent health issues.
Dr. Oz's Sleep Advice for Jennifer Anniston
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares