Are you spending nights tossing and turning in the bed and finding it hard to fall asleep? Most probably you’re suffering from Sleep deprivation.
Only a sufferer knows how it feels like to dsire for sleep, but not getting even some of it. One night with uncomfortable sleep means waking up next morning with a cranky mood. Also, you’ll feel grumpy for the rest of the day. This consequently leads to another night without sleep. True to say, it’s a chain. But long-term sleep deprivation can cause havoc on your physical as well as mental health.
So what’re the causes of lack of sleeping and how to get rid of it? Well, that’s what we are going to discuss today.
What’s Sleep Deprivation?
The term ‘sleep deprivation‘ commonly refers to lack of proper sleep. It’s either difficulty in falling asleep early or waking up several times at night.
An occasional interruption in nighttime sleep can be temporarily termed as a nuisance. But the effects of sleep deprivation start to show up when it becomes chronic and acquit. The effect of sleep deprivation is more vulnerable to young people than older adults. However, the symptoms of sleep deprivation are listed below.
- Daytime sleepiness
- Mood swing
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of liveliness
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Increase in appetite
- Poor performance at workplace, etc.
Reasons of Uncomfortable Sleep
1. Uncomfortable Bedding
Firstly, if the bed supplies, i.e. the mattress and pillows, aren’t perfect, you’ll face trouble in sleeping. Again, Too-soft pillows like feathered pillows can’t support the neck enough. Besides, they can lead to neck soreness.
2. Sleeping Position Fact
Most of the people commonly adopt one of the following sleeping positions. Sleeping on back, side and stomach or front. Whatever may be your style, the important thing is to follow some basic rules of healthy sleeping.
For side sleepers
It’s the ideal sleeping position and the best for pregnant women.
Firstly, the neck should be in the right mid-line position. In another word, the neck should be in a line with the lower body. Again, the spine should be in its natural curved position. A pillow should be placed such that the gap between the neck and the shoulder is filled.
For back sleepers
It may not be ideal for you especially if you have obesity problem or other health conditions. Moreover, Sleep apnea or snoring is very common among these sleepers.
However, if you have pains and aches, this is an ideal position for you. But followings are the facts you should keep in mind for a better sleep. It’s the ideal sleeping position and the best for pregnant women.
The first thing to note, your head should be in the correct mid-line position. Moreover, your head should be in the middle of the pillow, not too forward or backward. A pillow under your knees will help you relax your lower back.
For front sleepers
It may be the ideal position if you’re a snorer. But your sleep may be interrupted by any of the following reasons.
If you use too many pillows under your head, the neck and the spine will be out of alignment. Over rotation of your neck and spine can lead to strains which again results in pressures in nerves. Again, too firm and big pillow will lead to uncomfortable for front sleepers.
3. Health Issue (It’s Important)
There are several health issues which can lead to uncomfortable sleep at night.
- Insomnia– a well-known sleep disorder. One-third of the adult population is affected by it.
- Sleep apnea-while sleeping, the reduced flow of oxygen to the lung
- Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) – this anxiety disorder results from a traumatic event.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- A tension headache
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) – an unpleasant feeling in the legs.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) – people who have diabetics are most vulnerable to this.
- Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
- Pinworm Infection– an infection in the intestine by a contagious type of warm.
- Hyperventilation– a condition that causes fast breathing.
- Otitis media (A middle ear infection)-inflammation behind the eardrum.
- HIV and AIDS and Cocaine Addiction or Caffeine Overdose
- Several short-term illnesses like influenza, tonsillitis, Acute Bronchitis etc.
How Much Sleep We Actually Need?
How much hours of sleep at night you actually need depends on your age. For healthy adults, 6 to 8-hours sleep is enough for proper body functioning. For children, the required hour is even more. And the elderly people who have trouble sleeping at night can fill the gap by a nap.
Below is the recommendation by National Sleep Foundation 2015.
|Older adults||over 65 years||07-08|
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
1. Back or neck pain
Uncomfortable sleep and sleeping position leads to pain in- Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip or Knees. Again, sleeping on your stomach can lead to back and neck pain, teeth grinding, numb hands etc.
2. Weak immune system
While you’re sleeping, your body produces such protective substances. For example, cytokines which fight invaders like virus and bacteria.
But lack of proper sleep disturbs your immune system. This consequently increases the risk of long-term illness. That is, it takes a longer time to recover you from any illness.
3. Poor sleep affects your health
Sleep deprived people are usually at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. It’s because a lack of sleep disturbs the natural process that keeps the heart healthy. Moreover, Sound sleep helps to repair and heal the blood vessels and heart. Therefore, people with sleep deprivation often suffer from-
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes: Insulin is the hormone that controls the blood sugar level. But the Lack of sleeping stimulates the release of insulin at a higher level after eating. Again, a higher level of insulin promotes the storage of fat and thus increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Stroke and more
4. Lack of sleep ages your skin
Lack of sleeping for a few nights makes your skin sallow, and a dark circle appears around your eyes. Now you can easily imagine how it’s going to affect your skin if it becomes chronic. This is because the loss of sleep triggers the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol breaks down the skin collagen that keeps the skin elastic and smooth. Thus lack of sleeping ages your skin.
5. Poor sleep damage your memory
The term ‘sharp wave ripples’ is a brain event that consolidates memory. The ripples are also responsible for transferring information to the Neocortex. It’s a place in the brain where our brain stores the long-term memories. And this ‘sharp wave ripples’ mostly happens when you are in the deepest of your sleep.
6. Unhappiness and depression
Insomnia has the strongest and sharpest link to the stress and depression. Additionally, studies found that people who sleep less than six to eight hours a day easily get depressed.
Natural Treatment of Sleep Deprivation
1. Manage Stress (Meditation)
A mindful meditation during daytime helps a lot to fight insomnia and sleep deprivation. Also, it increases relaxation response of your body and concentration of your mind. Thus it helps to reduce depression and fatigue and also daytime sleepiness.
2. Avoid Blue Light at Night
Blue light produces wavelength twice as long as other lights. It also alters the body’s 24-hour circadian rhythms by the degree twice as much as others. This creates problems with the cardiovascular and immune system leading to sleeplessness. In addition to this, blue light also prevents the lowering of body temperature. But this body cooling is a key condition for progression to fall asleep.
3. Do Regular Exercise
A habit of regular exercise will help you a lot for fighting sleep deprivation. But the amount, the type and the time of exercise make a huge difference. After exercise, your body feels exhausted and need rests. But exercise before sleeping is never recommended. This is because your body temperature rises up while exercising. And it takes up to 5-6 hours to drop back to the normal temperature.
4. Adjust Your Diet
Warm milk before bed helps to fight insomnia. Some snacks including carbohydrate and protein half an hour before sleeping also help. For example, a wheat cracker with cheese or a banana with peanut butter. Again, Magnesium has an important relation to the nighttime sleep. Almond, green and leafy vegetables, pumpkin are excellent sources of magnesium. Again, Lavender oil calms your body and also good for insomnia.
5. Make a Comfortable Bedding
The pillow beneath your head should support your neck to keep it at the same level with the spine. But avoid too high or too low pillow. Again, it’s better to place a pillow between the knees to maintain proper spine alignment. Besides, if you are a stomach sleeper, try to sleep on a pillow placed under your chest to minimize rotation. So, choose the best pillow.
Again, too firm or too soft mattresses aren’t recommended. A medium-firm mattress is both healthy and comfortable. In addition to this, you should change the mattress in every 10 years if you want to escape the chronic back pain.
6. Create a Perfect Bedtime
Try to stick to a routine. Prepare a schedule according to your work. Try to go to bed as early as possible. Also, keep tabs, and cellphones away from your bed. It’s better to Switch off them before sleeping.
Finally, Before You Go!
More or less, all of us are used to a lifestyle that’s more dependent on gadgets than physical workouts. Therefore, sleep deprivation is a common modern life issue.
So, be careful before it gets chronic.