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How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Mental and Physical Health | Preity Prerna

Updated: May 20

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Mental and Physical Health | Preity Prerna

Sleep plays a crucial role in healthy body function AND mental health. An adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep. Some people's schedules and working hours do not allow them to get sufficient sleep.

What they do not realize is that not getting enough sleep can not just lead to poor health but can also put a damper on mental health.

Table of Contents:

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Not getting enough or good quality sleep is sleep deprivation. Even the most basic activities may get hampered by descriptive symptoms when severe or persist for a long time.

Numerous serious medical issues might get worse over time when people lack sleep.

Everyone requires sleep. Age has an impact on that quantity as well. Some people, however, need more sleep than others to feel rested, although these exceptions are uncommon.

You should consult a healthcare professional if your sleep patterns alter; gradually or suddenly.

According to age, the average quantity of sleep each day is:

  • Up to three months old, newborns: 14 to 17 hours.

  • 4 -12 month-old infants: 12–16 hours, including naps.

  • Little ones (ages 1 to 5): 10 to 14 hours, including naps.

  • 6 to 12-year-olds in school-age groups: 9 to 12 hours.

  • 13 to 18-year-old teenagers: 8 to 10 hours.

  • Adults (over the age of 18): 7 to 9 hours.

There are various ways that sleep deprivation might manifest. Some persons experience sleep deprivation due to their inability to fall asleep.

Others who do get sleep but they're not receiving good rest feel exhausted when they wake up.

In small amounts, sleep deprivation typically doesn't pose a significant threat. However, studies have shown that persistent sleep deprivation can lead to or worsen several health problems.

Health Problems Due to Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep has detrimental impacts on your health in many different ways.

1]. Metabolic systems:

  • Type 2 diabetes is far more likely to develop in people who consistently lack sleep.

2]. Immune System:

  • Lack of sleep impairs the effectiveness of your body's built-in defences against illnesses.

  • Your immune system creates protective, infection-fighting chemicals like antibodies and cytokines while you're sleeping.

  • It employs these compounds to fend against outside intruders like viruses and bacteria.

3]. Heart and Circulatory Systems:

  • The health of your heart and circulatory system gets negatively impacted over the long run by sleep deprivation.

  • Chronic sleep loss increases the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

  • Your blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation levels are all impacted by sleep, which also impacts other physiological functions that maintain the health of your heart and blood vessels.

  • Additionally, it is essential for your body's capacity to maintain and repair the heart and blood arteries.

4]. Nervous System:

  • People who don't get enough sleep frequently have higher pain sensitivity, which indicates that the pain they experience is either felt more readily, more acute, or both.

  • When you don't get enough sleep, you may begin to have hallucinations, which are false perceptions of sight or sound.

  • Bipolar mood disorder sufferers may also experience mania when they are sleep-deprived.

5]. Respiratory System:

  • There is a reciprocal relationship between breathing and sleep.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a problem of nocturnal breathing, can disrupt your sleep and reduce the quality of your rest.

  • It can result in sleep deprivation and nighttime awakenings, making you more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like the flu and the common cold.

  • Lack of sleep can exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions such as chronic lung disease.

6]. Digestive System:

  • Sleep deprivation is another risk factor for getting overweight and obese, with overeating and not exercising.

  • Leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that regulate satiety and hunger, are influenced by sleep.

  • Your body releases less insulin after eating when you are sleep-deprived.

  • Your blood sugar (glucose) level is lower due to insulin. In addition to lowering the body's glucose tolerance, sleep deprivation is linked to insulin resistance.

  • Diabetes mellitus and obesity may result from these abnormalities.

7]. Endocrine System:

  • Sleep is a requirement for hormone synthesis.

  • Your first R.E.M. session, or around three hours of uninterrupted sleep, is what you need to produce testosterone.

  • The production of hormones may be impacted by frequent awakenings during the night.

  • In particular, for kids and teenagers, this disruption can impact growth hormone generation.

  • In addition to other growth-related activities, these hormones aid in maintaining and repairing cells and tissues in the body.

  • Growth hormones are continuously released by the pituitary gland, although getting enough sleep and exercising also contribute to this process.

Numerous negative health impacts, such as an elevated risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke, have been linked to the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Mental Health

Mental health concerns can increase sleep issues, but sleep issues can also cause changes in mental health. Some psychological problems may develop as a result of sleep deprivation.

1]. Changes in Moods:

  • Lack of sleep can alter one's mood and make them more irritable.

  • When we don't get enough sleep, we're more likely to feel agitated and less likely to feel in control of our emotions.

2]. Changes in Behavior:

  • Unusual behaviours can occur together with mood swings.

  • Impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional outbursts can all rise due to sleep deprivation.

  • When we don't get enough sleep, we find it difficult to interact with others.

3]. Increase in Stress:

  • Even very mild stress might be tough to handle if you don't get enough sleep. Daily inconveniences can become a source of annoyance.

  • You could experience daily events as exhausting. Even just thinking about how poorly you slept might cause tension.

  • You are aware of the importance of getting a decent night's sleep, but you start to worry that you won't be able to do so (which can also keep you up at night).

4]. Leads to Brain Fog:

  • Sleep is necessary for our brains to function at their best.

  • Brain fog, which frequently manifests as disorientation or difficulty concentrating, can result from sleep deprivation.

  • If you didn't get enough sleep the night before, you could discover that it's more difficult to remember specific memories or find the appropriate words to express what you want to say.

  • Being productive may undoubtedly be challenging.

5]. Can Lead to Depression and Anxiety:

  • Anxiety disorders seem more likely to develop in people with sleep issues.

  • Being exhausted from persistent sleep problems can make it more difficult to deal with worry sensations.

  • As a result, sleep deprivation can significantly worsen the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Although addressing your sleep issues may help with your psychological symptoms, treating depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders can also interfere with your ability to sleep.

Insomnia Vs. Sleep Deprivation

Although they are closely connected, insomnia and sleep deprivation are not the same.

  • When you try to sleep but are unable to, you have insomnia.

  • When you don't give yourself enough time to sleep, don't get enough sleep, or both, you suffer from sleep deprivation.

Any age might experience insomnia due to stress, physical diseases, mental health issues, and bad sleeping habits.

Sleep deprivation is common these days. Many people feel stressed and overwhelmed due to work or other day-to-day problems.

Neglecting sleep worsens the pre-existing problems and adds new issues to the mix. So make sure to make getting a good night's sleep a priority.

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