Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Impact Of Sleep Deprivation On Health

How much sleep are you getting?

Numerous studies carried out by experts show the importance of sleep and the negative results that occur when it's lacking. Experts on sleep show that that REM sleep, or dream-sleep, helps consolidate "fragile" memories the brain creates throughout the day so that they can be easily organized and stored in the brain's long-term memory. Can you imagine not being able to remember important events that goes on in your life? This is one of the main problems linked to lack of sleep and why it's so important to get enough of it.
Almost everyone is aware of the need for enough hours of sleep but do most of us really know what's the required number of hours for the average human? 8 hours of every day is the ideal number for optimal functioning of the human body. Most of us have a biological clock that lets us know exactly how many hours of sleep our body needs on average. However, sleeping disorders can distort this sleep cycle and seeking help from an expert is the best option. Age is an important factor in determining how many hours of sleep we need.
  • A normal adult requires about 7-8 hours of sleep but this number may vary depending on other factors such as mental health.
  • A baby needs up to 16 hours of sleep
  • 9 hours of sleep is just about right for teenagers
  • Pregnant women need to sleep longer than your average adult.
What is Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is a condition in which a person does not get enough hours of sleep and it can be either acute or chronic.
Impact on your Health
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation impacts negatively on brain activity and cognitive functions. Since the brain controls what's going on inside our bodies, this has an adverse effect on our health and fitness. According to researchers, depriving oneself of this vital biological function may result in:
  • Memory problems
  • Aching muscles
  • Impaired judgement and fatigue; many traffic accidents and deaths are caused by drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.
  • Weight Loss/gain
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Obesity
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Adversely affects growth & the healing process
How can I get enough sleep?
Sleep deprivation results in a sleep deficit. Our bodies need to repay this deficit since we can't seem to adapt to it. Common symptoms are fatigue, daytime sleepiness,clumsiness and weight loss or weight gain. The only safe way to combat sleep deprivation is to ensure that you get enough sleep time at night. stimulants like caffeine can be effective to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation but it becomes less effective if used frequently.

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