Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sleep Deprivation


People can have problems with sleeping in the night. In fact, we all need up to 6 hours of sleep or more per night.   Everybody knows someone who has this problem from time to time, so I decided to blog about Sleep Deprivation. The big deal is that there are a lot of sicknesses associated with sleep deprivation.  I want to share some of what I found out.

An article on www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders by Camille Peri and reviewed by James Beckerman MD (2012), talks about “things to hate about losing sleep”.  I learned that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on things like memory, appearance, and even the ability to lose weight.

It is pretty hard to keep your mind on your work when your body wants to sleep.  It can be very dangerous to drive when you haven't had a good night sleep.  Sometimes it can affect your leisure time as well.  For example you might discover that you are falling asleep during a movie or not having the energy to play your favorite sport.   

Some people might think using a sleep aid is the answer but, if you start using sleeping pills you might become dependent on them and this can negatively affect your life too.
Camille Peri highlights many other things that increase in risk as you reduce your sleep like
heart disease, heart attack, irregular heart beat and even heart failure.  Included in this list is an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

So if you know someone who has a sleep problem, be a good friend and suggest they go to a doctor and get some advice.  It is essential for their health and you want them to be around for a long time.  It could be a small remedy for many bigger problems and make their life a lot more enjoyable.

I also learned a bit about why we sleep.  According to an article I found on healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy about the reasons people need to sleep, I discovered that sleeping is like feeding our body.   The body needs to shut down every night to recharge and be able to function the next day.  Over time we sure wouldn’t want to starve our body of what it needs and most of us know what can happen if we don’t eat well.  Lack of sleep can be just as serious.  There is a series of articles on the topic from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and WGBH Educational Foundation.  Check it out.