What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? It is generally believed that around half of the adult population of the world does not get as much sleep as they really need. The vast majority think that they do but, in truth, they do not.
The reason why this happens varies enormously from person to person, household to household and even country to country. But there is no doubt that snoring is one of the main causes of sleepless nights. In fact, there is an almost spooky correlation between the percentage of people who do not get enough sleep (around half) and the percentage of people who snore at least occasionally, which is generally put at somewhere between 50-60%! These statistics are something that we will return to again a little later.
The amount of sleep that you get every night is regulated by your ‘body clock’. It’s basically a combination of the mental activity that is going on in your brain while asleep, and the physical requirements and needs of your body.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep: Sleep Phases
As is widely accepted nowadays, whilst asleep, we go through several different sleep phases. It’s interesting that during some of the phases our conscious brain is awake and in control. These sleep phases are marked by relatively light sleep and this is the period when we are most likely to be dreaming.
However, there are also other sleep phases where our conscious brain is every bit as asleep as we are. This is when our brain is recovering. In these times, it is our unconscious brain that is in control. These are generally the periods when we enjoy our deepest and most restful sleep.
Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is an essential period of recuperation and recovery for the whole of the human organism. It’s something that benefits both our body and our minds in a multitude of different ways. Consequently, if there are periods when you continuously do not get the amount of sleep that you need, you will eventually begin to pay for it and suffer.
For most people, such a continuous lack of the necessary solid night’s rest will result in daytime drowsiness, irritability, inability to concentrate. At work, you may have lower productivity and a far higher propensity for accidents and mistakes. Having had enough sleep helps you to concentrate more intensely, learn and understand more quickly. You can organize memories and generally be sharper and quicker both mentally and physically.
Proper sleep, especially sleep where you are dreaming, is great for balancing your mood. This makes it easier to keep your temper and more extreme emotions in check. It is for this reason that a lack of sleep can often lead to heightened irritability and bad temper.
This can have an adverse ‘knock-on’ effect, because it will negatively affect your ability to interact with others. Lack of sleep can lead to arguments as well as social or sometimes marital disturbance.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep: Muscle & Motor Control
It is not only you who suffers because of your fatigue. Sleep deprivation can even adversely affect motor skills and those things that we normally do automatically. Things we do without giving any thought to them whatsoever.
For example, most adults who drive a car do so entirely automatically. The physical action of driving is a complete habit that we do not have to give any conscious thought to.
However, severe sleep deprivation has been seen to cause experienced drivers to drive as if they were under the influence of alcohol. Their judgment is seriously impaired. Their reactions slow down dramatically. And their ability to make sound and logical decisions is significantly reduced.
Indeed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that. “Every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving. These crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The real number may be much higher, however, as it is difficult to determine whether a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash. “.
Similarly, because judgment and the ability to think clearly are so adversely affected by sleep deprivation, it is generally believed that a significant percentage of accidents that occur in industry and construction are a direct result of errors and misjudgments made by workers who are over-tired.
Of course, this is undoubtedly at least partially due to the physical demands of working in jobs where the physical demands are often so high. But, it is equally likely that sleep deprivation plays a significant part.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep: Your Immune And Nervous Systems
Your immune system:
Has something like this ever happened to you? You have been working every waking hour on a big project. You’re stressed out. Or maybe you have just gone through an extremely stressful and trying time in your life that kept you awake at night. And, just when you finally put a project to bed, or got rid of the problem that was causing you the sleepless nights. Boom! You come down with the worst cold or bout of influenza you have ever had?
Guess what? There is no coincidence in this situation whatsoever. You have not been getting enough sleep, and sleep is absolutely essential. Especially for recharging the immune system. After all, that’s what protects you against illnesses, disease and infections.
Thus, just when you least need or want to suffer is exactly the time when it is most likely to happen to you!
Your nervous system:
Every time you go to pick up your coffee cup in the morning, or put on your shoes, you do so because your brain sends a message to your muscles and limbs that instructs them to undertake the task in hand.
The signals or messages that your brain sends to the appropriate parts of your body in order for these simple tasks is to be achieved are transported by the neurons in your central nervous system.
Adequate sleep is essential for the neurons of your body to remain in tip-top condition. Bot with sleep deprivation the opposite is true. Without enough sleep, it may literally become impossible for you to lift your coffee cup or put on your shoes in the morning!
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep: Brain and Hormone Issues
As suggested previously, there is a period in every night’s sleep when your conscious brain finally gets to rest. Remember that this is the part of the brain that makes every decision. Every minute of every waking day. All of your life. So it should be pretty clear that your brain needs rest and recuperation time just as much as the rest of you does.
Indeed, recent research has strongly suggested that the period when the conscious brain is asleep is when it replenishes its self. Restoring depleted energy stores. Making repairs to the inevitable cellular damage that occurs everyday. It’s even a time when new nerve cells in the brain grow at the fastest rate. This replaces the millions that die every day.
Thus, sleep deprivation can literally damage your brain. And, as if that was not enough. It has seriously adverse effect on the hormonal balance in your body as well.
Hormones are chemicals that control or regulate particular body functions. The majority of them are made and then released into the body whilst we are asleep. Consequently, not having enough sleep could potentially have a seriously adverse effect on the normal hormonal balance. Throwing the body into a hormonal imbalance can cause serious issues.
What to do if Snoring Is Causing You Sleep Deprivation?
Snoring is one of the most common reason that people become sleep deprived. Fortunately, there are a lot of inexpensive was to treat it. However, it’s important to know what kind of snorer you’re dealing with.
- Mouth snorers respond to TSD’s and MAD’s (click for more information)
- Nasal snorers respond to nasal dilators & strips.
- Throat snorers respond to MAD’s as well as some higher tech solutions.
- Snoring is a major contributor to sleep deprivation.
- Sleep deprivation can have many adverse effects upon both the individual and everyone else with whom they come into daily contact.
- It can be the cause of what are debatably minor problems such as lack of attention, inability to concentrate and irritability.
- Multifactorial snorers may need to use a combination of the above.
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