Sleep is a basic human necessity. Without it, the function of the body quickly suffers. You’ll feel fatigued, and sluggish, won’t be able to remember things well, and may feel quite grumpy. Even your coordination can be affected by a lack of sleep.
As much as 48% of Americans are sleep-deprived. Are you one of them?
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Unfortunately, lack of sleep is becoming an epidemic in the U.S. Millions of people are running on less than 7 hours of sleep, the threshold for what is considered short sleep.
Aside from the negative health effects, the lack of sleep is deadly dangerous. An estimated 6,000 fatal car accidents may be caused by drowsy drivers.
What Causes Sleep Deprivation?
Why are Americans so sleep-deprived?
Is your smartphone keeping you awake at night?
One of the culprits may lie in the palm of your hand. Smartphones and other devices emit blue light that can disrupt your body’s natural process for falling asleep. This light can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone necessary for sleep, and can even stimulate the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is responsible for arousal.
This prevents the body from properly settling down and preparing itself for sleep. It can take longer for you to fall asleep and reduce the quality of the sleep you get when you finally do fall asleep.
These seemingly harmless devices may be a big reason why as many as 48% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep at night.
The body cannot function without proper rest. While there are no confirmed reports of anyone dying from lack of sleep, living without sleep is impossible. At some point, you will drop from exhaustion.
The Effects of Lack of Sleep
Even if you sleep a few hours a night, not getting enough sleep can cause some unpleasant side effects. You may feel tired and have difficulty concentrating or remaining alert. You may also have memory difficulties and even problems with coordination. Plus, you may feel irritable and have an increased appetite.
Why does the body experience these side effects? Why is sleep so necessary?
While researchers don’t exactly know why sleep is necessary, there is a lot of information about the reparative nature of sleep.
What Happens During Sleep?
Contrary to what you may think, your body is not inactive when you are asleep. It is busy repairing damage and healing from the effects of the day. The brain is hard at work managing the plasticity of its synapses and clearing away unneeded brain pathways. The rest of the body is restoring muscle damage and replenishing energy stores.
Your brain literally gets cleaned while you sleep. The glymphatic system – basically your brain’s waste management system – does most of its work during deep REM sleep. This may be why your brain feels foggy – it’s literally dirty.
What Disrupts Your Sleep?
The circadian rhythm is an important 24-hour cycle that presents itself even when all cues such as light and time are taken away. However, these external cues do affect the circadian rhythm and can be strong enough to disrupt the cycle when presented at the wrong time.
Please contact us so we can help you with practical solutions to getting better rest. Your health depends on it!