Health 101 In-Depth Look at Sleep DeprivationBy admin | May 27th, 2011 | Category: Health/Fitness, Spring 2009 | No Comments »
Sleep is a wonderful thing, wouldn’t you agree? Your body is a big fan of rest for a variety of very good reasons. We ask everything of our bodies as they endure our life’s daily beatings, and still we ask for more hours in the day as we cheat sleep. The best caffeine will allow us to. We de-prioritize the most important time of our day, the rest and repair phase that allows us to get up and come back for more. In this issue of “Fitness Couture” we took a look at the weight gain repercussions of sleep deprivation, but there are so many other consequences that you might not even be aware of.
· Adverse Effects of Sleep Deprivation
o Mood Swings
o Chronic Fatigue: Repairs occur in the REM or Delta phase of sleep, deepest levels of sleep. If these levels are not reached, your body cannot properly refresh you, leaving you to feel exhausted after a long night.
o Accelerated Aging: During the deep stages of REM sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. As you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep. The less sleep you incorporate the less time your body has to keep you young, thus prematurely aging you.
o Clouded Mind, Foggy Thoughts
o Hindered Work Performance
o Affected Mental Health: Sleep deprivation has mental as well as physical complications. While those with depression are more likely to suffer from insomnia, insomniacs or those suffering from other sleep disorders are also more likely to develop depression, impaired memory and thought processes.
o Decreased Immune Response: As part of the immune system, cytokines play a key role in fighting disease and infection. As the body’s levels of cytokines drop, you become more susceptible to illness and infection.
o Increased Alcohol Sensitivity: Sleep deprivation also magnifies alcohol’s effects on the body, so a fatigued person who drinks will become much more impaired than someone who is well-rested.
o Increased Pain Perception
o Increased Cortisol Levels: Cortisol levels are increased in your body during stressful times, promoting fat storage as a form of self preservation.
o Unbalanced Hunger: An imbalance in the hormones Ghrelin increasing (Hunger Hormone) and Leptin decreasing (Satiety Hormone) causing the body to crave carbohydrates and sugar.
o Slower Reaction Time: After 24 hours of no sleep, you are as impaired as if you had enough alcohol to be legally drunk in most states.
o Restricted Nutrient Absorption: Sleep deprivation interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body fat storage.
o Reduced Levels of Growth Hormone: GH is a protein that helps regulate the body’s proportions of fat and muscle. You will be more likely to store fat and use lean muscle tissue for energy.
o Insulin Resistance (possible): Since hormone levels are not allotted proper time to regulate themselves, an imbalance can contribute to increased risk of diabetes as the body is less receptive to insulin.
o Increased Blood Pressure (possible): When the body is not allotted the proper time to recuperate it is forced to work harder under these stressful circumstances. The hours you don’t sleep add up in debt that your system adapts to by pushing harder.
o Increased Risk of Heart Disease: Due to body systems working overtime with a non recuperated body and reduced immune system, heart disease is more likely.
Sleep Deprivation as Bad as Being Intoxicated
Working yourself to the edge of your limits on no sleep is no better than working intoxicated. After staying awake for 24 hours straight, a person will be as impaired as if he/she had had enough alcohol to be legally drunk in most states.
In one Australian study, researchers created a blood alcohol equivalent test with 40 volunteers for different levels of impairment from sleeplessness. Group one stayed awake for 28 hours while group two drank alcohol every half hour until reaching a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent, the drunken-driving standard in most American states. Every half hour the subjects took a computerized test of hand-eye coordination. “Results showed that after 24 hours of sleeplessness, participants were about as impaired as they were at the 0.10 percent level of blood alcohol. After 17 hours, they were about as impaired as they were with an alcohol level of 0.05 percent, which many Western countries define as legally drunk, the researchers said.” – National Sleep Foundation,
Weight Gain from No Sleep
Stanford University held a study in which 1000 volunteers were surveyed on their sleeping habits and then had their ghrelin (hunger hormone) and leptin (satiety hormone) levels measured. “After eight hours of no sleep all volunteers showed increased levels of ghrelin (weight gain hormone) and decresed levels of leptin (weight control hormone). Results conclusively proved that those who slept the fewest hours per night also weight the most, holding larger amounts of body fat.” The body is simply adapting to a stressful environment, it is doing what it knows best. This is one reason you are more likely to eat more when you are not feeling at your best. “One thing I have seen is that once a person is not as tired, they don’t need to rely on sweet foods and high carbohydrate snacks to keep them awake — and that automatically translates into eating fewer calories,” says Dr Micheal Breus of the Atlantic School of Sleep Medicine.
Whether your sleep issues exist due to your work life, family life, medical reasons, or simply lifestyle in general, you must tend to this in order to keep yourself healthy. Treatment options depend on your particular circumstances, but here are some suggestions to help you begin your rejuvenation. The key is to create new habits and improved consistent sleep patterns. Normalize your amounts of sleep. Infants usually require about 16-18 hours of sleep per day, while teenagers need about 9 hours per day on average. Optimal sleep for health improvements are between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.
Ways to improve sleep include
- Exercising regularly earlier in the day to help regulate energy levels
- Consuming low levels of liquids before bed
- Finding a non-habit forming sleep aid, for example, melatonin
- Relaxing with a hot bath before bed
- Avoiding alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine before bed
- Avoiding treating heartburn at night
- Creating an ideal sleep environment by removing media distractions and making the bedroom as dark as possible to fall asleep faster and remain asleep.
Find whatever works for you, and above all, make it consistent for your health’s sake. You will feel and look like a million bucks. Good night, Agenda readers. (Sources)
Written by Anthony Heredia