How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind & Body
Sleep deprivation affects a large percentage of the population at some point during their lives. It can cause some pretty nasty effects on both the minds and bodies of people who fail to get enough rest at night. The article you’re reading today will draw your attention towards some of the main issues caused by the condition. Everyone needs eight hours of sleep at night to ensure their body is recharged and ready for life. Failure to achieve that could mean you suffer some negative consequences.
For the purpose of this post, we’re going to present you with a case study of our fictional sleep deprivation patient Mr X.
Mr X has been working long hours for the last few months, and he struggles to get enough sleep because his mind won’t stop thinking. Even after a long bath and some relaxing music, he still finds himself unable to relax enough to drift off. That situation is very similar for most people who suffer sleep deprivation today.
What are the physical effects on Mr X's body?
Weakened immune system
A lack of sleep can cause the human immune system to stop working properly. That means people who experience sleep deprivation are more likely to contract infections. Most folks know what it’s like to feel “run-down”, and a weakened immune system is usually to blame.
Weight gain is often an issue for people who don’t get a good night’s sleep. That is because their body doesn’t digest food as well as it could. Also, they are often awake during the early hours, and so their eating pattern becomes disturbed.
As sleep deprivation damages the immune system, sufferers are more vulnerable to respiratory issues. A survey found that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to contract common colds and influenza.
Heart disease comes hand in hand with weight gain. The cardiovascular system in your body helps to repair essential blood vessels when it is working properly. However, problems often arise when people are deprived of sleep because their body slows down. That is why high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes are commonplace.
What are the mental effects Mr X will experience?
Impaired brain activity
Impaired brain activity is often caused by a lack of sleep because the mind simply doesn’t have enough energy. Some people like to call it fatigue, but it’s often a little more serious. Mr X’s brain will slow down, and simple tasks will seem like a lot of hard work. That always happens when exhaustion sets in.
Low moods have been associated with sleep deprivation for a long time. Indeed, a large percentage of people who take antidepressant drugs list sleep issues as symptoms. Getting a good night’s sleep could help Mr X to become much happier in his life.
In some of the most extreme sleep deprivation cases, patients can experience hallucinations. That shouldn’t happen to Mr X if he finds a solution to the problem quickly. However, people who go without sleep for months on end could start to drift into their own little world.
Doctors used to think that sleep deprivation only affected the short-term memory banks. That understanding has changed in recent times thanks to more in-depth research. We now know that a lack of sleep can affect both the short and long term memory. It’s possible that Mr X could lose some of his most treasured life experiences if he doesn’t find a remedy.
As you can see, the effects of sleep deprivation could become very serious if left untreated. That is why people with concerns should seek the advice of medical professionals. However, there are lots of things you could try to improve the situation in the meantime. For instance, buying a comfortable bed will mean you have the best tool for getting some rest. You can also take herbal sleep medications that are available over the counter.
With a bit of luck, Mr X will manage to achieve a good night’s sleep at some point soon. He knows the stresses of work are not helping, and so he’s booked some holiday. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life usually produces positive results. Anyone reading this post in the same situation as Mr X will need to take action straight away. The last thing you want is to become a wandering zombie who feels terrible all day long.
Now you understand the risks sleep deprivation presents, it should be easier to find the motivation to turn things around.