Title: Sleep Deprivation
Authors claim that sleep deprivation is the state by which a person is not in the position of having enough sleep (Fulke et al. 32). This condition can either be chronic or acute with the chronic state of sleep deprivation being that state of sleep restriction that can lead to sleepiness and fatigue during the day. The chronic sleep- restricted state affects the brain and cognitive functions in a great way. However, in a number of cases, sleep deprivation has paradoxically lead to enhanced moods as well as increased energy and alertness, something that has also been used as a treatment for depression. On the other hand, acute sleep deprivation that leads to total sleep absence for a longer time has not yet been observed in humans as it is fatal.
Sleep deprivation has a number of causes which includes insomnia, voluntary sleep denial, mental illnesses, sleep apnea, as well as school. As described by authors, insomnia is known to affect a large percentage of the adult population and has symptoms that are easily recognizable (Huffington et al. 24) Among the symptoms of insomnia include excessive daytime sleepiness, attention problems, extreme mood changes as well as frustrations and worries about sleep. Insomnia is grouped into two types that is primary and secondary insomnia. The primary one is a sleep disorder that cannot be attached to the medical, psychiatric or environmental cause while secondary insomnia occurs simultaneously with other psychiatric, psychological, neurological and medical conditions. The other cause of sleep deprivation is when an individual lacks the desire to sleep or due to a habitual use of stimulant drugs. Mental disorders have also been seen to be causes of sleep deprivation due to shifts into mania in bipolar patients that mostly proceed into insomnia and sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation has a number of physiological effects and illnesses to the human body as it may result in a number of disorders such as aching muscles, confusion and memory loss among others. Among the major illness that may result from sleep deprivation include diabetes. It has been reported that most people who experience short-term sleep restrictions happen to process glucose in a slower pace as compared to those individuals who receive a full 8 hours sleep thus increasing the chances of these sleep deprived individuals developing the type 2 diabetes.
As stated earlier, sleep deprivation can have great effects on the brain and cognitive function. This effects on the alertness and cognitive performance of the brain suggest that there can be a decrease in the brain functionality mostly in the thalamus part that is responsible for attention and alertness. Sleep deprivation also leads to poor growth as it was found that it resulted in reduced cortisol secretion in the next day after one had deprived sleep. Generally, sleep deprivation enhances the activities of the hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis that is responsible for the control of reactions towards stress and also regulates functions of the body such as sex, digestion, mood, the immune system as well as energy usage while suppressing the hormones responsible for growth.
Also, sleep deprivation has been found to affect the healing process of some common body infections. This was proved by a study carried out by Gumustekin et al. that showed that sleep deprivation hindered the healing process of wounds in rats. Sleep deprivation also leads to deficits in the levels of an individual’s attention and working memory.
Among the many strategies common in attempting to treat sleep deprivation effects such as alertness is the use of caffeine for short durations so as to boost the levels of wakefulness when one experiences sleep deprivation. However, caffeine has been proved to be less effective if taken routinely and due to that, other strategies have been recommended such as prophylactic sleep before deprivation, taking naps as well as the use of other stimulants to enhance one’s alertness. Up to now, the only sure way of combating sleep deprivation is increasing the time of sleep at night.
Other recommendations towards one achieving sufficient sleep are by practicing good sleep habits such as going to bed when tired so that the period of gaining sleep can be reduced. Authors state that “In cases when one goes to bed when not tired, it always becomes hard to get sleep” (Wesensten and Nancy 7). Following a routine for times for going to bed and those for waking up and keeping it consistent every day can aid in reducing possibilities of sleep deprivations. Another habit that can reduce chances of sleep deprivation is avoiding eating 2-3 hours before going to bed. Engaging in physical exercises during the day will also make it easy for one to fall asleep in at night as one will be tired thus need to rest at night. Another recommendation that can lead to sufficient sleep is turning off all electronic devices before going to bed so that there can be a quiet environment that will favor an individual to fall asleep.
Sleep deprivation is a disorder that is affecting many people in the world and there is the need to look for ways that it can be dealt since it has proved to be fatal in some instances. There is the need for people to practice good sleep habits so that such issues can be avoided in the future.
Fulke, Pedr, and Sior Vaughan. Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Effects and Treatment. Nova Science Publishers, 2010.
Huffington, Arianna S, and Agapi Stassinopoulos. The Sleep Revolution. , 2016. Sound recording.
Wesensten, Nancy J. Sleep Deprivation, Stimulant Medications, and Cognition. Cambridge UP, 2012