We all need sleep, get most of us take it for granted by staying up for long hours at night watching a screen or blocking the brain with caffeine and other harmful drugs . Many people do not get enough quality sleep, and this can affect their health, well-being, and ability to do everyday activities.
You may think nothing is happening when you sleep. But parts of your brain are quite active during sleep. And enough sleep (or lack of it) affects your physical and mental health. When you sleep, your body has a chance to rest and restore energy. A good night’s sleep can help you cope with stress, solve problems or recover from illness. Not getting enough sleep can lead to many health concerns, affecting how you think and feel.
How much sleep do I need?
Many factors affect how much sleep you need. Age is a big factor:
- Infants need about 16 hours a day.
- Toddlers and preschoolers need about 12 hours.
- Teenagers need about nine hours.
- Adults need seven to eight (though some are fine with five and others need closer to 10).
- Pregnant people often need more sleep during the first trimester.
If you haven’t slept well or long enough for a few days, you might create a sleep debt. Once your debt builds up, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted. Try to make sure you get enough sleep every night to avoid creating this debt. You can’t necessarily make up your debt by sleeping a lot on the weekends. It’s best to get enough sleep all week long. A person who is getting too little quality sleep may experience a range of symptoms including: fatigue, irritability, mood changes, difficulty focusing and remembering, reduced sex drive
In1965 , an experiment was conducted where a high school boy stayed up for 264 hours or 11 days. He slowly lost focus of the eye, became moody and irritable, he stopped sensing stimuli and could not concentrate or retain memories. We grow sleep due to signals from our body hormones like melatonin and adenosine that send us into a deep doze.
During the night, you cycle through two types of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Your brain and body act differently during these different phases. During non-REM stages, your body-Builds bone and muscle, Repairs and regenerates tissues, Strengthens the immune system. When you enter REM sleep, brain activity increases again, meaning sleep is not as deep. The activity levels are like when you’re awake. That’s why REM sleep is the stage where you’ll have intense dreams. Usually, REM sleep arrives about an hour and a half after you go to sleep. The first REM period lasts about 10 minutes. Each REM stage that follows gets longer and longer.
Sleeplessness may result in inflammations, hallucinations, high blood pressure and is also related to obesity and diabetes and obesity along with impairment in memory mood, reaction time etc.
How does sleep deprivation cause such immense effects?
Our brain collects a lot of unwanted information during the day that can be proceed as useful and waste while we sleep. Our brain uses a lot of energy source that leads to build up of adenosine, which increases the urge to sleep and caffeine blocks the pathway of this that causes us to be awake. Waste products if not cleared away overload the brain leading to the negative symptoms of sleep deprivation. A glymphatic system is present in all which acts as a clean-up machine that removes this build up and is active mostly when we are asleep. hence if the brain doesn’t get its sufficient recharge it could lead to dire consequences like insomnia and other fatal disorders that a person can develop. For now, we can be sure that slipping into slumber is a necessity to maintain our health and sanity.
Sleep deprivation can harm a person’s mental and physical health, their performance at school or work, and their overall quality of life. Also, a persistent lack of sleep can lead to complications or indicate an underlying health problem, such as sleep apnea or anxiety. Anyone who is concerned about a lack of sleep should contact a medical professional.