Alaska Sleep Education Center

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: Chapter 9

Posted by Guest blogger: Joe Smith, www.YooHealth.com on Oct 20, 2018 6:15:00 PM

Chapter 9

Complications of Sleep Deprivation

There are a number of complications and concerns that come with sleep deprivation. For one, it weakens your ability to handle reasoning, as that area of the brain is affected by lack of sleep. This part of the brain is known as the prefrontal cortex, and it is used to control the emotional section (the amygdala). As a result, sleep deprivation leads to emotions being processed in an abnormal manner.

It is also necessary to get enough sleep in order for the brain to learn. A lack of sleep causes difficulty in concentration as well as the ability to create new memories. If we stay awake all night or cut our sleep short by a significant amount, the body will not release the necessary hormones to regulate growth and appetite. Instead, it ends up with a cornucopia of stress chemicals, like cortisol.

In fact, research suggests that a shorter sleep duration can actually cause weight gain in both adults and children, with each hour of reduction in sleep time per day being associated with an increase of 0.35kg in body weight. These changes can then result in an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, and even strokes.

A lack of sleep can also have a massive impact on a healthy person’s ability to function emotionally and think normally, which can result in the following:

  • A reduced tendency to think positively
  • Poor moods and a decreased willingness to solve issues
  • Greater tendency towards superstition and magical belief
  • Decreased empathy and an increased intolerance for others
  • Poor impulse control
  • Inability to delay gratification

Those who are experiencing a loss of sleep are more likely to have increased feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. They are also more prone to feel powerless, like a failure, have low self-esteem, poor job performance, conflicts with co-workers, and an overall reduced quality of life. Many of these feelings remain even when stimulants are introduced to boost energy, like caffeine. Those who are sleep deprived are also more likely to score highly on scales for depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

There is also the risk of microsleeps when a person has become really fatigued. After around 16 hours of staying awake, the body will attempt to balance the need for sleep, and if a person does not get enough of it, the brain will find other ways to get the sleep it needs.

Microsleeps are an uncontrollable response that your brain has when you are deprived of sleep, and it renders a person completely unable to process any stimulation around you as well as sensory information for an incredibly brief amount of time.

Your eyes will tend to remain open during a microsleep, but you will be spaced out during it. The attacks come on suddenly, making it potentially dangerous to drive or operate heavy machinery during them. A microsleep will happen regardless of whether or not you try to stay away, and it is because of this that it is almost impossible to stay away for more than 48 hours.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 10: Habits to Avoid and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm, microsleep

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: Chapter 7

Posted by Guest blogger: Joe Smith, www.YooHealth.com on Oct 18, 2018 7:00:00 PM

Chapter 7

Precautions Regarding Treatment of Sleep Deprivation

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment - Yoo Health

If you are using sleep aids, as prescribed by your doctor, it is important that you know how to use them safely so that you can take any necessary precautions when treating your sleep deprivation.

You must first consult with your doctor about which sleep deprivation medications to use, the correct dosage, and the best treatment plan for you. At this point, a number of factors will be taken into account, including:

  • Your age
  • Other health factors
  • The underlying cause of your insomnia (if applicable)

This information is an essential part of learning how to use your sleep medication properly and responsibly.

You should also make sure that you do not grow to rely on sleep aids forever, and the majority of doctors will agree that they are not supposed to be used permanently.

Instead, it is up to you and your doctor to figure out long you should take the sleep aid for, and other potential treatments (like CBT) that might be able to help you get back into a good sleeping routine.

While there are some over the counter sleep aids that might help you in the short-term, it is important to remember that they are not supposed to be used for prolonged periods of time, or to fix insomnia.

You should also make sure you follow the safety guidelines on all medication you receive, and that you read the packaging carefully so that you understand potential risks and side-effects. You can also talk to your doctor about any precautions you need to take, especially if they are related to your personal health.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 8: Diagnosis of Sleep Deprivation and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm, treatment, remedies

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: Chapter 8

Posted by Guest blogger: Joe Smith, www.YooHealth.com on Oct 18, 2018 11:20:00 AM

Chapter 8

Diagnosis of Sleep Deprivation

As we have already discussed, sleep specialists state that the most tell-tale sign of sleep deprivation is feeling drowsy during the day. Even if a task is very uninteresting, you should be able to stay alert if you are not sleep deprived. If you fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, you are likely to have very severe sleep deprivation.

Those who have sleep deprivation also tend to suffer from micro-sleep,  a brief period of sleep experienced during waking time. A person is rarely aware that they have experienced micro-sleep and will simply view it as a few lost seconds. If you are driving while fatigued, you may not remember how you got to your destination.  This is an example of micro-sleep.

There are occasions it is a more serious, even life-threatening, sleep disorder like sleep apnea. If this is even a possibility, a sleep specialist may decide to conduct a sleep study to monitor your breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs over the course of the night. It also provides an excellent amount of information to help diagnose and treat your underlying conditions.

For the diagnosis process to begin, your doctor will perform a physical exam, including asking you for symptoms so that they can match them up with the ones we have already discussed. We’ve already mentioned much of the diagnosis process, and here are some of the tests your doctor might order:

Polysomnogram: a sleep study that evaluates oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep.

Electroencephalogram: a test that assesses electrical activity in the brain and detects any potential problems associated with this activity.

Genetic blood testing: a blood test commonly used to diagnose narcolepsy and other underlying health conditions that might be causing sleep apnea. 

If you believe you or a loved one is suffering through sleep apnea, call Alaska Sleep Clinic today to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists for your free sleep evaluation.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 9: Complications of Sleep Deprivation and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm, treatment, remedies, home sleep test, cpap mas

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: Chapter 6

Posted by Guest blogger: Joe Smith, www.YooHealth.com on Oct 17, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Chapter 6

Treatment of Sleep Deprivation

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment - Yoo Health

If a person cannot physically get to sleep, as a result of physical or psychological difficulties, treatment is required. Often, a therapist or sleep specialist will be the one to offer guidance and advice, as well as coping techniques for reaching a restful state of sleep. Generally speaking, there are two main treatment paths that can be taken – behavioral and cognitive measures, and medications.

#1 Behavioral and cognitive treatments

There are a number of excellent and effective methods for enhancing sleep that does not require any medication, and these can be found below:

Relaxation techniques: This is a progressive form of muscle relaxing that involves the tensing and untensing of different muscles in the body to help maintain calm. Additionally, medication, mindfulness, breathing exercises, and guided imagery can provide masses of help in this area. There is also the option to use audio recordings to help people fall asleep at night.

Stimulation control: This involves taking control of your activities before you go to bed, as well as your surroundings, so that you can moderate your sleeping patterns effectively. This means doing things like only spending time in bed when you are sleepy, controlling the association between being in bed and being ready to go to sleep.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This is an incredibly helpful type of therapy that has been designed to help people understand and change the thought patterns behind specific behaviors. It works to challenge irrational and unhealthy beliefs, while also promoting calm and positive thoughts. In this way, it can be used to help develop a better and healthier sleeping pattern.

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment - Yoo Health

#2 Medications

If a non-medicinal treatment has been ineffective, there are medications available that can induce sleep. There are some that can be purchased over the counter from your pharmacist, and others that can only be picked up with a valid prescription from your doctor. There is a whole load available, and your doctor will help you pick the one that should work best for you.

It should be noted that some people form a dependency on sleeping pills, and so it is important to try and limit the amount that you take and use non-medicinal remedies when and if you can.

#3 Home management

On the plus side, most of the negative effects of sleep deprivation are revered once you get the sufficient amount of sleep. The best treatment is often satisfying your biological need to sleep, preventing deprivation, and paying back the sleep debt that you have accumulated. You can also follow the sleep hygiene rules, which is something we look at in detail a little later on.

#4 Paying off the sleep debt

When you do not get the amount of sleep that you require, you will begin to accumulate sleep debt. So, if you need to sleep for eight hours and you only sleep for five, you have accumulated three hours of sleep debt. Every night that you continue to follow the pattern adds more sleep debt.

The only way you can erase your debt is to get more sleep, and it can take some time to fully recover depending on the amount you have accumulated. However, you will be able to feel the positive effects of paying the debt off very quickly.

In order to pay back your sleep debt, you need to start getting the sleep you need with the addition of an extra hour or so each night until the debt is paid. Once it is done, you can subtract the extra hour from your sleep schedule. As long as you are making a conscious effort to recover, it does not matter how many hours you have lost to sleep deprivation, and you will begin to feel better quickly.

However, if your sleep deprivation is ongoing and the negative symptoms persist even though you are practicing good sleep hygiene, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible to check for underlying health conditions.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 7: Precautions of Treatment of Sleep Deprivation and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, losing sleep, circadian rhythm, treatment, medication, remedies

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: Chapter 5

Posted by Guest blogger: Joe Smith, www.YooHealth.com on Oct 16, 2018 5:44:00 PM

Chapter 5

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment - Yoo HealthThe Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment - Yoo Health

When sleep deprivation occurs, it is because the person has not been able to get a healthy amount of sleep in order to function properly. Before we get into the specific causes, here is a quick and handy list for the recommended amount of sleep a person needs according to their age:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours each day
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours
  • School-age children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours
  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours
  • Adults (18 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours
  • Older adults (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours

Now, for the causes of sleep deprivation, for which there are many. First, you have the group of people (we all know one) that consider sleep as wasted time, and so they deprive themselves of it on purpose so that they can get on with other tasks like work, entertainment, assignments for school, or just chilling out. It’s not healthy, and intentional sleep deprivation is most commonly seen in teenagers and young adults.

On the other hand, there are those who unintentionally deprive themselves of sleep because they have demanding lives. Much of the time this is due to a job that has unreasonable overtime, family obligations, or shift work – which is a big player in the causes of sleep deprivation.

Consistently going to bed late and getting up late can cause sleep loss, as can frequently waking up in the night. Waking up too early can cause sleep debt that leads to deprivation as it accumulates over time. Additionally, conditions like depression and anxiety can cause a person to be unable to sleep well, or even at all.

Medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea and hormone imbalances can cause sleep loss. There are also chronic conditions like ME/CFS that cause an excess of oversleeping because the body is almost constantly fatigued, often leading to a vicious cycle.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 5: Treatment of Sleep Deprivation and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, losing sleep, circadian rhythm

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey: Part 2 (From the August 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine)

Posted by MICHAEL FINKEL, National Geographic Magazine, August 2018 on Aug 28, 2018 3:40:02 PM

Wile, the seven-year-old son of photographer Magnus Wennman, watches cartoons on his iPad— a modern bedtime ritual for some. The stimulation may drive off sleep, but so does the backlit screen: Light at night inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our daily biological rhythms.
 

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Topics: losing sleep, wellness, circadian rhythm, sleep deprivation

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey: From the August 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Posted by MICHAEL FINKEL, National Geographic Magazine, August 2018 on Aug 27, 2018 2:11:00 PM

Joe Diemand, 76, has spent the past 20 years as a truck driver, sometimes driving all night. Such work, he says, leaves you “so tired that you can’t sleep.” The World Health Organization has described night shift work as “probably carcinogenic to humans.

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Topics: losing sleep, wellness, circadian rhythm, sleep deprivation

6 Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders that May Be Disrupting Your Sleep

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Aug 25, 2018 4:54:00 PM

Your circadian rhythm is an ingrained biological clock that regulates the timing periods of tiredness and wakefulness throughout the day. Your body clock is calibrated by the appearance and disappearance of natural light in a 24-hour period. The term circadian is derived from the Latin "circa diem" meaning "approximately a day."

The functions of your circadian rhythm are based in the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. Within the hypothalamus are a group of cells known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is connected to our optic nerves that sense changes in light. The SCN is also responsible for regulating many body functions that revolve around the 24-hour cycle including: body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and the release of hormones such as melatonin which helps us with sleep.

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Topics: circadian rhythm, sleep disorders, sleep problems

Sleep: Why it’s Extra Important if You Have Cancer

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Aug 22, 2018 2:06:00 PM

For people living with cancer, sleep doesn’t always come easy.

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Topics: wellness, circadian rhythm, cancer, sleep deprivation

The Effects of Shift Work on Sleep

Posted by Stefanie Leiter on Aug 18, 2018 12:24:00 AM

Shift work is defined as schedules outside the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day. Roughly 15 percent of full-time U.S. employees work on shifts outside this traditional schedule. For many, shift work is part of the job as service occupations like healthcare professionals and protective services  are needed 365 days a year 24 hours a day. 

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Topics: work, circadian rhythm, losing sleep, get better sleep, life with sleep apnea, insomnia

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