Sleep Deprivation

On average we need 7 to 9 hours sleep a night. Recently we are sleeping less and your sleep quality is declining. This decline is partly explained by shift work and the increasing use of the Internet.

Your genetical make-up is important element, plus your lifestyle which includes consumption of coffee and alcohol. For coffee, it takes 20 minutes to have an impact.

If you are sleep deprived,  this will increase the chances of
- becoming obese
- getting heart diseases
- becoming diabetic (especially type 2)
- increased blood glucose levels, etc..

For example, if you average less than 5 hours sleep a night, obesity can become a problem. Also, linked with obesity is the health of your gut bacteria which will impact your nutrient breakdown and immune system 's performance.

Taking sleeping pills is at best a short-term solution to handle sleep-deprivation.  However, they can result in addiction and development of tolerance to them; this means you will need increasing doses to have the same impact.

Sleep is not negotiable as deprivation has negative impacts on your health and your ability to live and perform.

For many decades, sleep was regarded as for wimps!!!! It was a badge of honour to work long hours and have little sleep. This is all changed with research showing the importance of both quality and quantity of sleep.
"...women typically need more sleep than men..."
Arianna Huffington, 2016

One study reported in Science Magazine discovered a genetic mutation which estimates that around 5% of the population can show no signs of deterioration when having far less than the mandatory 8 hours of sleep per night (source: Julie Birchill 2018)

Signs of sleep deprivation include irritability, indecision and been quick to anger. Even moderate sleep deprivation increases anger and compromises people's ability to bounce back from adverse events, eg reducing normal sleep by 5 hours over 2 nights is likely to make people more aggressive and reduce their ability to adapt to frustrating circumstances. It has been suggested that it could slow the body metabolism. Even small amounts of lost sleep will result in people being less cooperative in their personal and professional relationships, and cause overactions to small, non-personal sleights. The link between anger and sleep loss is thought to be linked with - fatigue - negative mood and distres.

"...There is evidence to show "...people who are prone to anger, sleep less well. Their anger can arouse psychological changes in their body that interfere with sleep..." Jill Margo 2018 "...the longer people are awake, the less able they take in everything that has happened while they are awake. It's an ironic sense of diminishing returns..."
Zlatan Krizan as quoted by Jill Margo 2018

Thus regularly getting up early and working back late every evening will not increase productivity. As each additional hour of wakefulness has less quality, people engage less, perform less, and understand less!!!!! For example, nurses on night shift make 30% more errors than others on day shifts. At the same time, there is a tendency for people to bounce back and return quickly to a really stable level of happiness. Our sleep patterns conform overall cycles, eg most people feel an afternoon dip. Many people live with sleep debt and tried to develop new "norms" in their subjective assessment of sleepiness, eg a mother with a new born child could end up sleeping 4 to 5 hours per night. She will be okay in some parts of the day but research has shown that she will be performing far from her optimum.

"...Chronic sleep deprivation can be is very deceiving......people can feel sleepy but cannot discern how impaired their behaviour is......It's like alcohol. The drunker they are, the less they can tell how drunk they are..." Jill Margo 2018

It is important to develop the skills to identify when your reactions are being impacted by lack of sleep. Sleep loss acts on the brain in 2 ways
i) it increases the activity in the amygdale (integral for experiencing anger and rage)
ii) it creates a disconnect between the amygdala and the area of the brain that regulates its functions. This results in increased negative moods and a decreased ability to regulate the mood. More research has demonstrated that sleep-deprived people report feeling less friendly, elevated or empathetic.

"...deprivation seemed to put a damper on their ability to read the emotional benefits of a positive experience, such as personal achievement..."
Zlatan Krizan as quoted by Jill Margo 2018

Perceived and actual sleep deprivation
People find it hard to judge the difference. Some people have developed an insomniac identity and underestimate how long they have slept and get anxious and distressed.

"... Research has shown subjective sleepiness accounts for 50% of the experimental effort of sleep restriction on anger..."
Zlatan Krizan as quoted by Jill Margo 2018

The subjective sleepiness can have a greater impact than the actual lack of sleep. Even if they get enough sleep, they wake up with the same fatigue, depression, anxiety and hypertension as though they have genuine sleep deficit.

Most of us need around 8 hours sleep per night. Only 5% of people possess a "short sleep gene" and are able to handle less than 6 hours a night (Patrick Durkin, 2014a)

The most common cause of bad sleep is anxiety about the next day.

It is best to switch off your phones from 10.30 pm to 7.30 am so that you get the right amount and quality of sleep.

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