Sleep Deprivation: Its Causes and how it Affects your Health…

It seemed appropriate to talk about sleep deprivation today, after we lost one hour sleep by setting our clocks ahead one hour this past weekend in honor of daylight saving time.  I find it simply amazing that one single hour can affect our lives so drastically.  When my children were small, daylight saving time would really send them for a loop, affecting their nap times and altering their internal clocks.  I thought adults would adjust better, but apparently there are a lot of people out there who do not adjust well, with shift workers at the top of the list.  I just heard on the news that within the three days following daylight saving time there are significantly more heart attacks reported.  On the flip side, in the fall when our clocks fall back and we gain one hour of sleep, there are significantly less heart attacks reported…

Sleep deprivation can be caused by hormone imbalance, sleep apnea, snoring, room temperature, stress/anxiety and sleeping conditions.  It is a known fact that sleep deprivation is the most common cause of many health issues affecting both adults and children, and yet I have the same argument with my teenaged son many school nights, about taking his cell phone to bed with him.  His argument is that the phone actually helps him to fall asleep.  I, on the other hand, believe electronic devices of any kind keep the brain stimulated, delaying and preventing a restful sleep.  Sleep deprivation is caused by many things, but I am sure stimulation by electronic devices is way up at the top of the list for many teens and adults.

If you are not getting an average of eight hours (more for children and teens) of restorative sleep a day,  your long term good health may be at risk.  In fact, it is now being suggested that sleep deprivation can be worse for you than lack of exercise….

If you research the causes of many illnesses or conditions including ADD/ADHD, (both childhood and adult forms) anxiety, depression and other psychiatric illnesses, heart problems, type II diabetes, obesity, brain fog, difficulty focusing and/or concentrating, poor/slow reaction time, memory loss, lethargy, irritability, headaches and loss of energy, just to name a few, you will find sleep deprivation at or near the top of the list.

Every part of our bodies need sleep to function properly.  Our cells rejuvenate and grow, our energy levels are boosted, our brains refuel with energy and reboot our memories, our aching joints and muscles repair and strengthen, and our organs release essential hormones, all when we are asleep.

This research has tired me out, I think I will take a nap to rejuvenate!

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