Posts tagged sleep deprivation

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Problems caused by sleep deprivation

Some people choose to “get away” with less sleep, and this attitude is often rewarded in our society. But lack of sleep can actually make you less productive, even if you feel as though you’re getting more done. And sleep deprivation can do much more than hurt your productivity - it can damage your health as well.

Sleep helps your body to repair itself. It also helps your mind absorb and “file” the day’s learning. When we deprive ourselves of sleep, we notice the effects both mentally and physically. In the short term, these effects include:

·         fatigue

·         irritability

·         careless mistakes

·         difficulty concentrating

·         slower reaction times

·         increased stress

These short-term effects can affect our relationships, our performance at work or school, and our ability to enjoy life. They may even increase the risk of injury and accidents at work or on the road.

After only a few days of sleep deprivation, the body undergoes changes similar to “fast-forward” aging: memory loss, metabolism problems (with sugar and hormones), and poor athletic performance. If sleep deprivation continues over the long term, it increases the risk of more serious health problems, such as:

·                     a weakened immune system

·                     diabetes (the body cannot process sugar properly)

·                     depression

·                     high blood pressure

·                     obesity

The good news is that you can prevent these long-term problems by recognizing the early signs that you aren’t getting enough sleep, and increasing the amount of sleep you’re getting until you feel well rested. But remember: the greater the “sleep debt” that you have, the longer it will take to recover.


Filed under counselling psychology psychiatry therapy sleep sleep deprivation Insomnia online counselling college life mental health wellness mental illness

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Sleep Deprivation and Mental Health

We’ve all experienced a sleepless night - and know how it affects our mood the next day.  We feel out of sorts, are easily annoyed, and feel as if our problems are insurmountable. However, our perspective is restored by a good night’s sleep and we return to being reasonable and sane again!

This anecdotal evidence has also been researched, and scientific studies have confirmed that it is true – and that sleep deprivation affects our mental health.

For example, some studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania (Dinges et al., 1997) revealed that only receiving 4.5 hours of sleep a night for a period of a week led to subjects feeling more stressed, negative, angry, sad, and worn out. However, once they returned to normal levels, their mood improved significantly.

Perhaps of greater concern, is the long term effect of sleep deprivation on mental health. For example, we know that roughly one fifth of insomniacs will be diagnosed with major depression (Breslau et al., 1996). Also, they are at higher risk of anxiety disorders (Weissman et al, 1996) – and especially of developing panic disorders. In fact, the risk disorder is 20 times greater than is found in those who are not sleep deprived (Neckelmann, D. et al., 2007).

Thus, a chronic loss of sleep can affect how we feel and can also be linked to mental health concerns.  

Filed under Christian counselling anxiety disorders counselling feelings insomnia medicine mood online counselling college panic disorders psychiatry psychology self help sleep sleep deprivation sleep disorders therapy mental health information