The Effects of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia

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					In a number of recent studies researchers found that around 25% of UK
residents suffer from sleep deprivation either due to stress, overwork or
a number of medical problems and lifestyle choices. But whatever the
cause may be, sleep deprivation as well as other sleeping disorders are
responsible for both minor and major psychological and physical
problems.Why Sleep is ImportantStatically speaking we spend around a
third of our lives sleeping. The human body needs sleep in order to
replenish its energy reserves and recover from illness or physical
activity, plus sleep also regulates a body's metabolism. However the need
for the brain to sleep is still pretty much a mystery. According to some
scientists even though our brains makes up just 2% of our body's mass it
consumes more than 20% of its energy. Some studies show that the energy
needs are further recharged when a person sleeps which also gives the
brain a chance to do a few maintenance related tasks. But sleep
deprivation disturbs this important process.Common Causes of Sleep
DeprivationSleep disorders can be often caused by temporary conditions
such as studying for an exam or adjusting to the timings of a new born
baby, but the long term sleep deprivation is often due to some sort of
sleeping disorder. Some of the most common causes of sleeping disorders
include medical conditions, biological factors, even lifestyle. There are
many commonly used drugs which can interrupt a person's sleep patterns.
Biological factors may include gender, age as well as any underlying
medical conditions like sleep apnoea and asthma. Lifestyle choices
include drinking alcohol late night and drinking coffee also impacts
sleep.Physiological EffectsThe visible effects as a result of a lack of
sleep can vary from severe to minor. In some mild cases of sleep
deprivation the symptoms may just be lots of yawning, headaches, aching
muscles and bloodshot eyes. More severe cases of sleep deprivation will
have some more obvious symptoms. These may include obvious peri-orbital
puffiness, trembling of the hands, episodes of irritability, temper
outbursts, delayed reaction time and blackouts.Mental Health and Social
Side EffectsSleep disorders can have social and mental side effects which
range from minor to downright life threatening. Common mental effects may
include lapse of memory, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, depression
and disorientation. Some severe cases of sleep deprivation may also
coincide with suicidal tendencies and thoughts. A lack of sleep can be
the contributor to lots of quality of life issues ranging from kids
disturbing their parents to inability to perform at work. Teens and young
adults are susceptible to a lack of sleep impacting their long term
mental work at school.Long Term Health RisksPeople who suffer from
chronic sleep deprivation will later on develop some long term health
risks. There are some risks which researchers have found which include
higher incidences of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, in
some severe cases psychosis may also take place. People who suffer from
symptoms may not recognize or realize that their problem stems from a
lack of good quality sleep.A Public Health ThreatA recent study into
sleep by the Sleep Alliance has declared that 20% of road accidents are
caused by drivers who are sleep deprived. A sleepy person driving is
quite similar to someone who is intoxicated as their reaction times and
decision making skills are the same. Another study in the UK showed that
43% of UK residents feel that their sleep deprived state has negatively
impacted their work and especially their advancement, since they are too
sleepy to pursue better business opportunities. This has resulted in the
NHS getting more funding for sleep studies.The human body and the mind
needs sleep in a sufficient quality. If someone is not sleep as they
should the symptoms of sleep deprivation becomes evident. Some ways to
alleviate sleep deprivation is to lose weight, reduce the intake of
coffee, and nicotine, people should also get some moderate physical
exercise. If the problem does not go away then a physician should be

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