Over the years, many people have expressed dissatisfaction with their sleep patterns. Often people say that they do not feel that they get enough sleep at night, and they wake up in the morning not feeling refreshed. Pharmaceutical companies know that there are millions of people who do not sleep well throughout the night. As a result, there are a myriad of medications on the market that are being prescribed by medical professionals as well as being sold over the counter in supermarkets, pharmacies etc…
Medical professionals say that 8 hours of sleep per night is ideal for adults. Statistics show that 15% of adults between the ages of 19 to 64 report that they get less than six hours of sleep during weekday nights. An estimated 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 to 64 report that they seldom or never get good sleep during the week, and approximately 60% of individuals state that they are suffering from sleep deprivation every night. The most common complaints are snoring, waking up intermittently, and feeling tired in the morning.
Researchers say that the human body experiences two levels of sleep, which are NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement). Our sleep cycles begin with NREM, which occurs when we first fall asleep, REM begins about 90 minutes after the NREM cycle and subsequently recurs about every 90 minutes. NREM occupies about 75% of the night starting with light sleep, which is between sleep and wakefulness. This is followed by the onset of sleep in which we become unaware of our surroundings. At this stage, the breathing and heart rate become regulated, and the body temperature is lowered. In the third and fourth stages, breathing slows down, muscles become relaxed, tissue grows and repairs, energy is replenished, and hormones are released. During the REM cycle, which occurs 25% of the night, the body becomes immobile, the eyes dart back and forth, dreaming occurs, and the brain and body are recharged.
So, the question is – How does sleep deprivation affect the human body?
The following are symptoms of not getting enough sleep during the night:
- Nodding off during the day, which accounts for 100,000 car accidents annually.
- Lowered cognitive functioning, which affects memory retention and increases the occurrence of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.
- Diminished sex drive, which is caused by lack of sleep that lowers the testosterone levels in males.
- Premature aging of the skin, which is caused by the flooding of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. As a result, cortisol breaks down collagen in the skin.
- Weight gain, which increases the risk of becoming obese by 30%.
- Increased rate of depression. A study in 2007 showed that people who experienced insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression.
Here are some helpful tips, which can significantly improve your sleep pattern.
- Establish and adhere to a regular bedtime regimen.
- Get up at the same time every day, which includes days off.
- Take a short 30 minute nap during the day, if you did not sleep well the night before. Try to avoid sleeping in past your normal wake up time.
- Stay active in the evening in order to avoid going to sleep too early.
- Make sure that that room is dark before going to sleep. Light sources emanating from the television, computer, smartphone, or tablet can reduce the production of melatonin in the body.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and nicotine during the latter part of the day.
Have you been having trouble sleeping? Contact Dr. Reed at (720) 504-3633 to schedule a FREE consultation.