Sleep Deprivation

Going Far With Sleep Deprivation – Can It Cause You Death?

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death caused by sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can cause you death! It may sound beyond belief but it is one of the health concerns which you should be worried about if you are not sleeping enough.

Death can be the ultimate consequence of sleep deprivation, so better watch out before it’s late.

Defining sleep deprivation – overview

The need of sleep for every individual is different and also varies with age and gender. An average adult should sleep for at least seven hours per day to maintain harmony of body and mind.

If you fail to obtain that required amount of sleep, you will be compromising on your health and be ill with ill effects of sleep deprivation.

These may be due to disrupted sleep or sleep restriction and can result in poor daytime alertness and many other health problems.

If you are not able to sleep for required number of hours for a couple of days then it is termed as acute sleep deprivation but if the problem exists for months, it is known as chronic sleep deprivation and is a major reason for worry.

Are risks of death associated with sleep deprivation?

Occurrence of death due to chronic sleep deprivation is very rare.  Certain disorders like familial insomnia can lead to such a situation. It is a genetic disorder where the person is not able to sleep at all and with continued fragmented sleep, he can ultimately die.

There have been numerous studies made on sleep deprivation and its fatal consequences which involve experiments done on animals.

These studies show strong evidence that prolonged sleep deprivation could lead to deadly results, thereby, stating the importance of sleep for well being and life.

Apart from these, there are several cases of road accidents and work injuries resulting in high loss of life due to improper sleep.

Traffics accidents and sleep deprivation

Falling asleep behind the wheels, loss of concentration while driving and lack of attention are some of the consequences of sleep deprivation that are problematic.

Studies have proven that sleep loss or poor quality of sleep has adverse effects of driving abilities and safety of a person. Sleep deprivation is as bad as drunk driving when it comes to road accidents.

There are many factors that have been identified for increasing the risks of road accidents when deprived of sleep. Sleeping for less than seven hours at night, having poor quality or fluctuated sleep and excessive sleepiness at daytimes are few to name.

It is proven that driving at night is more dangerous than driving in daytime when sleep deprived.

For people like long-haul truck drivers, travel drivers etc. it is very important to have proper and good quantity of sleep for safety while driving, although this follows for each and every person driving.

If you are making plans to drive at night, then sleep well in day. This will help you stay up and alert at night and will also improve your vision and safety during your journey.

Sleep deprivation can also cause work accidents and injuries

Just like road accidents, accidents and injuries at work place are also common with sleep deprivation. Some of the bus, plane and train accidents that we read nowadays are outcomes of sleep deprivation.

The work shift system is the major culprit for such incidents. When we are meant to sleep, we are actually awake and exhausting our body more by working.

The risk of accidents for shift workers is always on the higher side, unless they follow normal sleep pattern which involves regular sleep and fixed sleeping and waking times.

The more irregular and sleep deprived you are, more are the risks of accidents and thus imperiling your health.

Oil spill in Alaska and Chernobyl nuclear disaster are few disaster which are the results of sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep can risk your cardiovascular health

Having insufficient sleep or bad quality sleep may amplify your peril of cardiovascular disease, including heart stroke.

Research says that if you are sleeping for less than five hours at night, you are more likely to suffer from heart attack than normal person sleeping for seven hours, on an average. This theory applies on both men and women.

Also shift workers sleeping for fewer hours have poor circadian rhythm and thus having high risk of cardiovascular disease.

The relation between sleep deprivation and high risk of heart diseases is explained in terms of inflammatory process in the body.

The C-reactive protein is a chemical that is generated inside the human body and is responsible for inflammatory actions.

When we have insufficient sleep at night, the levels of this protein increases in the blood, damaging the inner lining of the blood vessels and thus leading to atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is narrowing and hardening of blood vessels which can ultimately lead to heart attack. The inflammation in blood vessels can also cause restriction in flow of blood, resulting in untimely strokes.

Apart from stroke and heart disease, risks of hypertension and diabetes are also the reason of concern if you are sleep deprived. Stress is one of the factor that may cause sleep deprivation but is it also the result of same.

Sleep deprivation and obesity

Insufficient amount of sleep can adversely affect the rate of body metabolism and hamper digestive system to a great extent, thus keep a person at higher risk of obesity.

Studies prove that if a person is not getting enough hours of sleep in a day, then he or she can suffer major weight problems including obesity, which can further cause serious damage to health including cardiac break down and ultimately death.

The food which we eat needs time to digest and convert into energy inside the body. While a person is asleep, this mechanism goes on properly.

But when the sleep is inappropriate, then you might have to face serious health issues which can increase your weight and make you an obese.

If we keep the risk of death linked with extreme sleep deprivation at distance, there are still many more reasons that we should sleep and rest for at least six to seven hours a day. Failing the same can jeopardize our health.

Tips for improving sleep

A good night sleep and proper rest during the daytime is very important, not only for a healthy body and mind but also for safety of life. The following tips might help you in getting proper sleep and thus get over your sleep deprivation.

  • Having a regular sleep pattern is very important. One must go to bed and wake up at fixed time to maintain a harmonious body clock.
  • Have at least seven hours of sleep per night, which means you need to spend adequate time in bed. This number varies for adults and children and is important for both for a good health and sound mind. Sleep well and grow up health and wise.
  • You must know bed is made for sleeping not for lying and watching your favorite football match or work on your laptop or talk on mobile phone. Don’t waste your bed time in such activities.
  • Have a small stroll and relax before going to bed. This will help you lighten up your mind and sleep well.
  • Have a comfortable bed and surroundings while sleeping. A comfortable sleep is the best sleep.
  • Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes and caffeinated drinks like cold drinks, coffee etc. They inhibit in normal sleep and cause discomfort and thus lead to improper sleep.
  • Whether you are working the whole day or are free, avoid taking naps. You can simply close your eyes for some time, but make sure you don’t fall asleep other then at night.
  • Don’t just lie on bed watching the fan or clock. If you are not able to sleep, go out and have fresh air for some time. This will help you relax and sleep after that.
  • Unless prescribed by your doctor in extreme conditions, you must not take sleeping pills or any medication which induces sleep. These will only make you an addict and you will not be able to sleep without taking them.
  • Try yoga or meditation to calm your mind. Exercise can also help in having good quality and quantity of sleep at night.
  • Having fixed sleep pattern is not just the thing you need. You should also eat well and in time. One must have dinner at least four hours before going to bed for proper digestion and comfortable sleep.
  • Take medical help without delay. If you are having hard time sleep, see your doctor soon.

Sleep is as important as food, water and air and thus needs to be taken care of. If you think you can work more by staying up late, then you are putting your health at great risk so avoid staying up late and enjoy a good, relaxing night tie sleep.

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_deprivation

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/scary-sleep-deprivation-effects_n_2807026.html

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