Coping with Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is as vital as food and water, unlike the other two, sleep is frequently neglected. Life is challenging. Sacrificing sleep and rest has become the standard in order to stay on track. Students habitually spend their nights awake studying for exams. In addition, quite a few consider pleasure more necessary than proper rest; thus young and old are prone to recreate into the early morning hours. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours a night. Unfortunately, many do not sleep this amount in three days. Four and five hours of sleep is becoming the norm as many allow themselves to become engrossed in late night programming, and night outings that robs the body of much needed sleep.

Lack of sleep can be blamed for a large percentage of automobile accidents and work related accidents When are bodies are exhausted, we tend to be less alert and our reflexes slow tremendously. Thus, in emergency situations, our body’s response may be delayed. Millions will admit to slipping into a daze while driving. They often remember leaving a destination; however they cannot recall the ride home. Falling asleep at traffic lights is also common among those who are sleep deprived. Many assume that falling asleep at the wheel could never happen to them. The truth is that no one is unshakable. The human body has undeniable needs. If these needs are not met, our bodies will shut down. This is usually the situation when drivers fall asleep. It only takes a driver dozing off for a few seconds for a serious accident to occur.

Understandably, a large number of people suffer from a sleeping condition that limits their sleep. Insomnia can be very frustrating for the sufferer. In many cases, the sufferer is extremely exhausted; still they are unable to enter a deep, relaxed sleep. Insomniacs may fall asleep quickly, however they awaken a few hours later and remain awake the remainder of the night. This sleeping condition can be due to medications, stress, sleep conditions, and so forth. Chronic insomniacs may rely on prescription sleeping aids. On the other hand, occasional insomnia may be cured with lifestyle changes.

Avoiding alcohol, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks prior to bedtime will decrease the chances of suffering from insomnia. Many will consume alcoholic beverages while socializing during the late hours of the night, and mull over why they are unable to fall asleep. Alcohol will relax the body; but it may also stimulate the mind. Thus, individuals who consume several glasses of wine, cocktails, and beer risk spending the rest of their night wide awake. Some also make the mistake of engaging in heavy workouts before they go to bed. Nevertheless, physical exertion fuels the body and hinders relaxation. The same is true with tackling large projects. Those who experience restful sleep attribute this to being in a calm, relaxed mental state hours prior to bedtime. Insomniac sufferers may consider removing or turning off distractions such as radios and televisions. Many need background noise to sleep, yet this once relaxing sleep aid could gradually become the root of sleeping problems. Noise can produce restless sleep, and result in a sleeper awaking several times during the night.

After nights of not sleeping, many make a bee-line to the drug store for sleep aids. These drugs are very effective with putting the body and mind in a sleep-state. Nonetheless, they should be taken with care. Sleep aids are extremely addictive. When taken over an extended period of time, the body may begin to rely on the drugs. This makes it more difficult to sleep naturally. In severe cases, sleep may not occur until the medicine is digested.

Many people complain of being tired, yet few are willing to slow down and rest their bodies. Understandably life is demanding. Individuals with a lot on their plate may discover that it is difficult to get at least eight hours of sleep. Today, many work full-time jobs, receive higher learning education, and care for a family. The only time they may have to tend to household chores or study is during the late hours of the night. At some point in time we all slight ourselves of rest. The danger lies when we allow this to become a regular habit. A healthy sleep pattern is essential to a healthy life. Healthy sleep generally involves the ability to fall asleep, and stay asleep naturally. Occasionally waking up during the night is not a problem as long as the sleeper can easily fall back asleep. Another indicator of healthy sleep is rising in the morning rejuvenated and energized.

Lack of sleep is very serious. Researchers have found that sleep deprivation can greatly speed the aging process. This condition also increases a person’s chance of developing heart disease and diabetes. Admittedly, scientists are not able to pinpoint the exact purpose of sleep. Many assume that sleep is the way our bodies refresh and repair themselves. Although unexplainable, there may be truth to the latter theory. For example, many habitually take naps to “sleep off” a headache. In addition, pain endured throughout the day has a miraculous way of disappearing during the night. Whatever the reason, sleep must be very essential to our existence considering that every living thing from humans to fish requires sleep.

Chronic sleeping problems deserve the attention of a physician. Insomnia interrupts a sufferer’s life, but it is generally temporary. Insomnia that lingers for several months may be an indicator of a more serious condition such as depression or severe anxiety. Two common sleep disorders that affect millions are sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Both conditions cause severe daytime sleepiness. The tiredness is generally unexplained and sufferers complain of brief blackouts. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea and narcolepsy fall asleep without warning regardless of location. Sleep episodes could occur at work or while driving. Sleep apnea is very serious because sufferers literally stop breathing for several minutes while asleep. Approximately 38,000 people die each year from complications due to sleep apnea. Fortunately there are treatment options for this condition. Sufferers can wear a mask while sleeping that promotes continuous breathing, or they can undergo one of several surgical procedures. Unfortunately, there is no cure for narcolepsy.

Better sleep is possible. The key is remembering the following tips:

Avoid alcohol, coffee, and caffeine a few hours before bedtime
Exercise regularly
Eliminate sleep interruptions (radio, television, open window, etc)
Limit naps to an hour
Consume few drinks prior to bedtime
Relax mind and body prior to bedtime (bath, aromatherapy candles, etc.)

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