Sleep Deprivation – Why Do We Get It And How Do We Get Rid Of It?

Sleep deprivation- It’s a big problem our western culture has. In our younger years, we’d have to fight to stay up all night and now we are fighting to keep our eyes closed to doze off. Forty seven percent of American’s are getting less than a 7-8 hour sleep. A quick answer to our sleep deprivation diagnosis is usually insomnia. Really we need to start thinking of smaller issues like that large cappuccino we downed before supper or maybe how hot it is in the house. Sleep is very important for our bodies to process the information we have obtained throughout the day. This is a time where our memories are being developed from things we have learned and also endocrine and immune system activity is in action.

There are many diseases or conditions that also have a toll on our sleep. Cancer, diabetes, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, and back pain are just some.

Caffeine can be a big reason on why we lose our sleep. According to what I learned on emsafety, actually sends signals to our brains that block the sleep inducing hormones to our biological clocks. The best way to prevent this substance from affecting our zzz’s is to limit our intake- which should be about 16 ounces a day. Also ALWAYS drink in the morning or at least try to quit around lunch time. At least this will help to limit the amount of caffeine you still have in your system when it’s time to “hit the hay.”

Light, as no surprise, is another sleep killer. Melatonin is a hormone produced in our body that sets our biological clock and produces the initiation of sleep. Light stops the production of melatonin being produced, therefore blocking our sleep. So next time before you go to bed, try shutting off the T.V., laptop, and phone and wind down in a little darkness before you get into the covers.

Temperature is another factor to our sleep. Colder temperatures also stimulate a better production of melatonin to induce our sleep. Try taking a hot bath so when you come out, you have a cold rush that will help out this hormone. Or you could simply just turn down the temperature to that cool, medium!

group yawning

You know those times when you wake up in the middle of the night and start worrying you will never get back to sleep? The worries or stress may get the worst of you! By simply calming yourself, getting up to go to the washroom, or doing a small task like praying could calm your brain down and make you ready to go right back to sleep. Also try not to spend time in bed unless you are going to sleep, like the times when you’re sitting for a few hours in bed reading a book or watching T.V. The fact that you’re in bed and resting already may have something to do with your tough time getting to sleep. The mattresses thickness should meet your needs. OH yeah, and as for the worries and depression, try to think positively and try some meditation techniques. This may help your ability to fall asleep.

Alcohol is known to help you pass right out, although it does have symptoms of disrupted sleep by waking up and having a hard time getting back to sleep. For the ladies, research has shown it’s worst for us! Try not to excessively drink, or drink earlier in the evening to avoid these effects.

Four random foods that surprisingly help well with activating your fatigue:

  • A bowl of cornflakes
  • Cherry juice, preferably tart
  • Trail mix with pumpkin seeds
  • White carbs; they can be good for something

Most of these foods have tryptophan or minerals that are melanin inducing. So give ‘em a try!

With the right amount of caffeine, light, temperature, alcohol, foods, and managing anxiety levels, you may have a good cure to your lack of sleep. Also check into any diseases or conditions you have been diagnosed for and see with your doctor what may help for your case.

Foley, D. (2013). Still awake at 3 a.m.?. Good Housekeeping, 256(1), 89.

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Comments

  1. Hi,

    I hit this article when looking for a relation between progeria and sleep deprivation. I would not be surprised if the sleep EEG of a Progeria patient would show NO or at least very reduced SWS phases, but I can not find any proof of this on the web. As you mention ‘progeria’ in your reply I was hoping you might have some information on this?

  2. Interesting! Could do with better quality sleep more often! :)

  3. A rather good post here.

    As some one, who has been trained in the field of health, I notice you have put on the foods too. Hardly anyone notice the effects of certain food groups, that can cause sleepless nights.

    I’ve found going for a walk or something , a few hours before bed time and a set time after eating your last meal, helps burn off that extra.. It can help [well has to me] get more decent sleep and it is good for you.

  4. i probably needed this one so much
    considering the insomnia and indolence ruling my life since the past few days
    thanks for this one :)

    btw how do i follow your blog? couldnt find the option

  5. I find that light really effects me when I sleep. I’m trying to get into the habbit of leaving my laptop in the living room when its bed time. It’s just the little things really.

  6. All good advice. I suspect (no research here -purely personal and anecdotal experience) that a very large percentage of our collective problem going and staying asleep is largely the same as our collective problem with obesity. People don’t DO enough stuff every day. We’re supposed to DO stuff. We can eat less calories but that doesn’t change our fundamental design, and deviating from our basic need to be active is bound to have all kinds of bad effects on us. Personally, my sleep problems completely vanish when I get enough exercise and I’m a total caffeine junkie. Again, just me. Good article.

  7. Should I feel lucky that even though I am far, far away from my childhood, I still easily sleep 8 interrupted hours :)?

  8. Awesome blog. Do you think people dream in color?

  9. This is so true and to have someone explain why and how to get more sleep is better! Thanks

  10. Sleep deprivation is my biggest enemy (he says, posting at 2:15 AM). Ever since I was a kid, I’ve struggled to get enough sleep. It’s amazing what I can accomplish when I do, but I always feel like I have a mental block!

  11. I cannot stand the lights from outside or even the LED on the alarm clock. I’ve been having to wear a sleep mask lately, the soft pillow-padded kind. Paired with the sound of rain from my phone’s sleep machine and a cold night makes for a good sleep.

  12. Quite enlightening! This is an excellent piece. Welldone!

  13. that photo of people yawning is wicked! did you take it?

  14. This couldn’t have come at a better time. 4-5 hours a night just won’t cut it anymore

  15. Just wanted to thank you. You inspired me to start warning people about the dangers of energy drinks! I had no idea they could do THIS! I still have my coffee, but I’m down to one cup in the a.m. And sleeping like a baby!

  16. A bowl of cornflakes??? Really? I’ll try that. But is it the milk that helps more or the combination of milk and cornflakes that aids sleep?

  17. Nice post!

    I heard about tart cherry juice on Dr. Oz helping those suffering from sleep deprivation. The Trader Joe brand is a must! Haven’t found a better tasting tart cherry juice.

  18. Love this article…I want to RB it on my site! Goes very well with the things I write about…good job here!

    Skip

  19. A really great post. Thanks a lot!

  20. Hubby and I are so sleep deprived and it’s definitely not healthy and scary for me as I have an hour and half daily commute to work!

  21. Awesome post, it’s really helpful! Especially for a current college student, sleep deprivation is pretty common, so these tips help a ton :) xxoo

  22. Interesting post. I think people drink way too much coffee! It doesn’t agree with me so its a treat rather than a daily need. It’s very true everything your saying.

  23. Great information here, thanks for sharing it. Sleepless nights are common writers’ afflictions. ;)

  24. great article kaitlyn, thx for posting!

  25. Liked it. I think you are into matters relating health. Well you can also include interesting facts about rare diseases like progeria, leukodystrophy, Proteus syndrome etc. These diseases are unknown to the common man and you could play a role in educating them in an interesting way like how did in this blog. The pictures were out smashing. Kept me reading!!

  26. Oh mylanta! Thank you SO much for posting this. I also struggle with sleep deprivation/insomnia (as you can see from the time I’m writing this! 12:42 am).

    I’m sure that living in a world where we have 24/7 access to lights, electronics and technological objects doesn’t help the situation. Long gone are the days of going to sleep when the sun sets and awaking when it rises.
    This is an awesome article! Thanks for sharing it!:)

  27. Without my Melatonin nightly, I am useless at work!

  28. Like the yawning picture! it’s contagious… haha And in Japan, celery helps in sleep. Not sure in any other country though.

  29. I think one thing was left out: technology in general. Unplug an hour before sleep if you can. (I know, I know, I’m probably the worst offender here but try.)

  30. You said it, friend!

    That picture is awesome, Hahaha.

  31. very informative. I love the photo of the group “yawning”!

  32. This is interesting, happy to have read this!

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