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.

If you still feel that you are sleep deprived, then check out tips from nomadichustle.com which are guaranteed to help you.

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

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Why Do We Yawn And Why Is It Contagious?

girl yawning

Everybody does it. Sometimes it’s early in the morning, sometimes it’s the middle of the day and your at work or school and sometimes it’s at night. So what actually causes us to yawn?

Yawning is an involuntary action and once you start it’s pretty hard to stop yourself. A yawn is a coordinated movement of the thoracic muscles in the chest, diaphragm, larynx in the throat and palate in the mouth. It coats the lungs with a wetting agent (surfactant) to coat the alveoli (tiny air sacs) in the lungs. We generally cannot yawn on command and it is triggered by neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus of the brain.

Surprisingly even with all the time, science and technology we have today there isn’t a definitive answer! Yes believe it or not, we STILL don’t know exactly why we yawn! There are several leading theories but there aren’t any proven facts that highlight one above others.

Let’s go through a few of the main theories.

Yawning Gives Us More Oxygen And Releases Carbon Dioxide

There are theories on this benefiting the respiratory and circulatory system. Could we need more oxygen in our lungs or do we need to expel more carbon dioxide that has been building up?

Modern day evidence makes it seem unlikely that yawning is a function of the respiratory system though. The circulatory system however could be affected by yawning to increase blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen in the blood thus improving alertness and motor functions.

Yawning Cools The Brain

Recent studies have suggested that yawning could be related to brain temperature (Gallup and Gallup, 2008). Basically when the brain goes beyond the normal temperature, yawning could cool the brain. This may involve the body’s cooler blood flowing into the brain and warm blood circulating out through the jugular vein.

An odd contradictory in my opinion is that you are more likely to yawn in colder temperatures such as winter than in the warmer summer which I’d expect the opposite considering the environments temperature should affect a body as well.

Yawning Stretches The Lungs And Lubricates Them

The idea here is that stretching and yawning may be a way to flex the muscles, joints, increase your heart rate and feel more awake.

Along with this is the theory that yawning is a protective reflex that redistributes surfactant (oily substance) that helps lubricate the lungs and keep them from collapsing. This is supposed to suggest that if we didn’t yawn, taking deep breaths would become increasingly more difficult as time goes on.

Yawning Indicates A Change In Behavioral State

This would be associated with the change from wakefulness to sleep or boredom to alertness for example. This could potentially have a correlation with physical states as well, such as going from exercising or doing some activity like walking to sitting in a chair and not moving much for an extended period of time.

group yawning

So How Come Yawning Is Contagious?

This is an extremely interesting concept and one that tends to be true. If you are in a classroom or in a group of people somewhere and you visibly yawn, more than likely other people will yawn within 5 minutes of you. Even thinking about yawning can start to trigger this contagion.

One idea is that it is a physical signal that our bodies are saying it’s time to sleep or get up kind of like an internal 24 hour clock. If one person is yawning and then other people start yawning because of it, then they all may go to sleep around the same time and thus have a synchronized cycle.

Conclusion

The truth regarding yawning is that it is still a mystery. Even after all the time passed and resources available to us, we still don’t know everything about the eluded “yawn”. Most the theories seem logical and possible so it’s very interesting that a large scale official study has not been conducted to get the 100% correct scientific truth.

For now I’ll just say we yawn because our bodies are telling us we need more sleep to function properly, but that’s just me!

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