Jul 23, 2019 | Updated: 09:15 AM EDT

Sleep Deprivation is as Dangerous as Starvation, Says Experts

Jun 18, 2019 05:31 PM EDT

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The effects of sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on your health. A lack of sleep can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, and mood swings. One of the dangers of sleep deprivation is that a lack of sleep can make you sick. Not getting adequate sleep can even increase your risk of diseases such as cancer, and can lead to premature death.

Most people need between 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. Having trouble falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or certain medications can hinder your sleep patterns. The effects of long-term sleep deprivation can cause you to feel constantly groggy, irritable, and in a bad mood.

Sleep deprivation happens when you don't get enough sleep for your body to function properly. Unfortunately, facts on the prevalence of sleep deprivation show that many of us are at risk of not getting enough sleep. Doctors from the NHS say that about 1 in 3 adults suffer from the consequences of sleep deprivation. Regularly sleeping less than 6 hours a night can put you at risk from the dangers of sleep deprivation such as diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, getting enough sleep is essential for good health. Sleep is a basic need of the body, and the effects of sleep deprivation can be as serious as not eating or breathing. Not sleeping enough affects your physical and mental health and can lead to loss of productivity and serious injury.

There are also different stages to your sleep - rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep and non-rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep is generally the time when your brain is active during sleep and your dream. Non-REM sleep is a deeper sleep when your body and mind repair themselves. One study found that sleep deprivation during different sleep stages affects your mind in different ways. For example, loss of sleep in the REM stage can affect learning ability.

Doctors from the Victoria State Government say that lifestyle choices often result in not getting enough sleep. Staying up late to socialize, watch TV, or work can start to impact negatively on your health. Making positive changes to improve your sleep quality will help avoid many of the risks associated with sleep deprivation. Getting a good night's sleep improves your health, boosts your brain function, and helps prevent chronic diseases.

What can you do to get enough sleep every night? Here are some simple tips that doctors recommend for healthy sleep: Have a set bedtime and wake-up time every day, even on the weekends. Spend the hour before going to bed as quiet time and avoid bright artificial lights-such as a TV or computer screen. Don't eat heavy meals or drink caffeinated or alcoholic drinks before going to bed. Be physically active throughout the day, but avoid strenuous activity before going to bed. Or try some relaxation techniques with essential oils to help relax better.

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