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Can Sleep Deprivation Make You Sick

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Poor Sleep Affects Developing Fetus

Can Sleep Make You Smarter?

The developing fetus needs a reliable supply of nutrients, including oxygen. When sleep is disrupted, especially when blood flow to the placenta is compromised, there can be significant consequences.

Insufficient total sleep or fragmentation of deep sleep may reduce the amount of growth hormone released, which can lead to developmental or growth problems in the unborn baby.

It is well-understood that even minor declines in the oxygen levels of the mother may endanger the fetus. When the mothers blood oxygen falls, the fetus reacts with decelerations of the heart rhythm and acidosis.

Blood flow to the fetus is at its peak during sleep, and oxygen levels that drop during sleep as a result of sleep apnea will have a major impact.

Lack Of Sleep Kills Sex Drive

Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.

For men with sleep apnea, a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep, there may be another factor in the sexual slump. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002 suggests that many men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels. In the study, nearly half of the men who suffered from severe sleep apnea also secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.

Your Skin Isn’t Looking Good

Of all the places on your body, your face can truly show your age if you don’t take steps to keep your skin healthy. Those steps include common precautions such as maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in good fats, using UV protection, and perhaps most obvious, getting a good night’s sleep. In a 2014 Clinical and Experimental Dermatology study, experts found that poor sleepers had higher levels of trans-epidermal water loss, thus aging their skin more than good sleepers. Additionally, good sleepers had 30% greater skin barrier recovery, and had a better perception of their appearance and physical attractiveness compared to poor sleepers.

“When a good night’s sleep is hindered, you will look significantly more fatigued,” Flora Kim, MD, FAAD of Flora Kim Dermatology tells Health, citing dark under-eye circles, saggy eyelids, wrinkles or fine lines, droopy corners of the mouth, and paler skin. She says sleep deprivation can also cause occasional acne because it leads to circadian disruption, which translates to an abrupt biological change that creates an imbalance in your skin.

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How Much Sleep Is Enough

The first question is, How much sleep do we need? In general, we need less sleep as we age. Babies can sleep 15-17 hours per day, toddlers and preschoolers 10-14 hours. Elementary school children need between 9-11 hours, and adolescents 8-10 hours per day. For adults the recommendation is a solid 7-9 hours per night, with a slight decrease after age 65.

The problem is, we cant always get the recommended amount. Trouble sleeping, sleep apnea, a snoring partner, noise from neighbors or traffic, all influence how well we sleep. Some people have poor sleep habits like eating too close to bedtime or too much screen time in the evening. Travel schedules, changing work hours, taking work home, as well as too much stress can all compromise quality and duration of sleep.

Hormone Changes In Sleep Deprivation Impact Weight Thyroid Function


Sleep deprivation can have significant and important effects on the secretion of hormones from endocrine glands, especially those that follow a circadian pattern. A classic example includes the effect of sleep loss or disruption in children and the impact on growth. Growth hormone is secreted during slow-wave sleep, which is more common in the early part of the night in children. When this sleep is disrupted, either through inadequate sleep or from disorders such as sleep apnea, the amount of growth hormone released is compromised. As a result, children may not reach their full growth potential, becoming shorter than they otherwise would have been.

Sleep deprivation also seems to affect the activity of the thyroid gland. It is thought that the increased energy needs while staying awake for too long demand more work from the thyroid.

Fortunately, studies also suggest that many other hormones do not seem to be affected by sleep deprivation, including:

  • Cortisol
  • Testosterone
  • Progesterone

This may provide you some relief, but there is still a risk of major health effects from not getting enough sleep.

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Fever Dreams Like Lucid Dreams

Fever dreams have some similarities with lucid dreams because they both have a high recall value. They usually occur during the REM stage of sleep, when the brain is more active. The difference is lucid dreams are not linked to fever. They are sometimes controllable and dont always have a negative meaning to them. But fever dreams are almost always emotionally intense nightmares experienced during an illness.

You can train yourself to lucid dream, as lucid dreaming sometimes has some advantages, such as boosting creativity or dispelling phobias. Sometimes lucid dreams are used professionally as part of therapy. But fever dreams dont have any such advantage. Fever dreams are closer to nightmares or emotionally intense dreams with negative undertones due to fever.

How Much Sleep Do We Need To Stay Healthy

Doctors recommend that adults get 7 8 hours of sleep every night. It is important for our physical health and mental wellbeing. Sleep is a restorative resting period that the body needs to function properly.

In order to feel energized throughout the day and safeguard your health, you need to prioritize sleep. If you are unable to get enough shut-eye at night, try catching up with naps. Just 30 minutes of rest during the day can help decrease stress and reinvigorate the body. This can be an effective solution to keeping your immune system strong during cold and flu season. In the long term, getting enough sleep can also help decrease your risk for heart problems, diabetes and strokejust to name a few.

How much sleep do kids need? Learn How to Help Kids Get the Rest They Need Between School & Sports.

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Vital Sign Changes In Sleep Deprivation Affect Blood Pressure

Research studies have demonstrated that sleep deprivation may cause subtle changes in your vital signs. Vital signs are important physiological markers that are often tracked as part of a general health assessment. These include:

  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing rate

As an example, sleep deprivation may cause a small overall decrease in your body temperature. Changes in the other vital signs are relatively mild based on various studies. Seep-deprived people, when they do sleep, tend to have longer and more frequent pauses in their breathing called apnea.

Symptoms Of Sleep Deprivation

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  • Mood and behavioral changes, which may include anxiety, and depression
  • Problems with functions like planning, organization, and judgment
  • Psychiatric symptoms like paranoia, disorientation, and hallucinations
  • Difficulty concentrating. This can result in decreased reaction times, impaired work/school performance, or increased risk of car accidents
  • Physical effects, such as gastrointestinal symptoms, such as upset stomach or diarrhea and generalized discomfort, pain and aches.
  • Any interference in the natural flow of the sleep cycle can impact hormones such as growth hormone and thyroid hormone contributing to infertility
  • Increased risk for stroke. heart disease, and asthma attack
  • Diminished ability to combat infections
  • A small decrease in your body temperature, due to cold

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Make Time For Downtime

In our society, nowadays, people arent getting enough sleep. They put sleep so far down on their priority list because there are so many other things to do family, personal stuff and work life, Dr. Walia says. These are challenges, but if people understand how important adequate sleep is, and how to sleep better, it makes a huge difference.

Types Of Chronic Insomnia

There are two main types of chronic insomnia: primary and secondary.

Primary insomnia isnt due to other medical conditions or medications and is poorly understood by scientists. Specialized MRI scans are being used to study this condition. Primary insomnia may be related to changes in levels of certain brain chemicals, but research is ongoing.

Secondary insomnia is caused by other conditions or situations. This means that its a symptom that goes along with some medical issues, such as emotional stress, trauma, and ongoing health problems certain lifestyle patterns or taking certain drugs and medications.

Chronic insomnia can cause symptoms at night as well as during the day and can interfere with your ability to go on with your daily tasks.

Symptoms may include:

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Are You Getting Enough Sleep

If you are waking up frequently, having trouble falling asleep or consistently feeling fatigued during the day, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can provide you with a referral for sleep evaluation at a certified clinic in order to identify what is keeping you up at night. This is the first step in finding the best solution for you to get the rest you need.

Contact Sleep Health Solutions at to set up a consultation.

Dr. Rosenberg is specialized in sleep medicine and neurology. He is also certified by the American Board of Sleep Disorders Medicine and the American Board of Psychology and Neurology. Patients with a wide range of issues are referred for sleep studies and he works together with them to find effective solutions that fit their lifestyle.

How Can You Help Me At Your Clinic

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At our clinic, we can help you in a number of ways and address the underlying issue affecting your sleep. Wed like to see you for a consultation, so if youd like to come see us too, give us a call to book with us. If youd prefer to, you can book a consultation with us online at our Appointments page. We have multiple locations throughout the U.S. in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin.

At Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders, we would be happy to hear from you for any reason, so dont hesitate to reach out to us for help with your sleep. We hope to hear from you soon!

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What Exactly Is Sleep Deprivation

Knowing when you’re overtired isn’t exactly rocket science. You probably feel sluggish, weak, and unproductive. Your pesky under-eye circles may be more pronounced, and your cravings, stronger than ever. These characteristics are frequently attributed to sleep deprivation, a condition that happens when you don’t get enough sleep, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute but they’re not the only indicators that something’s up. Here, experts explain 12 different signs of sleep deprivation, and what you need to know about them.

Have A Pleasant Sleep Environment

Youre more likely to get quality sleep if your bedroom is comfortable and relaxing.

To create an ideal sleep environment:

  • Turn off electronics, including TVs and smartphones.
  • Keep the bedroom cool .
  • Use a comfortable mattress and pillow.
  • Cover up loud sounds with a fan, humidifier, or white noise machine.

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How Does The Immune System Affect Sleep

While sleep plays a critical role in immune function, the immune system also affects sleep in multiple ways.

Infections can trigger various responses from the immune system, including a lack of energy and sleepiness. This is one of the reasons why people who are sick often spend more time in bed and sleeping.

The nature of sleep changes during infection as well, altering how much time is spent in certain sleep stages. Specifically, the immune response induces more time in stage 3 non-rapid eye movement sleep, which is also known as deep sleep. Deep sleep involves greater slowing of bodily processes, allowing the immune system to utilize more energy to fight infection.

Fever is another important immune response. Higher body temperature can trigger new waves of immune defense, and it also makes the body more hostile to many pathogens. Some experts believe that sleep changes induced by infection are designed to facilitate fever and the bodys fight against foreign pathogens.

While researchers continue to study the relationships between sleep and the immune system, these effects demonstrate how closely interlinked they are and how the immune system can harness sleep to improve its ability to fight off infection.

Sleep Exhaustion Can Cause You To Make Fatal Mistakes

Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?

One of the most serious consequences of being chronically tired due to a lack of sleep is death.

Although it is virtually impossible to die from sleep deprivation, sleep exhaustion can cause mistakes that can have fatal consequences.

For example, driving while drowsy due to a loss of sleep can cause serious car accidents. In fact, some studies report that about 12% of all vehicle accidents are due to sleepiness. Scientists say that even a modest lack of sleep can impair judgment and reaction time.

A 2015 report warns that medical professionals who suffer from sleep deprivation are more prone to making mistakes and put patient safety at risk.

Interestingly, one study found that rats who were totally deprived of sleep eventually died of a lack of sleep after 11-32 days.

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Lack Of Sleep Negatively Affects Your Digestive System

Wondering why you cant lose weight or you tend to eat too much at meals? Lack of sleep affects the hormones that control hunger and feelings of fullness. These hormones, leptin and ghrelin, tell your brain when youve had enough to eat. But, when you dont get enough sleep, your brain produces less of these hormones, so you eat more or snack late at night.

On top of producing less leptin and ghrelin, your body produces more insulin than you need after you eat. Higher insulin levels promote the storage of fat and increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. To make matters worse, chronically sleep-deprived adults are usually too tired to exercise, exacerbating your inability to lose weight.

Attention And Working Memory

Among the possible physical consequences of sleep deprivation, deficits in attention and working memory are perhaps the most important such lapses in mundane routines can lead to unfortunate results, from forgetting ingredients while cooking to missing a sentence while taking notes. Performing tasks that require attention appears to be correlated with number of hours of sleep received each night, declining as a function of hours of sleep deprivation. Working memory is tested by methods such as choice-reaction time tasks.

The attentional lapses also extend into more critical domains in which the consequences can be life-or-death car crashes and industrial disasters can result from inattentiveness attributable to sleep deprivation. To empirically measure the magnitude of attention deficits, researchers typically employ the psychomotor vigilance task which requires the subject to press a button in response to a light at random intervals. Failure to press the button in response to the stimulus is recorded as an error, attributable to the microsleeps that occur as a product of sleep deprivation.

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Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Affect Hormone Levels

Disrupted sleep patterns, going to bed late and waking up early, or poor sleep quality can have impact on hormone production.

According to the International Journal of Endocrinology, your hormonal balance depends greatly on sleep quality. Your sleep affects hormones such as thyroid hormones, melatonin, cortisol, growth hormones, and hunger hormones.

Sleep deprivation increases your risk of hormone-related conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and thyroid issues.

Getting enough sleep is one way to help address signs of a hormonal imbalance.

How Can I Treat A Sleep Disorder And Get Better Sleep

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For many patients, the underlying issue affecting their sleep is a condition like narcolepsy or sleep apnea. Some patients might not even know they have one of these conditions, so they could benefit from a sleep study which can determine whether the patients are suffering from a sleep disorder.

Sleep disorders require professional treatment, and we provide this here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. For example, sleep apnea can be treated with oral appliance therapy, a method of treatment that uses a simple oral appliance to prevent the causes of sleep apnea in the first place. Other disorders that affect sleep, like TMJ disorder, can also be treated with oral appliance therapy.

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Yes Your Sleep Schedule Is Making You Sick

Jet lag makes everyone miserable. But it makes some people mentally ill.

Theres a psychiatric hospital not far from Heathrow Airport that is known for treating bipolar and schizophrenic travelers, some of whom are occasionally found wandering aimlessly through the terminals. A study from the 1980s of 186 of those patients found that those whod traveled from the west had a higher incidence of mania, while those whod traveled from the east had a higher incidence of depression.

I saw the same thing in one of my patients who suffered from manic depression. When he got depressed after a vacation to Europe, we assumed he was just disappointed about returning to work. But then he had a fun trip out West and returned home in whats called a hypomanic state: He was expansive, a fount of creative ideas.

It was clear that his changes in mood werent caused by the vacation blues, but by something else. The problem turned out to be a disruption in his circadian rhythm. He didnt need drugs he needed the right doses of sleep and sunlight at the right time.

It turns out that that prescription could treat much of what ails us.

Of course, total sleep deprivation is impractical, to say nothing of the fact that you will crash back into depression as soon as you catch back up on sleep. It also just seems counterintuitive that taking sleep away can help someone feel better. After all, most of us think of sleep as comforting and desirable. So how does this work?

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