What Happens To Your Body When You Sleep
When you sleep, your immune system releases cytokines which help suppress infection and reduce stress in the body. Getting good sleep is therefore essential for the body to heal itself from the wear and tear of the daily grind. When you are sleep-deprived, your body doesnt produce enough of the things it needs to fight infection and repair cells.
Sleep is also known to bolster immune memory. While you sleep, the components of your immune system interact with each other to strengthen the immune systems memory to identify and react to harmful antigens.
How To Set Yourself Up For Success
Take a good look at what could be getting in the way of your sleep success. Lumps, valleys, or even tags on your mattress could cause wakefulness. If chronic pain is an issue, you may need a mattress thats designed for your preferred sleep position. Today, you can research and purchase mattresses online and have them delivered to your door to make this process easier.
Other environmental factors like noise, light, and room temperature could also interfere with your sleep. Plush accessories and blackout curtains can help absorb sound while a motion activated nightlight can help keep light to a minimum during the night. Most people sleep more comfortably in a room kept between 60 to 68 degrees to allow the natural drop in body temperature at the onset of sleep.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy’s a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.
Diarrhea Upset Stomach And Ulcers
Your brain and gastrointestinal system are directly linked. Depression, anxiety, and stress have been shown to affect the movement and contractions of the GI tract, which can cause diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
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Lack Of Sleep And Fevers
Sleep loss not only plays a role in whether we come down with a cold or flu. It also influences how we fight illnesses once we come down with them.
For example, our bodies fight infection with fevers. âOne of the things that happens when we sleep is that we can get a better fever response,â Balachandran says. âThis is why fevers tend to rise at night. But if we are not sleeping, our fever reaction is not primed, so we may not be waging war on infection as best we can.â
Is Sleep Deprivation Different From Insomnia
While both insomnia and sleep deprivation involve failing to get enough sleep, many experts in sleep science make a distinction between them. People with insomnia have trouble sleeping even when they have plenty of time to sleep. On the other hand, people with sleep deprivation dont have enough time allocated for sleep as a result of behavior choices or everyday obligations.
An illustration of this difference is that people who are sleep deprived because of a busy work schedule usually have no problems sleeping longer on weekends to try to catch up on sleep. Someone with insomnia, though, still struggles to sleep despite having the opportunity to do so.
There can be considerable overlap between how sleep deprivation and insomnia are described, but patients should be aware that their doctor or a sleep specialist may use more specific definitions.
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Sleep Deprivation Drains Mental Capacity Risks Physical Health
Sleep deprivation is the result of regularly not getting enough sleep, which keeps your body from recovering physically and mentally from your day. Without adequate slumber, your brain and body have a hard time functioning normally. During a restful sleep, your brain creates new neurological connections that help with memory, and your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance.
When you dont allow time for these systems to restore, virtually all your physiological systems stop functioning optimally, and it can seriously affect the quality of your life. Whether youre not allowing yourself enough time to get adequate shut-eye, or you have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from sleeping restfully, you experience symptoms such as:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Easily falling asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow
- Nodding off while sitting at the table during meals or a work meeting
- Trouble thinking and concentrating
- Excessive yawning
- Low sex drive
Chronic sleep deprivation can also put you at a higher risk of developing health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. And, it can make you more prone to accidents as a result of poor coordination and balance, or contribute to car accidents, since your mind isnt as alert when youre behind the wheel, driving tired.
Research also indicates that if you sleep less than 6-8 hours each night, it can literally take years off your life by increasing your risk of early death by 12%.
Muscle And Joint Pain
Theres a confirmed link that depression can cause pain and pain can cause depression. Back pain and other joint and muscle pain are common physical symptoms of depression.
Depression and other mood disorders have been shown to alter pain perception, which can trigger or worsen pain. Fatigue and loss of interest common in depression can lead to being less active. This inactivity can cause muscle and joint pain and stiffness.
Finding relief from physical symptoms of depression may require more than one type of treatment. While some antidepressants may also alleviate some of your physical symptoms, such as pain, other symptoms may need to be treated separately.
Treatment may include:
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Eating Can Make You Feel Better But Not Wake You Up More
If you’ve got that churning feeling in your stomach from being tired, having a snack can help you feel better, says Gorica Micic from the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, but it won’t cure your tiredness.
And if you reach for a chocolate bar to help you get through, it might make things worse in the long run.
“Eating sugary foods will give us an immediate boost in energy, but then it is generally followed by a quite steep drop in energy,” she says.
- Verdict: Having a snack can help your body feel better, but it won’t wake you up.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Lack Of Sleep
There can be many symptoms and side effects of a lack of sleep. The superficial ones include excessive sleepiness, irritability, and daytime fatigue, but the major side effects can be much worse than that. A lack of sleep can compromise the immune system along with the central nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, and respiratory system.
All that can have extreme symptoms and consequences ranging from difficulty concentrating to microsleep, a condition that causes people to fall asleep randomly for seconds or even minutes during the daytime. This can be very dangerous, especially for people who drive during the day. A possible consequence of a compromised respiratory system is obstructive sleep apnea. This can affect sleep throughout the night and even lead to fatal health conditions like heart disease. Here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders, were fully capable of treating conditions like sleep apnea, as well as other conditions that can affect sleep, like TMJ disorder.
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Healthy Brain Function And Emotional Well
Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.
Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.
Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.
Address Sleep Deprivation Dont Cope With It
Many people get insufficient sleep because they accept sleep deprivation as normal. Rather than take the necessary steps to sleep more, they drink caffeine or energy drinks, nap, or simply try to power through.
None of these approaches is a sustainable solution to sleep deprivation. They may help get through the day, but the cumulative effects of sleep deficiency will still take a toll both in the short- and long-term.
For this reason, it is important to refuse to accept a lack of sleep as normal and instead focus on sleeping more and getting higher quality rest.
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A Weakened Immune System
Think of your immune system as an army, always at the ready to protect you against the evil forces of infection and disease.
Just like an army, your immune system needs time to build its defenses. When youre sleeping, your immune system kicks into gear and prepares itself by building up substances that help fight infection.
Not getting enough sleep weakens your immune system by not allowing it to create sufficient protection. And when your immune systems defenses are down, your chances of getting sick go up. Lack of sleep also makes recovery longer when you do get sick.
Effects Of Sleep Deprivation
You can feel the effects of sleep deprivation after just one night of poor sleep. It is common to feel sleepy, and less productive at work or school. You may notice changes in your appetite that cause you to gravitate towards less healthy foods. This is your body responding to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. No matter how many energy drinks or cups of coffee you have, you may feel less creative and simply not at your best.
People who are sleep-deprived are more likely to take sick days, make errors, and get injured. For example, one study found that doctors who regularly work 24-hour shifts make 36% more medical errors than their well-rested peers. They also have double the chances of experiencing an automobile accident on their way home from work. Athletes operating on poor sleep have slower reaction times and may experience significant reductions in performance.
Long-term sleep deprivation is thought to cause changes in the brain that make it more difficult to recover. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with higher cortisol levels, lower testosterone, and increased inflammation, which in turn are linked to type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, anxiety, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
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Sleep Today For A Better Tomorrow
sleepMemory problemsHeart diseaseheart diseaseWeight gain and obesitysleep apneaDiabetesdiabetesDr. Michael Marino, DO, is a sleep medicine specialist in Bloomsburg. To schedule an appointment, call 800-275-6401.
Geisinger Health Plan may refer collectively to Geisinger Health Plan, Geisinger Quality Options Inc., and Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, unless otherwise noted. Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and HMO D-SNP plans are offered by Geisinger Health Plan/Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, health plans with a Medicare contract. Continued enrollment in Geisinger Gold depends on annual contract renewal. Geisinger Health Plan Kids and Geisinger Health Plan Family are offered by Geisinger Health Plan in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services . Geisinger Health Plan is part of Geisinger, an integrated health care delivery and coverage organization.
So Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Flu
A lack of sleep can compromise your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses like the flu. Research has shown that a lack of sleep causes stress hormones to inhibit the effectiveness of T cells in the body. These cells are immune cells that help the body fight against cells infected by a virus, such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells.
Also, during sleep, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines, and some of these cytokines need to increase when a person gets sick. A lack of sleep can affect the production of these cytokines, and this can have a significant effect on the immune system.
The bottom line is that if youre lacking in sleep, your immune system wont be as effective at preventing or fighting off viruses like the flu, so you might easily get the flu and suffer from its symptoms.
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Injuries And Work Accidents
Work accidents and injuries are more likely to occur overnight. A major risk factor for adverse effects of sleep deprivation involves shift work. Shift workers often sleep fewer hours than they need, and the sleep is often poorly aligned to their natural circadian rhythm.
Some major work-associated disasters have, in part, been blamed on sleep deprivation. A few well-known examples include the grounding of the Exxon Valdez and the resulting oil spill in Alaska, as well as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
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.
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Practice Healthy Sleep Habits Yourself
Sometimes the very fact of being chronically sleep-deprived can make it difficult for us to fall asleep even when an opportunity presents itself. Now is a good time to acquire a toolbox of things to try when you are having trouble sleeping yourself. Meditation, having a daily sleep-inducing ritual, journaling before bed, and breathing techniques before sleep can be very helpful.
Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Nausea
Although nausea isnt one of the more common symptoms of sleep loss, it can happen. Insomnia is a unique condition that involves the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. It also affects your daytime performance levels. Everyone responds differently to sleep loss. While one person might only feel tired, another individual may have nausea, dizziness or headaches.
Nausea might be a result of sleep loss, but many different factors can trigger it. It might be your bodys way of dealing with stress or telling you that something is wrong. Too much stress can make you feel sick. According to a 2008 study, perceived stress is positively associated with nausea and vomiting . So whether youre stressed over your inability to sleep or something at work is bothering you, you might start feeling nauseous as a result.
Research shows there is a strong relationship between stress and the gut. Stress can affect any body system, such as your sweat glands, urinary tract, or cardiovascular system. But your gastrointestinal system is especially sensitive to it. Common symptoms of stress may include indigestion, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea .
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Customize Your Bedroom Environment
Design your bedroom environment to be ideal for your relaxation. Youre less likely to avoid going to bed if your sleep setting is inviting and suits your comfort preferences.
Your mattress and pillows should offer plenty of support, and your bedding should help you feel cozy while maintaining a moderate temperature. To minimize potential sleep disruptions, try to make sure your bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible.
How To Treat Nausea
Several factors and conditions related to sleep loss can cause nausea. Some people get nauseous after drinking too much caffeine during the day to accommodate for their fatigue. Drinking too much caffeine can also make you dehydrated, which can leave you feeling nauseated. Likewise, some medications can cause nausea. According to WebMD, the following medications can cause nausea or vomiting :
- Narcotic pain medication
- Chemotherapy or other cancer treatments
- Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen
If you are on a medication that makes you feel nauseous or interrupts your sleep, ask your doctor to change your dosage or switch to another medicine. Staying hydrated can also help relieve nausea. Carry a water bottle with you and sip on it during the day. Limit caffeine by replacing coffee with herbal tea or water. According to a 2010 study, chamomile contains healing compounds that can help nausea among other gastrointestinal symptoms . Sipping on chamomile tea at night is a good way to reduce nausea and improve sleep.
Fresh lemon can be used to settle an upset stomach. A 2014 study found that lemon essential oil improved nausea and vomiting symptoms in a group of 100 pregnant women . Drinking lemon water, biting into a lemon or inhaling lemon essential oil can help reduce nausea. You can also slice open a fresh lemon and smell it for instant relief.
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