Do you agree that taking a good sleep at night is necessary for overall health? Even a good night’s sleep could help people to recover from many diseases and injuries. But the most crucial question is how much we need to sleep to stay healthy. For this purpose, scientists are continuously trying to find the best insights. Many researchers have studied the sleep duration of different groups of people, including those who do not sleep much more.
A regular sleep schedule helps to stay healthy
Recently, a new study published in the scientific journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine suggested that maintaining a regular schedule for sleeping is necessary to stay mentally and physically healthy. This study also gives an insight that only three consecutive losses of night’s sleep can cause a significant deterioration of physical and mental health. Additionally, according to this study, even one inadequate sleep at night can lead to signs of sleep deprivation.
What is sleep deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is defined as getting less sleep than the essential time duration. Experts suggest 7 to 9 hours of sleep duration for adults each night. However, teens and children require even more sleep duration at night than adults.
In the field of medical science, sleep deprivation is based on sleep duration. However, sleep duration is the total time that a person spends asleep. Therefore, sleep deficiency often defines the factors that reduce sleep duration and restrict a person from being refreshed.
What are the symptoms of sleep deprivation?
The common symptoms of sleep deprivation are as follows:
- Processing memories
- Reduced attention span
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed thinking
- Risky or poor decision-making
- Lack of energy
- mood disorders
In addition to these symptoms, the Sleep Foundation reports described that lack of sleep may also increase the risk for many diseases. The severe condition may even result in early death. These diseases are as follows:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Poor mental health
- Hormonal abnormalities
Types of sleep deprivation
There are three types of sleep deprivation
Acute sleep deprivation
It can be defined as a short-term sleep loss, which usually consists of a few days or less. During this time, a person gets a remarkable reduction in sleep duration.
Chronic sleep deprivation
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it is also called insufficient sleep syndrome. It refers to a shortened sleep persisting at least three months or more.
Chronic sleep deficiency
It is also known as insufficient sleep. It involves constant sleep deprivation with the nights of poor sleep due to sleep disruptions or fragmentation.
What is the importance of a good night’s sleep?
Until now, there are a vast number of studies that recommend people to take a regular night sleep. But, unfortunately, they have also shown that fixing a sleep deficit is not as easy as people seem.
According to another recently published research, the researchers suggested that fifty to sixty years of elders who take only six or fewer hours of sleep at night had 30% more risk for dementia than those who take seven hours of sleep at night. This study was reported in a scientific journal Nature Communications,
Additionally, scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and the University of Colorado-Boulder found that sleep timing can remarkably affect mental health.
According to the researchers from the Mayo Clinic, maintaining a sleep-friendly environment and strictly following a good sleep schedule can help people get a night of better sleep.
Catching up on sleep only on the weekend is unhealthy!
Nowadays, everyone remains busy in their life. Yet, despite the importance of regular sleep at night in our physical and mental well-being, people often sacrifice their sleep first if they do not have enough time in their daily routine.
They do not sleep throughout the whole week. And, when the weekends come, they try to acquire the recommended sleep duration for the entire week. This strategy may be dangerous for their health.
Losing a single night sleep can badly affect daily activities
Soomi Lee is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida in the School of Aging Studies. She is also the author of this research paper. She said in a press release that most people think that they can recover their lost sleep on weekends and become more productive on weekdays. However, the findings of this study suggested that just losing a night of sleep has a significant negative influence on daily activities.
In this research, Lee studies this phenomenon. First, she analyzed big data collected from the Midlife in the United States Study. In this study, about 2,000 middle-aged adult participants took part. They provided data from their daily diary for eight consecutive days. With the help of these data, Lee compared the sleep hours of participants to their daily well-being.
Among all the participants, 42 percent of the adults experienced a minimum loss of one night’s sleep. It means they lost nearly one and half hours of sleep compared to their daily routine. Moreover, when the researchers analyzed the daily logs of their physical and mental well-being, they found that most of them recorded feelings of loneliness, anger, irritability, frustration, and nervousness due to sleep loss.
In addition to these results, one of the early findings of Lee suggested that even loss of just 16 minutes of sleep from the routine could prove to be unfavorable for the job performance.
Loss of sleep at night may also cause physical health issues
In addition to the participants’ daily activities, loss of sleep may also cause many physical health problems. Lee and his colleagues reported some physical symptoms in the participants who did not take recommended hours of sleep. For instance, the participants showed gastrointestinal issues, upper respiratory issues, aches, and other health concerns resulting from sleep loss.
The most interesting observation is that they found a significant increase in symptoms only after losing the first night of sleep. However, after the additional days of sleep loss, the rate did not increase as much as it increased after the first day.
Breaking a cycle of inadequate sleep at night causes substantial improvement of well-being
Lee and colleagues want to find the consequences of lack of sleep for eight consecutive nights. For this purpose, they also analyzed the data from the participants’ daily routine who sleep fewer than six hours across a few successive days. They found that participants get the most intensified symptoms just after the first night of sleep loss. And, after a few consecutive losses of sleep, the physical and mental symptoms remained higher. It peaked at the highest level on day three. On day six of consecutive loss of sleep, the body adapted to less sleep, and the symptoms worsened. It even grew more decline after the more consecutive loss of sleep.
Moreover, the symptoms of sleep deprivation did not drop back to the starting position unless the participants had a good sleep. And therefore, they took more than six hours of sleep at night. After an optimum sleep duration, researchers saw a significant improvement in physical and mental symptoms.
Outcomes of the research
These results suggested that people can improve their overall health by breaking a cycle of inadequate sleep. It would be a better option than trying to recover the sleep duration of entire weekdays only on the weekend. According to a survey, approximately one-third of adults do not sleep the recommended six to eight hours at night in the US. But instead, they sleep fewer than six hours.
The outcomes of this finding showed that even a little loss of sleep from the routine could remarkably decrease daily mindfulness. Thus, good sleep at night is essential for maintaining healthy routines and managing stress. She said that carving out time every night unless getting more than six hours of sleep could be the best way to maintain good mental and physical health. It will also improve job performance.
In the last, Lee said that if you become habitual of losing sleep, it would be challenging for your body to recover from sleep deprivation. It would result in many mental and physical issues. These issues can badly affect your work productivity and also cause long-term health concerns. Due to these reasons, Lee and his co-workers recommend taking at least more than six hours of sleep at night.
In the end, the researchers from the University of South Florida found that a good sleep at night may help people to recover from many diseases. In addition, they suggested that people need to break the cycle of insufficient sleep, as even one loss of sleep at night may result in symptoms of many physical and mental issues. They also found that even a minor loss of sleep at night could significantly decrease daily activities. Therefore, this finding suggested that a good sleep at night is necessary to maintain a healthy routine and manage stress.