Studies suggest that one in three people suffers from poor quality sleep. That’s aside from a large number who don’t get enough sleep. Note that most of us need eight hours of sleep at night. Let’s learn more about the impact of sleeplessness and poor quality sleep before sharing a few solutions.
How long can you go without sleep?
The longest someone has lived without sleep was 11 days. However, the body needs sleep to recharge and repair itself. Furthermore, our brains need sleep to process information and emotional information. That’s why even three to four days of sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations.
But even one or two days with insufficient sleep causes irritability, cognitive impairment, and anxiety. Several days without enough sleep can contribute to delusions and paranoia.
How long can you go with insufficient sleep?
Insufficient sleep can be caused a number of ways. You may be living an unworkable schedule, allowing yourself just four or five hours a night when the average person needs seven to nine hours of sleep. You might be loading up on caffeine throughout the day, so you can’t fall asleep until after midnight.
Then you don’t get the full seven to eight hours of sleep you need, though you went to bed with time to sleep eight hours if your body would let you.
This situation has long-term effects on your body. It adds to your stress level, contributing to high blood pressure and heart disease. The body often fights the fatigue by craving sugar and carbohydrates. This is strongly correlated to obesity.
However, you can run into problems even if you get enough sleep if it isn’t of sufficient quality.
What can cause poor quality sleep?
Poor quality sleep occurs when you are trying to sleep but don’t get the deep, prolonged sleep your body needs. Waking up to go to the bathroom every hour or two is one form. Constantly getting up to take care of a crying baby is another. Tossing and turning in an uncomfortable bed or dealing with pain that makes it hard to sleep are unfortunately common causes of poor quality sleep.
Sleep apnea is a terrifying cause of poor quality sleep in many. Sleep apnea is when the airway is blocked while you sleep. The body starts awake to breathe again, though you may not realize it. This doesn’t just prevent a proper night’s sleep, but the interruptions in oxygen intake contribute to brain damage over time.
Sleep deprivation makes existing respiratory diseases like chronic illness worse, whether or not you have sleep apnea.
Sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep may be due to an underlying problem. Movement disorders like restless leg syndrome are one such condition.
What happens if you have poor quality sleep?
01. Daytime drowsiness is a common symptom when you’ve had poor quality sleep. One sign is when you need a nap in the middle of the day to get through the day. Normal healthy adults don’t need this unless they’re sleep deprived in some way.
02.Microsleep or constantly nodding off through the day is a serious symptom of sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep. It is dangerous, too, if you nod off while driving. Requiring a lot of caffeine to clear your mind is another symptom.
03.Poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation interfere with proper brain function. It can make it hard to think clearly or concentrate. It causes memory issues, as well. It interferes with proper impulse control. This can lead to over-spending or over-eating.
04.A lack of sleep contributes to a lack of leptin and increased ghrelin. These hormones contribute to excessive night time snacking and over-eating during the day. That’s aside from the fact that fatigue can make you too tired to exercise. This is why a lack of sleep is a risk factor for obesity.
05.You’re at greater risk of accidents during the day. This is why drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. A lack of sleep affects your balance and coordination, too. Now you’re more likely to slip, trip and fall.
06.Sleep deprivation contributes to anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, too many people reach for the depression medication instead of improving their quality and duration of sleep. One study found that most patients with depression were sleeping less than six hours a night. Better sleep would help many of them, though depression may require additional medical treatment.
07.A lack of sleep interferes in the endocrine system, causing unhealthy hormone levels. This can prevent women from getting pregnant, while it can cause the man’s sex drive to fall along with his dropping testosterone levels.
08.A lack of sleep prevents your body from repairing and renewing itself. This is why you end up with a weaker immune system. Now your lack of sleep leads to greater odds of getting sick.
09.Both the lack of sleep and the diet the body craves to make up for it increase your odds of developing diabetes. High blood pressure and weight gain contribute to that, as well. But sleep deprivation alone is a risk factor.
This is because sleep processes are involved in keeping the heart and blood vessels healthy. This is why insomnia increases your odds of a heart attack and stroke, even if you have a healthy diet and don’t have diabetes.
All of this explains why a chronic lack of sleep increases your risk of early death.
What are the symptoms of sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality?
Yawning throughout the day is one symptom. Chronic daytime fatigue or outright sleepiness is another. Chronic irritability is yet another. High caffeine consumption doesn’t make up for your body’s need for sleep, though it may reduce irritability for a while. Or it may fuel agitation, anxiety and paranoia.
Chronic brain fog is a classic symptom of insufficient restful sleep. If you can’t ever clear your mind or focus on the task at hand, that’s a clear symptom. If you can’t think clearly or get your energy up until after a mid-day nap, that’s another.
We recognize this issue when new parents are up all night with a newborn, but we fail to recognize it in adults who toss and turn all night or simply stay up too late. You’ll make more mistakes in life, and you’ll be less productive than you otherwise would be.
What can you do if you have chronically poor or insufficient sleep?
01.Start by addressing lifestyle issues before you try to get medical attention. Replace that lumpy, hard mattress. Get a comfortable pillow. Block light from outside the bedroom, so that headlights from passing cars aren’t waking you up.
02.Turn off the television or computer two hours before you go to bed, so that the light doesn’t trigger your hindbrain to try to stay away because it thinks it is still day time. There should be no tablets or smart phones in bed for the same reason.
Put the cell phone on mute, and don’t check the messages some idiot sends you at midnight. You need your rest more than they think they need intellectual stimulation.
03.Don’t eat a heavy meal late and night. Indigestion can make you uncomfortable, and you may not realize it is interfering in your quality of sleep. Don’t drink energy drinks or take caffeine after noon, since it will remain in your system for eight to twelve hours. Don’t take diet drugs and other stimulants in the afternoon, either.
04.Get properly hydrated. That can contribute to daytime fatigue. And in some cases, it leads to regular snacking that may drive you to snack late at night. Your body may also compensate by making you drink water late at night, resulting in late night trips to the bathroom.
If you have prostate problems, you may get up throughout the night to pee. That may need to be addressed by a doctor, but it will not be a sleep specialist.
04.Don’t work late into the night at the expense of getting enough sleep. Don’t wake up so early to get a start on the day that you don’t get enough rest at night.
Don’t try to pull an all-nighter and study late at night for a test tomorrow morning. Your information retention will be poor, and your exhaustion will hurt academic performance. Stop studying at the last minute, and get control of your academic workload.
06.You may not be able to sleep due to background noise. Earplugs may block out outside noise or a partner’s snoring. However, you may want them to be seen by a doctor to get the snoring addressed, since that implies they have breathing problems.
07.Do not try to “make up” for sleep on the weekend. Not only does sleeping in on weekends not make up for the physical damage caused by lack of sleep during the week, but sleeping in late on Sunday may make it hard to go to bed at the right time Sunday night.
Now you’ve just started the sleep deprivation cycle all over again for Monday. Instead, go to bed early on the first night you’re catching up on sleep. And use an alarm clock to wake up in ten hours.
08.Suppose you’ve tried to address lifestyle issues that contribute to poor quality or insufficient sleep. Then the next step is consulting with a doctor. They may order a sleep study. This will determine if you have sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome or some other condition.
I hope now you understand how long can you go without and insufficient sleep.So never pass a day without sleeping because this is very harmful to our health.
Here is an infographic on duration of sleep according to age –