There are many dangers associated with not getting enough sleep for both children and adults. When the body and the brain can not rest appropriately, it can be extremely difficult for natural function to occur. While many people have individual sleep patterns and schedules that work well for them, it is highly recommended that adults get a good 8 hours of sleep and that children receive closer to 10 hours of sleep per day.
There are many reasons for not being able to get enough sleep. Disturbances in sleep patterns can be physical, psychological, or environmental. If sleep is not happening in sufficient amounts it is essential that the issue is thoroughly investigated and resolved in order to restore natural sleep patterns.
Fatigue is not just feeling tired. It is the body's way of signaling that it can not operate under the current conditions. Fatigue is generally characterized as chronic lethargy and a feeling that the body needs to rest. For most people, this feeling is very overwhelming and sleeping is the natural step to reducing the feeling.
Brain fatigue can be very dangerous. The mind can only handle short periods of time with sleep disruptions. Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to dysfunctional motor movements, an inability to present normal speech patterns, and eventually psychosis. The mind will literally take over into an over processing state when it can not receive proper rest. The emotional backlash of this can be severe, and dangerous or suicidal behaviors can come to fruition from a prolonged lack of sleep.
One of the dangers of not getting enough sleep is pain. Pain can result from sleep deprivation. This is often how the body attempts to slow you down, creating a scenario that is more likely to help you rest. This is done through the overstimulation of nerve cells which can lead to muscle pain, bone pain, or an overall general ache that is rather intense.
Pain can also then trigger difficulty when you do finally try to sleep. If your body has reached a point where pain is produced by a lack of sleep but pain is also keeping you awake at night, it might be necessary to add a pain reliever or pain reliever with a sleep aid into the picture.
When you sleep nightly but don't get enough nightly sleep you are more at risk for the development of depression. Because the chemicals in the brain can not fire properly when deprived of enough sleep it is possible to develop clinical depression derived from sleeplessness.
The frustration of being tired all the time, wanting to get more sleep, and failing to do so can also help trigger the depression. When you feel as though your entire environment is out of your control it is of greater likelihood that you will eventually develop the signs of clinical depression.
Those who do not sleep enough on a regular basis have been shown to gain weight more readily than those who do. The production of specific hormones are more likely to send mixed signals to the body when the brain is deprived of sleep. This tricks your body into believing that it needs food or is hungry and thus the chances of eating more are much higher.
Those who get enough sleep on a regular basis have more tightly regulated hormones that trigger hunger and therefore tend to weigh less than night owls.
There is a direct link between sleeplessness and heart conditions. The deprivation of regular sleep increases the hormones that increase stress responses. This is because these hormones are healthy in smaller doses but can be detrimental in larger doses. Small amount of stress hormones help get us through the day, keep us on our toes, and help regulate other systems in our body. An overproduction of these hormones take a toll on the regulation of the heart and increase the risk for heart problems.
The single greatest danger of not getting enough sleep is death. Chronically deprived bodies not only have shorter life spans but also tend to have significantly more health problems along the way. Sleep is so essential to regulation of the body's functions that the increased chance of death is not just probably but nearly a given.
The risk of death is also increased through accidents. Accidents while driving are just as likely to happen from being over tired as they are from being drunk. Many states and provinces are trying to pass laws that allow the prosecution of fatal accidents in the event of fatigue.
Getting More Sleep
If you are not getting enough sleep because of your daily activities then reducing your schedule is a must. The consequences of not doing so can be huge and it is vital that you find the time to get enough sleep during the overnight hours.
If you have an environmental issue such as too much noise, try simple solutions like earplugs. Enlisting the help of family members can also be useful if the situation calls for help.
Physical sleep problems may or may not require medication. Sometimes rituals like soothing baths, a calming hot tea or even warm milk can help reduce the physical cause of wakefulness. If you can't manage the situation through natural products like melatonin, you may need to investigate the potential for a sleep aid. Sleep aids are available over the counter as well as by prescription. It's important that you talk to your physician in order to make the right choices for you.
Perpetual difficulty with sleep may require testing. There are sleep disorders as well as other medical conditions that can impact your ability to drift off peacefully every night. When you are not feeling well, are not sleeping well, and have no personal recourse falling asleep is ever more essential. Your physician may want to perform tests in order to rule out possible physical conditions that can be disrupting your sleep.