Sleep is fundamental to our health and well-being. We all need to have enough sleep every night so that we can function, and accomplish the things that we need to do during the day. Given the huge influence that a lack of sleep can therefore have upon daily life, if you’re having problems sleeping, it might be worth enlisting the help of a specialist. Seasoned psychologists in Montreal may be able to help you and provide the right treatment or solution, allowing you to get the sleep that you need and discover renewed alertness and attentiveness in your waking life.
Negative Effects of Lack of Sleep
The brain is the most crucial part of your body that is affected when you do not get enough sleep. Losing sleep on a regular basis can be very risky, because it causes short-term cognitive decline, or even can damage and kill your neurons.
One particular type of neuron that researchers have focused on are the sleep-sensitive neurons, found in the brain stem. They are active when we are awake and inactive when we are asleep. These neurons also play an important role in various areas of cognitive functioning, such as in performance, attention, and mood regulation. Once these neurons are damaged, your ability to pay attention can get affected, and you risk suffering from depression.
When you are deprived of sleep, your brain feels exhausted, and it thus cannot perform its functions well. Of course, the most obvious effect of sleep deprivation is sleepiness, with sluggishness and frequent yawning. You also will find it hard to concentrate and learn new things. This is the precise reason why students are discouraged from staying up all night to study and prepare for an exam the following morning, which can actually prove to be counter-intuitive.
Other negative effects of sleep deprivation consist of its impact on your short term and long term memory, while it can also get in the way of your decision making. Perhaps someone has advised you to “just sleep on it” when you’ve informed them about a dilemma. This advice is worth taking on a very literal level, as your judgement can be impaired to a great extent when you haven’t had enough sleep.
Lack of sleep also greatly affects your emotions. Have you ever observed that you tend to have a shorter temper when you are sleepy? Aside from this, people who lack sleep can also have extreme mood swings.
That isn’t the end of the potential effects of sleep-deprivation. If you always lack sleep and it continues for long enough, you may even have an increased risk of hallucinations. This often happens to those who have narcolepsy or systemic lupus erythematosus. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder which affects the control of sleep and wakefulness, while systemic lupus erythematosus, or simply lupus, is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body.
For people with manic depression or bipolar disorder, lack of sleep can also trigger mania. As opposed to depression, mania is characterized by an excessive enthusiasm or desire for something, to the extent that it borders upon obsession. Marked by periods of great excitement and overactivity, people who predisposed to these conditions can deeply benefit from a regular, restorative sleeping pattern.
Other negative effects and risks of lack of sleep include having impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia, and even suicidal thoughts. Another risky situation can involve passing into a state of micro sleep as a result of being underslept, wherein you fall asleep for a few seconds or a few minutes without even realizing it. This is often a dangerous physical state, as its occurrence is out of your control; for instance, experiencing micro sleep when driving puts both you and other road users at risk of having an accident.
The importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough, and so it is always worth managing your time wisely and making sure that you get enough sleep every night to avoid the negative effects and unnecessary damage to your brain. While not getting enough sleep can feel endlessly frustrating, there are always steps to be taken towards progress. Whether this is on your own, or with the help of a psychologist, you shall soon be able to feel the benefits of a full, satisfying night’s sleep.