Sleep Problems: Interrupted Sleep and Sleep Deprivation

Interrupted sleep, and/or sleep deprivation, will increase your risk to declining physical, mental, and emotional well-being. What makes poor sleep patterns so detrimental to your overall health is that it doesn’t just impact one aspect of your health… it impacts all of them.

When you’re sleep deprived, reaction times are slower, clear thinking and memory are diminished, while your emotional side becomes harder to control; often leading to more frequent arguments with partners and co-workers. More than that however, sleep deprivation has virtually the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness, which helps to explain why lack of sleep is so often linked to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases.

Regularly waking up throughout the night, or regularly being unable to fall asleep, are both forms of insomnia. Not only can it leave you feeling exhausted the next day, but it can also take a toll on your mood. Long-term, if your sleep is frequently interrupted, or if you are often deprived of restful sleep, your body may actually break down, causing a variety of health problems as well as emotional instability.

Consequences of Interrupted Sleep

  • Just one night of interrupted sleep is all it takes to make you feel more depressed, fatigued, and confused, according to the latest research
  • There is little difference in the negative effects of interrupted sleep (defined as four prolonged awakenings spread across eight hours in bed) compared to those of restricted sleep (spending just four hours in bed, total)
  • Night-waking will lead to reduced vigor and motivation and increased errors on performance tests
  • Sleep occurs in phases; ideally, you should progress from slow-wave sleep back up to REM sleep in 60- to 90-minute cycles
  • Any interruptions to your sleep cycle makes your body start over, in a sense, which means you might never reach the most restorative, deeper phases of sleep

5 Stages of Sleep

According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), there are 5 stages of sleep, and each of them are critical to a restful night in bed, as well as an energetic, productive day following.

  1. Stage One: when you’re preparing to drift off
  2. Stage Two: during which your brain wave activity becomes rapid and rhythmic while your body temperature drops and heart rate slows
  3. Stage Three: when deep slow brain waves emerge (this is a transition from light sleep to deep sleep)
  4. Stage Four: also known as delta sleep, this is a deep sleep stage
  5. Stage Five: or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, is when most dreaming occurs

Interestingly, when one of these stages is interrupted, you cannot go back and take up where your sleep “left off”. Instead, your body will actually start over at Stage 1, requiring you to begin the process afresh. If your alarm clock sounds before you’re able to complete all 5 stages of sleep, you will wake up sleep deprived. Here is a great article about sleep cycles- from NestMaven – www.nestmaven.com/sleep/sleep-cycles/

Do you regularly suffer from interrupted sleep? Are you trying to cope with sleep deprivation? If so, get in touch with Dr. Shiroko today.

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