Experiencing a lack of sleep for just one or two nights may feel manageable for a generally fit and healthy person. After the initial feeling of tiredness that you experience first thing in the morning, you may begin to feel quite normal again. The problem arises when you get your ‘second breath’ after dark. It may be tempting to give into that empowering adrenalin-driven burst of energy, but an informed person realises that this is a false alarm and that the body needs to sleep.
Furthermore, this state of being “charged” can become an addictive hormonal state. Adrenalin is meant to be there for you at times when your life is in danger, and your physical reserves need an immediate boost. The wise thing to do is to ignore it and enjoy a wholesome dinner and warm shower. After that, the best move is to go to bed with a soothing novel to encourage drowsiness.
The wiser approach brings both short and longterm benefits to mental and physical wellbeing. More than a night or two of sleep deprivation on the odd occasion naturally leads to a feeling of increasing tiredness and desperation. Just like any other dependency, getting used to an adrenalin-powered life has severe implications on your health over time, and one is continuously ‘wired’. Insomniacs experience gradual levels of stress. The adrenalin and cortisol-induced states themselves is the cause of further sleepless nights. Prolonged states of high adrenalin and cortisol cause many health problems.
INSOMNIA AND DISEASE
Insomnia in itself is a legitimate illness with over sixty million sufferers in the USA alone. It affects more women and people over the age of 65.
The big deal is that sleep is fuel to live. The lack thereof deprives the body of nourishment and restoration. When you are sleep-impoverished, you are missing out on the most basic type of sustenance. Longterm, this lack of nutrition merely leads to a malfunctioning system creating an environment that supports the development of a disease.
Deficiencies lead to both short and longterm problems. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It even suppresses the growth of tumours. A shortage of this hormone has a negative impact on health over time.
A lack of one hormone means that the body has to overcompensate in different ways. The pituitary or master gland produces cortisol to enable the body and mind to cope with emergencies. When it is at consistently high levels, as is the case with many insomniacs, it causes increased inflammation in the body. A situation such as this creates a higher risk for heart-related conditions, cancer and diabetes. Inflammation also causes the body to deteriorate quicker with age. Extended exposure to cortisol encourages sustained elevations of blood sugar, calcium deficiency in the bones, suppression of immunity, hypertension, loss of muscle mass, obesity and loss of cognitive function.
Insomniacs and people who work through the night have a higher risk of developing breast and colon cancer
THE CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF THE THREE MAIN TYPES OF INSOMNIA
There are various types of insomnia. A Serotonin/ Melatonin deficiency causes what is known as Type One Insomnia. Impoverished levels of these hormones are the most common cause of insomnia. Serotonin is a powerful antidepressant and neurotransmitter. When levels are subnormal, there is typically merely not enough of excess for conversion to melatonin. The symptoms include difficulty in falling asleep more so than remaining asleep. Worries and obsessive loops of thoughts keep the person from being able to drift off to sleep. There are many other common symptoms of serotonin deficiency. Waking up too early is one. A general negative state of mind accompanied by depression or anxiety is another symptom. Perfectionism or a need to be in control is also on the list of signs to watch out for. Hyperactivity, panic attacks or phobias can also be a sign of low serotonin. Regular irritability or extreme anger can be a result of a shortage of this hormone. Late afternoon or evening cravings for the comfort of carbohydrates, alcohol or marijuana are also indicators of a serotonin deficiency.
Type two insomnia manifests as a result of a GABA deficiency. GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid is the brain’s primary calming neurotransmitter. Its primary function is to neutralise adrenaline. It can also accompany a serotonin/melatonin deficiency. In this case, muscle tension and other symptoms of overstress prevents sleep. Common symptoms include constantly feeling stressed or regularly burned out, experiencing constant physical pressure, being unable to ‘let one’s hair down’ and often feeling overwhelmed or suffering from panic attacks.
Type three insomnia exists as a result of a continuously high level of cortisol. Cortisol is the leader of the stress team. Endorphin is also on this hit team. Chronic stress results in a permanent hyper-cortisol state. The stress remains even after resolving the stress-related issue. The sufferer wakes inappropriately early with an immediate desire to work or a highly agitated and hyper-vigilant state of mind. A shocked, sudden night time awakening can also occur. Chronically elevated cortisol also further suppresses serotonin and exhausts GABA. Consequently, the worried type one and tense type two insomniacs can also feature in this group.
THE IMPACT OF INSOMNIA ON MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Initially feeling wired can be experienced as a form of empowerment. Within just a few days, however, one’s general state of mind begins to falter. The long-term consequences of lack of sleep have far more severe implications for emotional and mental health.
There is growing experimental evidence that the relationship between psychiatric disorders and sleep is very relevant. The one influences the other and visa-versa. In this way, both insomnia and the mental disease issues merely escalate.
Jenna Carl is a clinical psychologist specialising in the research and treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia. She says that with a lack of sleep, thoughts can become more negative and lead to increasingly negative loops of feelings and emotions.
In the UK, The Neuroscience Insitute at the University of Oxford, is one of the leaders in sleep research. Researchers show that interrupted sleep cycles are a significant factor in the incidence of paranoia and hallucinations. The research at this institute is also the first to present evidence showing that insomnia causes or contributes to psychological problems.
The investigations reveal that the brain of an insomniac reverts to a primitive pattern of extremes in reaction. Emotions run out of control, and there is an inability to think logically. The amygdala is the emotional gas pedal, and it loses its co-operative abilities with the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex is the psychological break. Consequently, the long-term results of poor sleep can even include a decline in one’s moral system. Barnes of this Oxford study, states that this research is the building block of his investigation. His focus is on the connection between sleep deprivation and abusive superiors at the workplace. His study provides strong motivation for a new therapeutic approach for mental illnesses.
At the Sleep Foundation, it is common knowledge that people experiencing regular sleeplessness are ten times more prone to clinical depression and seventeen times more likely to suffer from anxiety. The foundation’s research of bipolar cases shows that sleep deprivation increases the severity of manic episodes. Accordingly, researchers regard insomnia as being a base instigator of this disorder.
Fortunately, instantly empowering oneself by taking action makes an enormous difference over time. Making an effort to address one’s health impacts sleep quality. The gradual implementation of the elements of a simpler lifestyle is possible even with the most demanding of schedules. A healthy diet is the primary foundation of a properly functioning body. Blood acid levels rise during the consumption of aggravating substances. Just because someone is accustomed to living with a particular condition does not mean that it is ideal. An ever-present mental or physical tension is an indication of high blood acidity. Steadily acidic blood means all cells are suffering.
Food and drink that elevate acid levels interfere with sleep. The list includes salt (even the genuine products), sugar, refined carbohydrates such as bread and pastries, fruit juice (packaged or otherwise), caffeine whether it be in non-herbal tea or coffee, fresh food and fried food. One must not assume that the last hour before sleep is all that matters concerning ensuring a happy ph balance of the blood and body tissues. To ensure bio-availability, the use of whole food sources for nutritional supplementation is best. Chewing slowly, eating wholesome and balanced and moderate exercise is amongst the basic requirements for a healthy life. Getting out into natural sunlight during the day and taking a full hour to wind down before bedtime makes all the difference. Having an early dinner, a very gentle stretch before showering and taking a soothing novel to bed constitute the perfect framework for a peaceful evening.
Indulge in regular naps. Research shows that taking regular naps is exceptionally beneficial. A study of twenty-four thousand Greek adults proves that individuals who nap several times a week increase their heart health. People who nap at work also show much lower levels of stress. Napping improves memory, cognitive function, and mood.
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