“I can sleep when I’m dead!” “The early bird gets the worm.” Ever said either of those things to yourself Or someone else? Or do you no longer have to say these things to yourself because you run on four to five hours of sleep pretty much every night? You’re used to it. You don’t need sleep, right? That’s for lazy, unmotivated people who don’t have things to do. You’re way more productive than the average bear.
All of us have been sleep-deprived at some point in our lives and I’m sure we can all relate with that ‘heaviness in the head’ feeling, dizziness, irritability, and lack of good judgment caused by sleep deprivation.
Yet, even though we know better, people seem to wear their lack of sleep like a badge of honor. In our society, overtime and eighty-hour weeks are signs of the motivated, the high achievers, and the people that get ahead. It turns out, skipping sleep really isn’t getting any of us ahead. It’s making us sick. It’s making us depressed. It’s making us fat and aging us at an accelerated rate.
Sleep deprivation causes numerous mechanisms to go haywire in your body. Lack of sleep affects hormones and metabolic processes in the body. Studies show that a week of sleep deprivation causes significant alterations to glucose tolerance, meaning how readily your body’s cells can recognize glucose floating around in your blood and pull it into the cells of the body where it will fuel activity. Impaired glucose tolerance can make you more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown subjects who slept less than five to six hours per night were twice as likely to develop diabetes.
Sleep deprivation can also cause weight gain. Studies have shown the greatest risk for obesity to be when one gets two to fours hours of sleep per night, and the lowest BMI was associated with subjects who got an average of 7.7 hours of sleep per night. Now, before you go lock yourself in your bedroom for a snooze-athon anticipating to wake up ten pounds lighter, let’s talk about why sleep impacts weight this way. Like I mentioned before, impaired glucose tolerance is a side effect of sleep deprivation. When your body doesn’t uptake glucose into the cell efficiently, you feel tired and hungry more often than you should, which makes you reach for more food, resulting in a calorie surplus. And remember, your body is already not using energy, calories, and glucose well. So guess what happens to those excess calories? That’s right. They get stored away, usually right on your butt, thighs, and belly.
Research also found sleep deprivation increased sense of hunger and tended to reach for carbohydrate-dense, sweet, and salty foods. So, let’s see – you’re glucose tolerance is impaired, you’re hungier, and you’re reaching for all the wrong things to eat. Fantastic! But wait! We’re not done!
Lastly, when sleep suffers, so does your immune system. There are specific types of immune cells, namely cytotoxic natural killer cells and CTL, floating around in your body that peak in number during the day. They fight off foreign antigens and repair damaged tissue during the day when tissue damage is most likely to occur.
At night, during the early stages of sleep and particularly during slow wave sleep (SWS), different types of immune cells peak in concentration (T helper cells and antigen presenting cells for those nerds in the crowd), prolactin and growth hormone peak, and cortisol and catecholamine productions drops. All of these changes make for an environment that supports inflammation.
Say what? That’s not good, right?
Sleep and rest are very important to all of us. I cannot explain to you how much it affects me personally. If I don’t get enough sleep, my inner pit bull/space alien/bitch from hell shows up and makes everyone in my path unhappy.
Sleep deprivation causes forgetfulness, exhaustion, and fatigue, in me. When I am exhausted and fatigued it causes pessimism, sadness, stress, and anger, none of which are appreciated by other people. In addition, lack of sleep affects my brains ability to solve problems.
For the last two months, between meds being flip flopped between makers, my husband being ill, loosing my mother-in-law and my body and mind just don’t seem to be cooperating with one another.
I was exhausted by the time I got home (11:30am) from going to the office and pick up my work. I am definitely in the ‘weeds’ on sleep and rest as well as the stress from worrying about my husband’s wellbeing. I slept on the couch last night (night 5) because I didn’t want to wake up my hubs while he got some rest. Leg and foot cramps, along with volcanic hot flashes have made me so restless.
I ditched cooking dinner last night and went out to “Roost” as a better option. This way there is no dinner cleaning.
I tried go to bed early. I sat up and watched TV for a bit before turning off the lights. My husband came in a few hours later and several times started muttering in his sleep about ‘valve pressure being too high’. I kept replying ‘there are no valves leaking in this house, go back to bed and get some sleep’.
I layed down in Payton’s room with the ceiling fan on as it was supposed to cool off. That was a bad idea so at one point I got up and opened the window, I had hopes for sleeping.
Let me just say my sleep was probably interrupted a more than dozen times – leg and foot cramps multiple times, once to open the window, once to close the window (road noise off the Loop was way to loud), several for ‘a hubby meandering around the house’. I finally just gave up at around 4:30am. I made coffee and started this blog to rid myself of frustrations. My husband woke up and when I asked he said ‘he sleep pretty well, other than having to get up and pee about 6 times’.
I am going back to bed (it’s 4:20 on Sunday afternoon) and leaving my hubby to his own devices until I am rested enough. That could be on Tuesday maybe Wednesday. No, that won’t work. I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon at 8am tomorrow. I need a solution to the foobies cramping up every time I get cold!
Hopefully, tonight will be a better night!