How Sleep Deprivation Affects the Nervous System

We all have nights when we are tossing and turning and having trouble falling asleep. The morning after these kinds of nights most people usually feel groggy and a bit slow to start the day. But when humans experience major sleep deprivation, the consequences can become much more serious and can have long-lasting effects on the body. Many of these consequences are apparent in the body’s central nervous system and brain activity.

Why A Good Nights Sleep Is Important

Sleep is as important to the body as are eating and breathing. Countless reparations are made during the hours you sleep, making sleep one of the most important things for your body. The less sleep someone with insomnia gets, the weaker their body gets. This impairs the body’s ability to fight off infection and heal itself. A healthy night’s sleep is important for both your mental and physical health. The effects of sleep deprivation can cause numerous risks and health problems, among which are: risk of heart disease, weight gain, damages to your central nervous system, emotional imbalances or mood swings, hallucinations, and uncontrollable microsleep episodes.

Sleep deprivation affects the nervous system in various ways. It can affect your learning ability and information retention skills. This means remembering things becomes difficult. Information is not absorbed effectively compared to days where you’ve had a good night’s sleep the night before. It can also affect your reaction time in which can increase the possibility of accidents like car accidents and cycling accidents. Your concentration abilities are also impaired which can result in a number of different problems during your daily life. Some of these include trouble working, trouble holding conversations and trouble driving which is particularly dangerous for yourself and other motorists.

Effects of Chronic Insomnia on the Brain

Issues like chronic insomnia have a major effect on the way your brain works. Many studies have explored just how much the lack of sleep affects the brain. These studies have shown that a wide variety of complications arise within just a short time after becoming sleep deprived. The first signs of sleep deprivation-related brain activity consist of irritation (frustration), minor concentration difficulties, and excessive tiredness.

The consequences of long-term sleep deprivation can begin to become quite serious. Sleep deprivation can affect your concentration difficulties and result in slow reaction times. Sleep deprivation can also have a negative effect on your immune system and your overall mental health. When insomnia begins to get out of hand these mental health effects include hallucinations, mania, suicidal thoughts, and paranoia.

Micro Sleep
Microsleep is also a common yet dangerous effect that appears when the lack of sleep becomes severe. These are short episodes of sleep that happen without any signs beforehand and cannot be controlled. The body literally puts itself to sleep in order to repair damage and regain energy before the person wakes up. There are major risks surrounding micro sleep because it can happen whenever and wherever. Many cases of micro sleep episodes happen when a person is driving, sometimes resulting in accidents. Other times they happen when a person is walking or standing, also resulting in accidents (since one cannot stop oneself from falling over).

Decision Making
Over time, sleep deprivation also has a strong effect on your decision-making ability. Your brain and central nervous system are responsible for coherent thinking, reasoning, and judgment. These functions will be less effective in sleep-deprived people resulting in difficulty in making decisions. This gives way to impulsive decision making and behavior. This can affect the way one perceives and deals with problems and tasks.

Though the issues that sleep deprivation puts the body through can be intense and sometimes prolonged, they can be repaired by sleeping. Studies have shown that even the most severe problems are erased by getting a few good nights of deep sleep. Hallucinations subside the moment the person wakes up from their first night’s sleep. Mood swings become increasingly level and less intense. The heart rate is more stable and the risk of microsleep evaporates.

When the body finally gets enough sleep, it begins to repair damages caused by severe insomnia. During sleep, the body also produces growth hormones and regulates emotional hormones. The sufferer may be going through depression or paranoia during the time they suffer from sleep deprivation. They will most probably be able to begin to feel increasingly better after the body rests.

Conclusion
In conclusion, the nervous system is actually quite dependent on the amount of sleep we get. It regulates hormones, produces growth hormones, boosts neuronal communication and builds new neuronal pathways when there is new information. It repairs countless damages that have been caused throughout the day.

When a person suffers from insomnia the body is quite affected. If you suffer from sleep deprivation please try to contact your doctor so that it doesn’t get too severely out of hand. It is always better to be safe than to suffer any consequences. So, don’t be afraid to approach your doctor if you feel like you may be suffering from any kind of sleep issues. They can always refer you to a sleep specialist in case there are doubts or anything of the sort.

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