How Insomnia affects your body

Summary

  • Insomnia is a sleeping disorder in which a person faces trouble falling asleep.
  • How much sleep is adequate for a person is subjective, but as per medical standards, most adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Insomnia can have a serious effect on the body and which can affect work, energy level, focus, mood and performance.

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder wherein a person faces trouble falling asleep and staying in that state for a considerable period of time. Insomnia causes a person to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. The condition can be short term or acute, where it lasts a single night over a few weeks. It can also be chronic, which stretches for at least three nights a week for three months or more.

Insomnia occurs when a person has difficulty falling asleep at night, wakes up during the night multiple times, doesn’t feel well-rested after a night’s sleep or wakes up too early. This can lead to irritability, depression, or anxiety, daytime tiredness or sleepiness, gastrointestinal symptoms and low energy to do daily work, which are also symptoms of insomnia.

Sleep plays key role in maintaining our mental and physical health and lack of sleep can lead to various health problems such as weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, depression etc.

What causes Insomnia?

Stress and anxiety are part of our lives in present times. related to big life events, like a job loss or change, the death of a loved one, divorce, or moving

Things around you like noise, light, or temperature changes to your sleep schedule. A few common causes of insomnia are:

  • This could happen because of specific medical conditions. A person may have mild to severe medical conditions that can lead to sleep deprivation. Some ailments such as asthma, arthritis, and gastrointestinal and endocrine issues can cause sleepless nights.
  • Depression is another major cause of insomnia. Mild mood fluctuations, depression and anxiety may cause insomnia. Symptoms like excessive worrying, low energy levels, low motivation, feeling overwhelmed and having a feeling of hopelessness can lead to sleeplessness.
  • Poor Lifestyle Choices can also have an impact. Unhealthy eating habits can have a severe negative effect on the body and mind, which may worsen your sleep hardships. Like if you have problems with your digestion, your sleep time will be disrupted.
  • Unhealthy Habits are also a major cause of insomnia. Excessive eating or drinking alcohol or even smoking can disrupt a person’s sleep cycle.
  • Medications can also have an effect on the sleep pattern. Many prescription drugs contain caffeine and other stimulants that can lead to sleep deprivation. Medication for depression, asthma, pain, blood pressure medications may disturb usual sleep patterns.

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Physical and psychological effects of insomnia

Proper sleep is an important part of healthy lifestyle and sleep makes both psychological and physical health and helps to get ready for another day. Insomnia can have a serious effect on the body, which can affect work, energy level, focus, mood and performance. Sleep disorders don’t just cause sleeplessness. They can lead to other conditions and may have more serious and long-lasting effects on other organs, such as hypothyroidism, poor decision-making ability, poor coordination, hypertension, diabetes, and many other problems.

  • The central nervous system is something that can get affected by insomnia. A person with chronic insomnia may find it difficult to focus on work or learn new things. This can reduce coordination, affect mental abilities and the emotional state. It can also increase the risk for accidents.
  • It can also affect the immune system. During sleep, the body produces antibodies and cytokines to protect and fight infections such as bacteria and viruses. Various cytokines increase immunity to defend the body against illness and help to fall asleep. These get hampered due to lack of sleep.
  • The respiratory system can also take a hit due to sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea is a night breathing disorder which can disturb sleep.
  • The digestive system is another body function that insomnia impacts. Less sleep affects the levels of two hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin signals the brain that the body has enough food, and Ghrelin signals that the body needs more food. Sleep disorders can, therefore, lead to an increase in weight and obesity.

How much is enough

How much sleep is adequate for a person is subjective, but as per medical standards, most adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

Standard hours of sleep for different age groups:

 

Source: The National Sleep Foundation of the US

Prevention

Fixing your sleep-related disorder may take a while, but one can make small changes to daily habits to get a favourable outcome. These include listening to music or a spiritual discourse or an audiobook. These can help you calm down, drop your heart rate and make you feel relaxed.

Other measures, which one can adopt, can be setting a routine to get better quality of sleep and avoiding daytime naps can help. Moreover, going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at a particular time in the morning can set your daytime routine.

You should also take utmost care about your diet before sleeping. Avoid taking heavy meals before going to bed. Excessive alcohol consumption, even occasionally, can worsen things and can be avoided.

Throughout the day, one should follow a routine like exercising regularly in the morning and avoiding it in the evening hours, closer to bedtime. You can also try spending an hour before bed doing activities such as meditating and reading. One major thing is switching off your smartphone, tablets a few hours before sleeping is very crucial and has been found to be very beneficial.

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