In a world that is constantly awake, people highly underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep.
From important business deals to caring for new babies, most people will experience lack of sleep at some point in their life. While many will experience a one-off late night, people who suffer from sleep deprivation or chronic sleep problems have to deal with symptoms that are intense and long-lasting.
Maartje Suijskens, a healthcare psychologist at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, has looked at how your body and mind can react when you do not get enough sleep. She has also outlined the help and support that is available to help you get good quality and consistent rest.
The impact of no sleep
Some neuropsychologists refer to wakefulness as a low level of brain damage and say that we need eight hours of sleep every day to repair the damage that being awake causes.
A person can typically stay awake for 16 hours without side effects. Going without sleep for any longer can see your body start to mentally and physiologically deteriorate. The effects can include:
- Going 19 to 20 hours without sleep can result in your coordination, memory and judgement becoming impaired.
- After 36 hours of no sleep, your physical health will be at risk. Your blood pressure and heart rate will rise, which can increase your risk of a stroke. Hormones are also impacted at this stage, so your emotions will be unpredictable.
- You will start to experience microsleeps at 48 hours, which you can’t consciously avoid. You will fall asleep regardless of the activity you are doing and these microsleeps can last between half a second to half a minute, followed by a period of disorientation.
- At 72 hours of no sleep, your concentration, motivation and perception will all be highly impaired. It is not uncommon for people to hallucinate at this point.
How a lack of good sleep can impact your wellbeing
People can suffer from lack of sleep for numerous reasons, including insomnia, sleep apnea, irregular sleep patterns, physical pain, anxiety and depression.
There is a close relationship between mental health and sleep. Studies have found that people with chronic insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression and 20 times more likely to get a panic disorder. Being deprived of sleep can greatly impact someone’s quality of life; it can affect your wellbeing in the following ways:
- Impaired memory - while you sleep, your brain creates new memories. Without proper sleep, you can end up feeling like an amnesiac, where you cannot remember certain events or recent activities.
- Strain on relationships - as your hormones are affected when you don’t get a good level of sleep, your emotions may be unstable. Your coping skills will be negatively affected, so you may be more irritable and stressed. This may also cause you to start to withdraw from social interactions, leading to an increase in feelings of loneliness.
- Increased worry - A lack of sleep can cause you to worry, which can lead to you not sleeping the next night, leaving you in a negative cycle of poor sleep and anxiousness.
If you are concerned that your lack of sleep is having an impact on your health and wellbeing, there is help and support available.
Specialist treatment for sleep disorders
At Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, we understand that every person who experiences problems with sleep is different. Therefore, we take the time to understand your behaviour and lifestyle so that we can develop a personalised sleep treatment programme.
Our highly qualified specialists will be able to teach you the simple changes you can make to get consistent, good quality sleep, while cognitive behavioral therapy with our therapists can help you tackle the reasons for your sleep problems.
For further information on the sleep treatment we can provide, please call us on (+971) 4 245 3800 for a free telephone consultation. You can also submit an enquiry form, and a member of our team will be in touch.
(Neckelmann, D. et all.,2007)