Sleep is so critical to human physiology-that to go too long without sleep means death-even though it is almost a death-like state. Yet this almost death-like state, controlled by centers in the brain, helps the body to regenerate, restore and refreshen the body. Sleep also slows the heart beat down significantly and relaxes diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Sleep also relaxes the mind, easing it into various forms of deep sleep, such as Delta.
Sleep deprivation (brought on by environmental stresses such as job, family, et al)can tax the cardiac system to the breaking point (the heart has to rest). Pulse rate and blood pressure climb. Sleep-deprivated, hyper-accelerated people can instinctively consume large amounts of coffee-as the reptilian-part of the brain with the survival instincts fight to keep the body awake. Caffeine can also overtax an already overworked heart. Chronically sleep-deprivated people are also more prone to overeating, smoking and drinking to deal with the stresses of sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivated people can suffer from more colds, flu’s and even worse as the immune system weakens from the physiological stresses of sleep deprivation. Prolonged sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system to where it could be threatened by more serious ilnesses such as cancer. The immune system is very vulnerable to everything from sudden temperature changes to sleep deprivation. Even short-term or cyclical sleep-deprivation can leave victims vulberable to colds and the flu, as the immune system is stressed.
We all know what it’s like to miss just one night’s sleep. Your reflexes are significantly down, your energy levels are near zero, your other mental and cognitive factors are also impaired, blood pressure and pulse rate are up as your cardiovascular system simply has not rested. Your body may also feel stiff as your muscles have not had a chance to rest and recuperate.
There are many people who work graveyard shifts, or alternate with a variety of different work shifts or sudden and cyclical-situations that may lead to above average sleep deprivation. People suffering from sleep deprivation are more vulnerable to emotional breakdowns, as the mind simply cannot refresh itself. As the sleep deprivation goes on, it is a self-feeding cycle. Extreme tiredness leaves the psyche with the inability to cope. Fortunately for a lot of people, sleep deprivation is not a huge issue for we may rarely have to deal with it. But it can be a chronic problem. With some, it can be a waking…nightmare.