Episode 50:

Weird Side Effects of Not

Sleeping Enough

In this episode, we will discuss the side effects of sleeping 6 hours or less. For the health news, we will talk about a study based on Chiles law in 2016 requiring warning labels on unhealthy foods.

SHOW NOTES

Sleep Deprivation Side Effects

Health news: 2016 Chilean law

A study published on February 12, 2020, in the POLS medicine Journal. In 2016, Chile implemented the Law of Food Labeling and Advertising, a set of policies designed to prevent further increases in obesity prevalence by subjecting foods and beverages high in energy, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat content to marketing restrictions, banned sales in schools, and the first national mandatory front-of-package (FOP) warning-label system.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of this package of policies on household beverage purchases.

Chile with some of the world’s highest obesity rates. Three-quarters of Chilean adults and more than half of children are overweight or obese, and health officials warned that the medical costs of obesity could consume 4 percent of the nation’s health care spending by 2030, up from 2.4 percent in 2016.

Stats Vs the United States 

  • NHANES 2016 statistics showed that about 39.6% of American adults were obese. Men had an age-adjusted rate of 37.9% and Women had an age-adjusted rate of 41.1%.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars.

Results of the study:

  • Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks dropped nearly 25 percent in the 18 months
  • During the same period, researchers recorded a five percent increase in purchases of bottled water, diet soft drinks and fruit juices without added sugar.

Off-topic: I wonder how many US kids get advertised averagely junk food.

According to the largest study of its kind, people aged 11 to 19 who watched one extra advertisement per week about junk food, over the average of six, ate an additional 350 calories in foods high in salt, sugar, and fat every week, adding up to 18,000 extra calories per year.

In the United States, 2018, almost 38 percent of adults are obese and about 18.5 percent of kids under 19 years old are obese. 

Side effects of sleeping 6 hours or less

So now that you’ve mastered sleep hygiene from the previous podcast, let’s talk about the weird side effects of not sleeping enough.

Usually, when the day gets busy and we feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what we need to do, quality sleep is the first sacrifice we make. I’m guilty of this myself. I work nights, and adapting to a regular schedule outside of my work hours means I must sacrifice my sleep to adjust to the day or run my errands. Or so I tell myself. In fact, according to the CDC, more than one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep Stages  

(NREM = non- rapid eye movement)

1 NREM = Theta waves hypnagogic can experience hallucinations like hearing things that aren’t there, someone calling your name or the phone ringing. You can also replay events that happened today. Hypno jerks = feels like falling 

2NREM  = More Theta waves, “sleep spindles” brainwaves not yet really understood. K-complexes brain activity that is thought to suppress cortical arousal and keep you asleep. These K-complexes are also known to help with sleep-based memory consolidation which is the theory that some of your memory is known to be transferred to long-term memorization in your sleep. 

3NREM = Slow-wave sleep. Delta waves occur, you’re very much dead in your sleep. This is also when sleepwalking occurs and talking in your sleep. 

4REM = Your eyes move very rapidly underneath your lids. Most muscles are paralyzed so you don’t act out what you’re doing. The brain wave activity is very similar to being awake. Term Paradoxical = active mind, paralyzed body. It takes about 90 minutes for you to complete a sleep cycle. 

It’s funny how when you’re in the dream most of the time you don’t realize anything strange but when you wake up, you throw the WTF. One reason being is that during REM sleep activity in our prefrontal cortex is decreased which is in charge of logical reasoning, thinking and planning. 

Why do we dream?

Theory by Sigmund Freud states that dreams are our unconscious thoughts and desires that need to be interpreted. There isn’t any science to back this theory up.

What happens If you don’t sleep?

 If you find yourself in the one-third category, it’s time to realize that the first thing you should do is prioritize sleep. We’d all love to be the sleepless hustler who works like a maniac, pushes hard at the gym, goes out on weekends, and always feels great on only five hours of sleep.

Newsflash: This person doesn’t exist, and if you know someone like this, they’re heading for burnout. Your brain does allow you to feel sleepy sometimes, but trying to block that feeling with caffeine will short-circuit a lot of important warning signs of sleep deprivation. 

Signs & Symptoms 

  • Yawning
  • Moodiness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depressed mood
  • Difficulty learning new concepts
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of motivation
  • Clumsiness
  • Reduced sex drive

Weight gain

The link between weight gain and obesity and short sleep patterns is not completely clear.

There have been several studies throughout the years that have linked obesity and poor sleep patterns.

In one study in 2004, people who slept less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese compared to those who slept seven to nine hours. Another study of 21,469 adults over the course of three years showed that people who slept less than 5 hours were more likely to gain weight and eventually become obese. One reason weight gain is associated with lack of sleep is that shortened sleep time decreases leptin and elevates ghrelin, the hormones responsible for hunger and satiety in the brain.

Getting sick more often

Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Some research shows how better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection.

Have you found yourself running around like crazy and suddenly finding yourself sick? That’s your immune system taking revenge. Think of it as sleep debt. You’ve overdrawn your bank account, and it’s time to pay your dues. Lack of sleep decreases the production of cytokines, important substances that help you sleep and combat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. 

Brain fog

Lack of sleep can cause brain fog that impairs mental clarity and causes poor concentration. For me, a brain fog sometimes feels like I’m dreaming, watching the world from the outside, looking in. According to research, sleep deprivation disrupts our brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other, which leads to temporary mental lapses that affect memory and perception. No wonder a tired driver is more prone to getting into an accident – their sleep-deprived brain takes longer to register what they’re seeing.  

Sleepiness is depressing

I hope you’re starting to understand how important sleep is. Over time, a sleep disorder can contribute to symptoms of depression. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep and wakefulness disorders that hinder their daily function and adversely affect their health and longevity. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia, which is often the first sign of depression. 

Ages your skin

If all these health risks don’t convince you to get more sleep, then do it for your looks! For one, missing out on sleep disrupts the lowering of cortisol levels, which happens naturally while we sleep. Persistent lack of sleep will lead to higher cortisol levels, which can mess up our body’s ability to heal itself. It also promotes acne. Your skin gets stressed out, too. Cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps our skin smooth and elastic.

Lowers your sex drive

Lack of sleep can lead to lower energy, fatigue, and sleepiness, which correlates to libido and less interest in sex. Mood researchers believe that this is the result of the low energy and increased tension caused by lack of sleep. And then there’s sleep apnea, a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep and is a factor in reduced sex drive. A study in 2011 by The University of Chicago, showed that the daytime testosterone levels of young men who slept 5 hours a night over a one-week period decreased by as much as 10 to 15 percent. Sleep apnea affects 15% of the US working population.

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