sleep deprivation leads to physical and mental health problems, which increases the risk of Heart disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer, Inflammation, Obesity, Depression, Cognitive impairment, Kidney disease, and disease-related to Hormonal imbalance. That’s why you can survive without food but you can not survive without good sleep.

Below I am listing Sleep cycle/Stages of sleep cycle/How we fall asleep, what happens to the body during sleep, Effects of sleep deprivation/effects of insomnia, Why sleep is important to our body, How much sleep is necessary for a day, How can we get better sleep or How to get rid of insomnia.

Sleep cycle/Stages of the sleep cycle

Sleep cycle has 4 main stages of sleep, the whole cycle takes approximately 90 minutes. In the one night, a human being has 4 to 5 sleep cycles.

Sleep cycle progresses through a group of N-REM(non-rapid eye movement) stages to REM(Rapid eye movement) stage then again a new cycle start and goes through the same process. It means light to deep sleep then reverse back from deep sleep to light sleep.

Stages of the sleep cycle

STAGE 1 NREM– this is the first and lightest stage of sleep, a person can easily be affected by external stimuli. it’s very easy to arouse a person in this stage.

In this stage, brain activity begins to slow down and muscles are relaxed. people may be experiencing hypnic jerk and abrupt muscle spasm.

In NREM 1 brain starts producing theta waves.

STAGE 2 NREM– in this stage people are difficult to arouse, and the brain starts producing more theta waves as well as sleep spindles and k complexes. Some researches said that sleep spindles are protecting the brain from awakening from sleep, by inhibiting some cognitive processes and perception.

In stage 2, body temperature starts to decrease and heart rate slows down to makes your body more comfortable.

STAGE 3 NREM– it is called slow-wave sleep, and this slow-waves are called Delta waves.

It is the dipper stage of sleep, it’s very difficult to wake up someone from this stage. Sleepwalking and sleep talking are occurs in this stage.

REM– in this stage eye movement are rapid, but other muscles are paralyzed. we see vivid dreams in this stage.

It is otherwise known as paradoxical sleep because your brain is very active in this stage but your body is prevented from doing something. it’s very easy to arouse someone in this stage of sleep.

Normally the cycle goes like this, Stage 1 NREM to Stage 2 NREM to Stage 3 NREM then again back to Stage 2 NREM then REM.

How we fall asleep

Melatonin(Sleep hormone) plays a greater role for sleeping, Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland of the human body. Melatonin is secreted only at night when melatonin level rises the body’s alertness decreases and it’s resulting in sleep.

The body has a biological clock like our wall clock, it maintains time table of every process in the body, one example is(it controls our sleeping pattern and sleep cycle by controlling melatonin secretion and cortisol secretion).

Effects of sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation causes serious disturbances in body process, some harmful effects of sleep deprivation listed below

  1. Sleep deprivation can be a direct cause of Depression, Research says that 90% of people with depression have poor sleep quality.
  2. Poor sleep affects glucose metabolism and reduces the sensitivity of insulin, which leads to Diabetes.
  3. An incomplete sleep cycle seriously affects the cognitive functions of the brain like memory, concentration.
  4. Sleep deficiency can lead to Heart disease and stroke.
  5. poor quality sleep is the greatest cause of obesity because it disrupts the regulation of appetite hormones. study shows that Sleep-deprived people tend to eat more calories.
  6. It can seriously affect the growth and development of young children and the productiveness of adults.
  7. Sleep deprivation affects our biological clock and it can lead to many diseases.
  8. It can seriously affect our immunity and makes us prone to infection.

Why sleep is important to our body

  1. A good night’s sleep improves the cognitive functions of the brain and improves productivity.
  2. A good night sleep improves your memory, Study found that sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation(when we sleep brain try to connect all the events of the day, sensory inputs and feelings to making the long term memory )
  3. Sleep helps your body to auto repair.
  4. Sleep supports growth and development because of growth hormone secretion is high during sleep.
  5. Sleep makes you look beautiful because cells produce more protein while sleeping it leads to repair faster.
  6. A good night’s sleep makes your brain sharper and makes you a first learner.
  7. Sleep gives your brain rest to prepare for the next day.
  8. Sleep maintains hormone regulation in your body.

How much sleep is necessary for a day

Sleep requirement is different for different age groups, a complete guide of sleep listed below.

Infant below 1 year required 14 – 16 Hrs of sleep.

Children of 1 to 2 years required 12 to 14 Hrs of sleep.

Children of 3 to 5 years required 10 to 12 Hrs of sleep.

Children of 6 to 12 years required 9 to 11 Hrs of sleep.

Teens of 13 to 18 years required 8 to 10 Hrs of Sleep.

Adults have required 7 to 8 Hrs of Sleep. Old age people need 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

How can we get better sleep or How to get rid of insomnia

  1. Make a daily time schedule for sleep, it will help to make your biological clock perfect.
  2. Avoid artificial light(Mobile screen, laptop/desktop screen, television) 4 hours before bedtime, it will help better regulation of melatonin.
  3. Avoid Nicotine(Cigarette) and Caffeine(coffee, Cold soda drinks), it better not to drink coffee after 4 pm because the effect of caffeine can last for 6 to 8 Hrs.
  4. Active all day, try to do outdoor works and exercise.
  5. Avoid heavy meals at night.
  6. Avoid Heavy work at night.
  7. A hot bath at night helps to get rid of insomnia.

Want to acquire more Knowledge, click here

Sleep deprivation
Signs and symptoms of Sleep deprivation

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Biswa Prakash

Hi, I am Biswa Prakash Swain, a Public Health expert and author of this Article. I have Done BSc in Nursing and Masters in Public Health (Epidemiology), Now Preparing for Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. I have more than 7 years of experience in Healthcare sectors like Hospitals and almost 4 years of experience in the Public health field and Clinical research.


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