You don't notice the first night of sleep that you haven't slept well. Maybe you won't even notice the second, third or fourth. It varies from person to person, but the truth remains that sleep deprivation affects everyone. The five common aspects of health - physical, emotional, spiritual, social and intellectual - are undoubtedly affected to lose the balance that good sleep allows each of these to function properly. What could make us sleep deprived? How does insufficient sleep affect these aspects of well-being? Is there such a thing as "permanent damage" regarding sleep deprivation? How to remedy a lack of sleep? Keep reading for answers!

We often discuss the causes when some part of our well-being is disrupted in order to trace the source of how it has affected our quality of life. By getting to the source, you can start solving the problem in question. Just one night of improper sleep can cause drowsiness, slowed thinking, low energy, and irritable mood. Research shows that sleep deprivation is a problem that has only gotten worse over the years. For example, it is estimated to affect one-third of American adults. The number of hours of sleep considered healthy per night is between seven and nine hours for adults. As for children and adolescents, this amount can vary between nine and fourteen hours, depending on the age group. Currently, there are 3 common types of sleep deprivation.

1. Acute sleep deprivation
By the term acute, this is a problem that usually lasts a few days or less.

2. Chronic sleep deprivation
Again, by the term chronic, this condition, also called insufficient sleep syndrome, involves you having been struggling with your sleep cycle for three months or more.

3. Chronic sleep deficit or insufficient sleep
This category is defined as not only prolonged, but continuous sleep deprivation and poor sleep due to sleep disturbances.

While sleep deprivation measures the hours you didn't get while sleeping, the term insufficiency or deficit refers to factors that could, due to lack of sleep, affect quality of life. So, what are the causes that could explain the instability of sleep cycles?

- Voluntary choices reducing available sleep time (staying up to watch TV)
- Work obligations (multiple jobs, extended hours, working irregular shifts)
- Medical conditions (sleep apnea, anxiety, thyroid disease)
- Sleep environment (too noisy, too bright)
- Bad daytime habits (too much caffeine, little or no exercise)
- Substance use (alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines)
- Care duties (caring for an elderly loved one or your newborn baby overnight)

When it is still too early to know if this problem will continue, one of the main characteristic signs of acute sleep deprivation is drowsiness during the day. You may find yourself unable to concentrate or remember things, you may feel less physically strong, which will weaken your immune system when fighting infections. So, what happens to us when sleep deprivation becomes continuous?

- Increased risk of depression and other mental illnesses
- Severe mood swings due to exhaustion, irritability, anxiety
- Professional and/or academic performance suffers
- Reaction time slows down
- Attention, behavior and/or hyperactivity problems in children
- Decreased concentration and attention leading to an increased risk of accidents in the elderly
- Poor decision making
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Decreased interest in sex
- Difficulty waking up in the morning, difficulty staying awake during meetings, while commuting or driving, or after a heavy meal
- Feeling lethargic in the afternoon
- Premature skin aging
- Weight gain

Is there such a thing as "too late" in sleep deprivation? In order to answer this question, we need to understand what is happening to the body when we sleep. Generally, our body tells us when we are ready to sleep. We go through cycles of sleep called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. Here are the stages of sleep non-REM:

1. You go from a state of wakefulness to a state of rest.
2. You are in a state of light sleep. Breathing, heart rate, muscle movement, brain activity slow down and your body temperature drops.
3. You are in a state of deep sleep. Your heartbeat and breathing are slowest at this stage and you cannot be woken up easily. The day's events are processed and stored in your memory.

REM sleep happens differently. Your pupils contract and move rapidly from side to side when your eyes are closed. Brain activity increases as you breathe faster and your heart rate increases. During this particular phase, you are most likely dreaming. Certain nerves send signals to your body so that you do not act out of the dream. REM could occur later at night or early in the morning. Memory is also processed and stored during this sleep cycle.

Research shows that we go through these stages about 4-6 times a night, causing us to wake up briefly between each cycle. This is considered common. Our hormones have their own role to play in regulating these sleep cycles. These hormones, when released by the brain, send signals to promote either sleep or wakefulness. Those that promote sleep include melatonin and serotonin while norepinephrine, adrenaline, histamine and cortisol counteract sleep. When you don't get enough hours of sleep per night on a regular basis, both REM and non-REM cycles are reduced, leading to increased awakenings. At this point, your body transcends into a state where you cannot easily make up for the many lost hours of sleep. The symptoms then become more severe if you do not seek help.

How to remedy a lack of sleep? General sleep needs do not necessarily meet individual sleep needs. Yes, sleeping between 7 and 9 hours is the general rule for adults. The older you get, the more your sleep needs change. Although the hours you get are crucial, they are only part of the factors that allow you to improve your quality of life. It is important to listen to your body and not compromise its needs by thinking that sleeping in the next day will be effective enough.

- Try to reduce the variability in the hours of sleep you get per night. To do this, you can set a sleep schedule.
- Try to establish a routine to stick to the same time you go to bed every night and the same time you wake up every morning.
- Regular exercise during the day can promote muscle relaxation and deep sleep at night.
- Try to avoid large meals or alcohol 2-3 hours before bedtime. The same goes for caffeine, if you are aware of your sensitivity, try to avoid drinking it 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid getting distracted by electronic devices before bedtime. If you want to set an alarm, consider setting it to an alarm clock rather than your smartphone.
- As part of establishing a routine, try to get into the habit of doing activities before bed, such as doing your nightly skincare routine, brushing your teeth, and changing into your pajamas at the same time every evening.
- You can create a calming atmosphere before bed, as part of bedtime rituals, by practicing deep breathing exercises, doing light stretches, or even listening to soothing music. There are also meditation podcasts, apps focused on better sleep, that can help induce deep sleep. (Stay tuned for our @naturisteofficiel suggestions on Instagram!)

Naturist Recommendations


Combination of Melatonin which supports your natural sleep cycle as well as L-Theanine which promotes a calm and relaxed mood.

Strengthens the anti-stress function.

Magnesium has a calming effect on the body.

Sleep is a subject that might seem overrated and it should be for good reasons. A healthy sleep cycle is part of a healthy body and mind. Look at it like eating. If you skip your midday meal, you will feel that something is wrong. Shaky hands? Dizziness? Sleep deprivation is equally important for you to work effectively and live your life to the fullest. It can become overwhelming if your sleep cycle is constantly disrupted and it is always recommended not to seek solutions on your own. The causes, like the symptoms, can vary from person to person. This blog is meant to be educational. Seek help from a doctor if you feel like you don't know where to start and how to solve this problem, because sleep is as precious as the ability to breathe.

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