SLEEP REGULATES HORMONES AND BLOOD PRESSURE
Lack of sleep has a substantial impact on how the body regulates stress hormones, this can cause blood pressure to rise above accepted levels. Quality sleep is priceless, apart from waking up feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep, quality sleep helps to reduce blood pressure. I must mention that quality sleep needs to occur regularly.
There are many people worldwide who don’t know how it feels to wake up refreshed, unfortunately sleep cannot be banked and used at a later date. Lack of sleep has short and long-term consequences. Within this section there is information explaining how the lack of sleep can be a cause of high blood pressure, together with information how existing high blood pressure from other conditions can cause the lack of sleep.
Sleep apnoea is a common condition that has a serious impact on sleep, this condition can reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, a common cause of this condition is obesity, however, it’s possible slim people can suffer with sleep apnoea. While you sleep the brain stem controls messages between your body and the brain, it’s the brain stem that keeps the body alive, controlling many functions, including breathing, heartrate, blood pressure. Should oxygen levels to the brain become reduced for any reason while you’re asleep, the brain wakes you up, possibly gasping for oxygen.
When sleep apnoea and other conditions reduce the flow of oxygen, apart from interrupted sleep, low oxygen causes a build up of carbon dioxide in the blood stream, in turn this can cause people to wakeup with a headache, feeling tired and feel sleepy during the day.
Lack of Sleep can be caused by many things, stress as mentioned being one, however ‘Sleep Apnoea’ can have a dramatic effect on sleep, another possible cause is ‘Snoring’ which stops you getting into quality REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. One of the main causes of sleep apnoea and snoring is being overweight, a cure for both these problems may be as easy as losing weight! Albeit, losing weight is not easy, but I’ve listed some ideas in the Members Section.
Effects on the heart
All of the episodes above have an effect on the heart, causing the heart to become stressed, in turn heart rate goes up and blood pressure goes up. These conditions are a cause of stress, in addition to all the side effects mentioned, stress causes the brain to release hormones that can cause inflammation in the body.
Before moving on, let’s look at some startling facts and figures regarding lack of sleep.
In the UK around two thirds of the population suffer various conditions from the lack of sleep, that’s a total of 44 million people.
In America it’s estimated around 60 million people also suffer with conditions relating to the lack of sleep.
In Australia an approximate calculation, out of the 24 million people who live there, around 18 million people don’t get enough sleep.
In China, an estimation that 40% of the population have sleep disorders, that amounts to around 555 million people.
Researching other countries regarding sleep deprivation, indicate similar percentages compared to the countries listed here.
In addition, it’s estimated inadequate sleep, causing major health and safety hazards has a financial impact on countries around the world. The global cost is estimated to be around £650 Billion each year.
How Much Sleep?
How Much Sleep does the average adult person need every day? It’s a recognised fact we need around eight hours, some people more, some less. It’s not easy to measure how much sleep each individual needs, however, a good guide is determined when you wake up after eight hours’ sleep, if you’re still feeling tired, you’re not getting quality sleep, if during the day you find yourself sitting in a chair wishing you could have a ‘Power Nap’ then the chances are, you’re not getting enough quality sleep.
More Sleep is needed in the first years of life, a minimum of twelve hours for babies, the amount of sleep reduces as you age, when a baby starts walking, it reduces by an hour to a minimum of eleven hours, when they start nursery a minimum of ten hours, when they’re around eleven years a minimum of nine hours, reducing by another hour to around eight hours in their early teens, this is the minimum amount of sleep, most children in the early years will sleep more.
What happens if we can’t get enough regular quality sleep? Too little sleep can be the cause of many problems, I’ve listed some below that seem to occur when we don’t have the correct number of hours sleep.
- You wake up tired
- You lack concentration
- You can become emotional
- You can be moody
- You can feel depressed
- You may feel an increased heart rate
In addition, there are other factors that can occur when your sleep pattern changes and you don’t get a good nights sleep, there is a possibility that lack of quality sleep may cause some of the problems listed below.
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
- Your immune system is weaker
- Increase in blood pressure
- Risk of a heart attack
- Risk of a stroke
- Hormone imbalance
- May shorten life expectancy
- Other serious medical conditions