Long-Term Sleep Deprivation Guarantees Emotional Weakness

By Margaret W. Lavigne


The National Sleep Foundation notes that sleep deprivation does fuel a variety of health issues, both physically and mentally. People with insomnia are more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety, and people with obstructive sleep apnea were five times more at risk of depression.


Use your smartphone before bedtime potentially lead to sleep deprivation. You might agree that insufficient sleep has become a worldwide epidemic. More and more people suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, which results in health issues including obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency.


Scientists have been cautioning against using light-emitting devices before bedtime. Blue light is proved to have negative effects on sleep patterns. Further, using a smartphone before bedtime can possibly lead to sleep disorders and circadian rhythm disorders. 


Exposure of Blue Light

Researchers found that light is a powerful cue for shifting or resetting the pattern of the circadian clock. Studies have shown that light suppresses melatonin. Light in the early morning resets the body clock to an earlier schedule. Light in the early evening results in a circadian rhythm to a later schedule.


“In humans and most diurnal mammals, melatonin[1] is secreted at night with a robust circadian rhythm and maximum plasma[2] levels that occur around 3 to 4 AM. The daily rise of melatonin secretion correlates with a subsequent increase in sleep propensity about 2 hours before the person’s regular bedtime.


The time before this secretion is the least likely for sleep to occur, and when it starts, the propensity for sleep increases greatly as the “sleep gate” opens. The rhythmic release of melatonin is regulated by the central circadian rhythm generator—the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)[3] of the anterior hypothalamus. “Atul Khullar, MD, MSc, The Role of Melatonin in the Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Cycle (2012)


Brainard also found the effect of light on melatonin secretion has clinical benefits. He asserts that light therapy has been shown to be effective in treating several other conditions, including depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders and age-related dementia.


The Interrelationship Between Melatonin and Blue light

Melatonin is present at low levels during the day, begins being released a few hours before bedtime and peaks in the middle of the night. Blue light decidedly induces hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength.[4] As reported, blue light is short-wavelength and it has a greater effect on melatonin suppression.


The research compared the effects of reading on a light-emitting device and reading a printed book. And they found that those who read on light-emitting devices took longer to fall asleep, and less REM sleep and had higher alertness before bedtime. Studies found that those who read on the light-emitting device were sleepier and took longer to wake up.


In other words, having a blue light before bedtime does affect people’s sleep quality. With social media online, most people generally fail to turn off their smartphone on time and go to bed, so people stay up longer and more and more people suffer from sleep deprivation. And long-term sleep deprivation can potentially result in mood disorders or even depression. As asserted by Faisal Khokhar, “Sleep deprivation causes emotional weakness.” Totally agreed.  Indisputably, emotional weakness is a gentler description of depression.


If people fail to quit the bad habits, their sleep pattern and daytime performance at the office will be dramatically affected in the long term. I would say, self-discipline is the only cure.


Once your body exposes to blue-light exposure, the body’s circadian rhythm would be postponed. Harvard University neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang found the effects of light-emitting devices on circadian systems extend beyond evening and into the following morning.


Excessive Usage of Smartphone Is Harmful to Our Brains

Has your memory capability and concertation gotten dramatically worse since you spend a lot of time on the smartphone? According to Price, when we read digital media, the cluttered landscape of links and ads and the short bursts of attention that are required by scrolling and swiping and tweeting result in “an intensely focused state of distraction” in the long-term and  create long-lasting changes in our brains.”


Price pinpoints that “our attention is the most valuable thing we have.” I would say, time is the most valuable thing we have in life, which is limited to an unknown deadline. What we pay attention to on a daily basis does decide how we spend our lives.


What Is REM Sleep? What Happens During Non-REM Sleep?

When you fall asleep, you cycle between REM and non-REM sleep.REM stands for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep, your eyes move quickly in different directions. That doesn’t happen during non-REM sleep.


Dreams typically happen during REM sleep. Non-REM sleep comes first and followed by a shorter period of REM sleep, and then the cycle starts over again. REM usually sleep occurs 90 minutes later after sleep. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes. Each of your later REM stages gets longer, and the final one may last up to an hour. Babies can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage, not for the adults.


Non-REM sleep(NREM sleep)

During the deep stages of non-REM sleep, the body repairs and regrows tissues and meanwhile builds bone and muscle and strengthens the immune system. There are three phases of non-REM sleep. Each stage lasts from five to fifteen minutes. People go through three phases before reaching REM sleep.


Stage 1: it’s easy to wake you up. This phase may last for five to ten minutes.

Stage 2: You are in light sleep. Your heart rate slows and your body temperature drops. Your body is getting ready for deep sleep.

Stages 3: You are in deep sleep. It’s harder to wake you up at this stage.


Long-term Sleep Deprivation Definitely Leads to Early Aging 

Studies have proved that insufficient sleep impacts memory and cognitive performance. Furthermore, studies found that poor sleepers get signs of skin aging easier and their skin shows a lower ability to recover after sun exposure. Inadequate sleep accelerates early aging and skin aging.

Margaret W. Lavigne

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