World Through My Eye : 15


Best Dressed

Best Dressed

Best Eyes

Best Eyes

Best Friends for Ever

Best Friends for Ever

Best Hairs

Best Hairs

Biggest Drama Queen

Biggest Drama Queen

Biggest Flirt

Biggest Flirt

Class Clown

Class Clown

Most Changed

Most Changed

Most Gullible

Most Gullible

Most Likely to Get Married

Most Likely to Get Married

Most Likely to Run the World

Most Likely to Run the World

Most Likely to Sleep in Class

Most Likely to Sleep in Class

Most Likely to Stay the Same

Most Likely to Stay the Same

Most Likely to Succeed

Most Likely to Succeed

Most Outspoken

Most Outspoken

Quietest

Quietest

Another Perspective…

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Why Am I Always So Tired?


In “Pakistan’s Sleep Deficit” I explain why adequate sleep is as important to life as food and water.  The research backs me up on this, as insufficient or irregular sleep has been implicated in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, overeating, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression.  Sleep deprivation also compromises the immune system, leaving one more susceptible to illnesses of all kinds, from colds to cancer.
 
In “Pakistan’s Sleep Deficit”  I explore the unfortunate fact that most Americans consider sleep a luxury, and berate anyone who sleeps “too much” or “too late,” although what constitutes “too much” sleep is an arbitrary standard that ignores the variability of people’s sleep requirements.
 
In the mid 20th centuries, most Pakistanis averaged 8 to 8 ½ hours of sleep per night.  Today the average is 6 hours, which means that many Pakistanis suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.
 
Ayesha, a young woman I know who is graduating from college this summer, was complaining to me recently that she sleeps way too much.  Even her roommates call her lazy and tease her about always needing naps, even after a “full night’s sleep.”
 
I asked her about her sleep regimen.  Four years ago when this same young woman had described frequently sleeping 16 hours at a stretch and still feeling exhausted, I had pressed her to get tested for mono.
 
Back then, as it happens, she had mono.
 
This time, though, the sleep pattern she described consisted of sleeping from midnight to 8:00 a.m. every day.  She went to bed at the same time and got up at the same time quite regularly.
 
And yet, she lamented, she still had to have a nap when she got home from class each day.
 
“Has it occurred to you,” I asked, “that you might be one of the many people who need more than 8 hours of sleep a night?”
 
“But that can’t be normal!” she exclaimed.
 
But it is normal.  I, for example, need 8 ½ hours of sleep per night.  I can manage on less, and usually I am forced to get by on much less.  But if I want to pop out of bed well-rested and ready to face the day with a full charge of energy, I need those 8 ½ hours.
 
I suspect one reason I need extra sleep is that my allergies cause my sleep to be less solid than it would be if I could breathe more comfortably while sleeping.  A lot of people have their sleep quality undermined by breathing problems caused by allergies and, more seriously, sleep apnea.  Whatever the reason, though, anything less than 8 ½ hours leaves me tired and in need of a double jolt of caffeine to help me get started in the morning.
 
After I told her that I need 8 ½ hours of sleep, Ayesha told me that 8-10 hours is what she requires, too, and she had always felt guilty about being so “lazy”–a feeling that has been reinforced by all the people who tease her about being lazy because she sleeps “too much.”  She was actually relieved when I told her she probably wasn’t sleeping enough!
 
Some people do very well on 7 hours of sleep a night.  Some lucky folks need only 6, and there have been documented cases of people whose sleep requirement was a mere 5 hours.
 
But the 8-hour standard that most people put such faith in is actually an average, which means that some people need more sleep than that, some less.  And whatever your body’s natural sleep requirement is, it is non-negotiable.
 
Every hour of sleep debt you accumulate must be paid off.  A certain amount of sleep debt is necessary: after all, we must be awake part of the day in order to be able to sleep at all at night.  But excess sleep debt, accumulated sleep debt that is not paid off, will drag you down, and the more of it you accumulate, the worse you will feel–and the less optimally you will perform on any task.
 
If you need, say, 9 hours a night but only permit yourself  8, then after a 5-day work week you will have accumulated 5 hours of excess sleep debt that you will have to repay.  People usually do this by sleeping 2 or 3 hours late on Saturday and Sunday–that is, if they allow themselves to catch up on sleep at all.
 
If they don’t, then their sleep debt will continue to accumulate, until at some point they simply crash and sleep for 12, 17, 20, or more hours at a stretch.  We all know people who do this from time to time.  Heck, most of us do this from time to time.

How much sleep do you need to wake up easily, without an alarm clock (or two or three, or four, as many of us require!), and eager to get up and face the day?
 
Most Pakistanis actually don’t even know their own body’s sleep requirement, because for as long as they can remember, they have been dragging themselves out of bed before they are “slept out.”  Whether it is the pressure of school or a job, or whether they just can’t stop playing video games, surfing the net, or watching TV, no Electricity, Noise most Pakistanis normally do not get enough sleep.
 
In order to find out how much sleep you need, you would have to allow yourself to sleep until you awaken naturally for several weeks.  The first week or two, you would sleep a lot of extra hours, because you would be working off your sleep debt.
 
Then you’d need one or two weeks of normal sleep, to allow your body to find its natural sleeping pattern.
 
I never got to do this until I was 18 years old!  That’s when I found out that with 8 ½ hours of sleep I am a turbocharged dynamo.  How wonderful it felt to leap out of bed without regret each morning and go about my work with all the energy I needed to get it done.  For a while I even gave up my morning coffee.
 
The set of circumstances that allowed me to sleep as much as I needed for several months was an aberration in my life.  It happened for the first time when I was 18, and it has not happened again in the 1 year since.
 
These days, even when I could sleep enough (as I could have during 5 weeks of last summer), I never do.  Why?  For the same reason no one else does, even when they can: because there are too many things I want to do, and I hate to “waste” my free time sleeping.
 
Usually I stay up late reading or writing.  Different people have different fixations.  But most of us have something we love to do and wish we had more time for, so when we do get free time, we are more likely to spend it on what we love to do than on paying off our sleep debt.
 
My 22-year-old friend Abdur-Rehman complains all week about how exhausted he is from his university life, his 40-hour work week, and his fairly demanding workout schedule.
 
But then on weekends, instead of sleeping, he parties with his friends until the wee hours of the morning.
 
Maybe if we were less chained to our jobs, if we had more prime time available for our own pursuits, we wouldn’t have to stay up all night to fit our fun into our lives.  But then again, it is soooo hard to put down that book, log off from the internet, or leave the party.  The fact that we can stay up all night, thanks to artificial light, means that we probably will, even though our bodies beg us for sleep.
 
But as I explain in “Pakistan’s Sleep Deficit,” chronic sleep deprivation has very serious consequences.  We would do well to listen to our bodies and make it a habit to get a good night’s sleep.
 
And that’s just what I meant to do this evening–before I let myself get caught up in writing and posting this essay.

Pakistan’s Sleep Deficit


Pakistanis seem to be prejudiced against sleep. Actually, we seem to be prejudiced against rest and relaxation of any sort. We never get leisure to rest, it’s work, work and work all the time. But the prejudice against sleep is especially pernicious.
 
          Anyone who sleeps “too much,” or who is not up and about by some arbitrarily defined time in the morning, is considered to be morally suspect–a practitioner of sloth, one of the seven deadly sins. It doesn’t matter whether that person has been asleep for nine hours or ninety minutes–if he is “sleeping late” he must be lazy.
 
          But the fact is that adequate sleep is as necessary to life as adequate food. A person who fails to get enough sleep on any given night begins to accumulate what sleep experts call a “sleep debt.” That debt must eventually be paid, too. If it continues to accumulate, the body will at some point simply refuse to stay awake, no matter how hard the person tries to keep his eyes open.
          Before slipping into such a deep sleep, a sleep-deprived person will usually go through a stage where he lapses into “micro-sleeps,” lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes, without even knowing that he has dozed. Of course, if he is driving a car, flying a plane, or operating dangerous machinery, he might find out in a most unpleasant way that he has been napping on the job. Even worse, he might not live long enough to find out at all. A young cousin of mine is currently undergoing physical rehabilitation for neck and spine injuries suffered when he went off the road and flipped his car over after dozing off at the wheel. It happened, as such accidents often do, after he had worked a late shift.
 
          Just as we need adequate sleep, we also need regular sleep schedules. Jet lag is the most obvious and best known manifestation of severely disrupted sleep routines, but any irregular sleep pattern can stress both the body and the mind.
 
          Sleep deprivation and irregular sleep patterns are implicated in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, overeating, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. People who do not get enough sleep or who are unable to sleep according to a regular schedule are almost certainly shortening their lives. Sleep deprivation also compromises the immune system, rendering one more susceptible to illnesses of all kinds, from colds to cancer.
 
          Dr. William C. Dement, a pioneer in sleep research–actually, one of the “inventors” of that field of study–laments in his book The Promise of Sleep that “a huge reservoir of knowledge about sleep, sleep deprivation, and sleep disorders has been building up behind a dam of pervasive ignorance and unresponsive bureaucracies.” The resistance to accepting the necessity of sleep, he warns, has made inevitable the occurrence of “preventable tragedies.” Pilots, truck drivers, third-shift machine operators, medical residents in hospitals–many people whose work puts them in a position to kill accidentally, or to be killed–are always under pressure to work impossibly long hours or according to highly irregular sleep schedules.
 
          Students all over Pakistan try to learn in school without having had enough sleep. Teenagers especially are at an age when their developing bodies require extra sleep. The few school districts that have moved the first class period from the typical 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. starting time to 9:30 a.m. have found students to be more alert and far more interested in classes.
 
          Ironically, at a time when their bodies need more sleep, teens are delighting in their newly-won freedom to stay up later, as well as in the increased number of interesting things they can do with those extra hours of waking time. Doubly ironic is the fact that their biorhythms also change during this stage, making it hard for them to fall asleep before 11:00 or midnight, even if they want to. No wonder early morning classes are so hard to wake up for.
 
          The mood swings and irritable behavior associated with adolescence may not always be cause by adolescence at all, since these are also key symptoms of sleep-deprivation. And even when the primary cause of such symptoms is adolescence, there is little doubt that they are exacerbated by sleep-deprivation.
 
          On average people sleep around five hours. Too many people (especially those in a position to decide how much the rest of us should work and what hours we should keep) consider sleep to be a luxury, or at the very least negotiable. It isn’t. It is as necessary to life and health as are food and water.

Sleep Deprivation


What is sleep?
Sleep is such a process that is crucially needed in order to provide rest to brain and body. During sleep, the brain in humans and other mammals undergoes a characteristic cycle of brain-wave activity that includes intervals of dreaming.

Sleep is very important, for body, mind and our general well-being

Sleep is usually divided into five stages. When you have passed through all five stages, you start over at stage one. One such sequence is called a sleep cycle. Here is a short description of those five stages of sleep:

Stage 1: Drowsiness : Your heart rate slows down, you start to breathe slower and your metabolism slows down. This stage usually lasts five to twenty minutes.
Stage 2: Light sleep: Brain activity is lower than during stage 1. This type of sleep constitutes about half of the total sleep time.
Stages 3 & 4: Deep sleep: During these stages the brain activity is at its lowest. The body produces almost no stress hormones but a lot of growth hormones.
Final stage: Dream sleep, REM sleep: During this stage the eyes are moving rapidly behind the eyelids, hence the name Rapid Eye Movement (REM). During this stage breathing gets faster, the heart beats faster and the blood pressure rises. The brain now works in a similar way as when we are awake. You can dream during all stages of sleep, but dreams are most common during this stage.

Sleep deprivation:
Sleep deprivation is an overall dearth of the all-important amount of sleep or in simple words, not having enough sleep. It is rather more common in teenagers these days. The major cause of it is taking high consumptions of caffeine which interrupts the circadian rhythms; a daily cycle of activity observed in many living organisms.

Sleep deprived people can also be called as Insomniacs. Insomnia is habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep. Elaborating, I can say that it is defined as a difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakening during the night or a feeling of not getting enough rest. It can be chronic or acute. Acute insomnia is often due to external factors, for example a death in the family. Insomnia is often not an illness itself but it is a symptom of other problems including psychosocial conditions such as depression, anxiety.

Overall effects of sleep deprivation:
The effects of sleep deprivation are short-term and long-term as well.

  • Obesity
  • Early aging
  • Chronic memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short term memory deterioration
  • Weakened immune system
  • Exhaustion
  • Mood swings
  • Diminished ability to come-up with plan and carry out activities
  • Depression
  • Heart diseases
  • Irritability
  • Hypertension
  • Slower reaction times
  • Pain

In some cases, it is said that death can take place due to the lack of sleep but history shows that a lot of people who suffered sleep deprivation; one for 475 days and another for 420 days straight, are still alive.

Treatment of sleep deprivation:
The only efficacious treatment for sleep deprivation is resuming a normal sleep pattern with enough sleep that you feel rested in the morning. Once you are getting good sleep again the symptoms of sleep deprivation will go away for sure in probably a short period of time.