Medliorate

Improving medical students

Physiology of Sleep Deprivation

Posted by medliorator on February 8, 2008

what happens when you don’t have time for even 6 hours of sleep? Without adequate rest, the brain’s ability to function quickly deteriorates. The brain works harder to counteract sleep deprivation effects, but operates less effectively: concentration levels drop, and memory becomes impaired.

 

Similarly, the brain’s ability to problem solve is greatly impaired. Decision-making abilities are compromised, and the brain falls into rigid thought patterns that make it difficult to generate new problem-solving ideas. Insufficient rest can also cause people to have hallucinations. Other typical effects of sleep deprivation include:

  • depression
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • irritability
  • slower reaction times
  • slurred speech
  • tremors

Because the amount and quality of the sleep we get affects our hormone levels, namely our levels of leptin and ghrelin, many physiological processes that depend on these hormone levels to function properly, including appetite, are affected by our sleep.

 

While leptin is a hormone that affects our feelings of fullness and satisfaction after a meal, ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates our appetites. When you suffer from sleep deprivation, your body’s levels of leptin fall while ghrelin levels increase. This means that you end up feeling hungrier without really feeling satisfied by what you eat, causing you to eat more and, consequently, gain weight.

Cheat on the Need to Sleep [Wired HowTo]

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