Archive for July 10th, 2007

Too Little Sleep Because Of Work?

July 10, 2007

imagesslp.jpgIt’s not uncommon to party all night… study for our exams (especially when I was in Medical school) or staying awake late at night because of hospital duties OR as parents being awake all night with a sick child!  Whew… those were the times! 

 During these “Awake” periods our body tends to compensate by making us sleep more the next day…our bodies way of        ” catching up”.  These acute sleep debt or loses are not known to be harmful because our body is able to adapt to acute changes in life from sleep to emotions to hormonal changes.  What is not known until now is the chronic lack of sleep where we lose a little bit of sleep over a period of days, months or even years due to work and work and work!!!!!

Understanding the effects of chronic lack of sleep was recently published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) from the group of Northwestern University.  In that study, the researchers discovered that “when animals are partially sleep deprived over consecutive days they no longer attempt to catch up on sleep, despite an accumulating sleep deficit.”  

The impact of these finding in humans is immense as experimental studies in humans showed that chronic partial sleep loss of even two to three hours per night was found to have detrimental effects on the body.  The effects include: impairments in cognitive performance, as well as cardiovascular, immune and endocrine functions.

The problem with these sleep-debt people is that they dont look sleepy nor report feeling sleepy BUT their performance on tasks was shown to decline.  Likewise, repeated partial sleep restriction in humans has been linked to metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.  In fact in our recent Endocrine Society Meeting, Sleep debt is now considered one major risk factor for Obesity and Diabetes!!!!

So how do we counter the effects of chronic sleep loss?

 Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests: if you’ve missed 10 hours of sleep over one week, make up for it over the weekend and the following week. If you’ve missed sleep for decades, it could take a few weeks to repay the debt. Plan a vacation with a light schedule, and sleep every night until you wake naturally. Once you’ve determined how much sleep you need, factor it into your daily schedule.

So guys… it’s not bad to work and finish our tasks on time BUT if we overdo things to satify somebody even ourselves at the expense of our health…is something else!

Enjoy Your Work But Stay Within The LIMITS!