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!

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7 Responses to “Too Little Sleep Because Of Work?”

  1. maxim Says:

    Thanks for the info doc. Truly sleep is a gift for us to recover from all the stresses there are.

    I love sleeping with the right amount of time. There is immense relief in sleeping. The right pillows, the right mattresses, the right ventilation, and of course with your loved one beside you… that’s a perfect way to enjoy this valuable gift.

  2. maxim Says:

    I have viewed the photos in your flicker website.

    What can I say, but be amazed while I tried to grapple with the ineffability of beauty and the richness of life.

    There is gravity and defiance, flowers – a landscape of scents floating in red orange violet and the hues in between, an old musician playing under a streetlamp, the tropical frangipani in curved and blinding whiteness, the lone giraffe trying to keep tall in the barren hillside, colors colors of the sea of boracay of sails and breeze sails, the great wall and the tired faces, of prayers suspended in the rainbow korean sky, all elements of motions slow boat on a river biking old woman on a cobbled street or the falls of niagara with the force of an angry water or the deceiving eye movement of the meek lion…

    beauty colors and the capture of its fleeting silence…you’ve immersed in its raging loneliness.

  3. Doc Gerry Says:

    Max…thanks a lot for your poetic review. For the benefit of the readers, Maxim has a poetry blog in friendster…I hope Maxim can write us back for the website address.

  4. Claire Says:

    Hi doctor, I am so glad I got the opportunity to know this website of yours. It’s so informative… I love it. I have learned a lot even though this is my first time to open this website. I was amazed because earlier today me and my colleagues were talking about lack of sleep, over-eating and not doing any exercise. You see, I always sleep late even though there are no works oe deadlines to be done, I just can’t sleep early. And most of the time, I only have 5-6 hours of sleep. At least now I know, there’s still a way to counter the effects of chronic sleep loss.

  5. Doc Gerry Says:

    Nice knwoing you love my website. Yup I really out effort and time in developing my website and am glad I have hit 50,000 views so far. Keep giving me comment Claire. Just came from Malaysia to attend an emergency meeting and just came back to work today so will have more updates for you…


  6. […] Dr. Gerry Tan , our favorite doctor in  https://docgerrytan.com/ – What happens when you lose sleep? – Health Implications when you REUSE takeaway plastic […]


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