Why do we need sleep?
What happens when we sleep?
We usually pass through four sleep stages. These stages progress in a continuous cycle
On average, each sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes and repeats several times throughout the night.
What are the effects of sleep deprivation?
People who are sleep deprived are more likely to struggle while at work or in school, or experience mood changes that may affect personal relationships. It can also lead to unintentional errors and accidents, as in the case of drowsy driving.
Sleep deprivation has been linked to cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Insufficient sleep appears to affect the body to regulate blood sugar, increasing the risk of diabetes.
Some research has found that people tend to consume more calories and carbohydrates when they are sleep deprived.
Compromised immune function
Sleep deficiency has been shown to lead to worsened immune function.
Mental health conditions
Poor sleep has strong associations with conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Those with poor sleep habits would run a higher risk of dementia.
A sleep disorder is characterised by a disruptive sleep pattern that may include any of the following:
- Abnormal behaviour associated with sleep (e.g. sleepwalking)
- Difﬁculty falling or staying asleep
- Excessive total sleep time
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times
The symptoms of a sleep disorder depend on the speciﬁc type of sleep disorder.
- Difﬁculty concentrating at home, school, or work
- Difﬁculty staying awake while sitting
- Emotional outbursts
- Falling asleep while driving
- Feeling sleepy or irritable during the day
- Memory problems
- Needing multiple caffeinated drinks to make it through the day
- Often appearing tired and/or feeling fatigued every day
- Slowed reaction
Some people experience difficulty sleeping at some point in their lives. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, keep a sleep record using a sleep diary or tracker. This makes it possible to calculate total sleep time, identify sleep disruptions, and other factors that can influence your sleep. Bring it along when you consult your GP or a sleep specialist. The condition must have persisted for at least one month and has caused signiﬁcant emotional distress and interfered with one’s social or occupational functioning.
Your sleep diary should include :
Do consult your GP or a sleep specialist if you are concerned about your sleep. If sleep problems persist and are bothersome or interferes with how you feel or function during the day, you may need to seek a doctor’s advice from the Sleep Centres listed below.