The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Recently a New York City commuter train derailed and according to sources, the engineer had been sleep deprived. Apparently he was new to the shift he was working and his brain did not have time to adjust to the hours. Prior to the derailment, the engineer went into a hypnotic state (as those of in the hypnosis field would refer to as highway hypnosis). In a sense, we was on autopilot and not consciously aware of what was going on. This happens quite a bit when one is sleep deprived as well.
I remember back in the LAPD days and working early morning shifts after having worked days, it took me awhile to adjust. It’s all about one’s circadian rhythms.
Many people and especially “shift workers” are sleep deprived. Long haul truck drivers tend to get very little sleep and many rely on pills to keep them awake. After awhile, they will also go into a hypnotic state and even fall asleep at the wheel. This is dangerous for them and the public. It’s the same with airline pilots. One of my late friends (who passed away a few years back) was a pilot for American Airlines and would often be sleep deprived. He still would insist on flying knowing his condition.
This is the danger to the public and sleep deprivation to one’s health is another matter altogether.
When we are sleep deprived we tend to eat unhealthy as well. The mechanisms in the brain that control overeating are shut down. Instead, we tend to gravitate towards unhealthy food choices that are high in calories. Hence, a rise in body fat. From there, all the diseases related to obesity will abound. Another thing about being tired is that we lose motivation to workout. That continues the cycle of decreased fitness due to sleep deprivation.
Cognitive function also drops, even among those with supreme intelligence. The more sleep deprived one is, the higher chance of suffering from hallucinations occur. If you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, it’s important to know why you are not sleeping. That way you can take action to reverse it.
For many people it could be constant worries that lead to a lack of sleep. It could be that you’re a shift worker. It could be that you’re obsessed with working. Even obesity is a risk factor for sleeplessness. Here are 15 suggestions to help you get quality sleep:
- Make sure your sleep area is cool and dark.
- If you don’t have a quiet area, then use a white noise device, such as the sound of rain or a waterfall.
- Go to bed at close to the same time every night (or whenever you sleep).
- Don’t eat within an hour of going to sleep, especially high carb foods.
- Get plenty of exercise and be consistent about it.
- Turn off all smart devices before going to bed.
- Eat healthy most of the time.
- Quiet your mind. Mindfulness training will help you get to an empty mind.
- Lower your stress levels.
- Don’t drink alcohol before bed.
- Don’t drink coffee late in the day.
- Reading a book helps if you’re having a hard time falling asleep.
- Get up and move around instead of trying to force yourself to fall asleep.
- Write down all your worries onto a piece of paper before going to sleep and let that paper own it, not you.
- Breathe deeply all the time.
I hope those tips will help you start to get the right sleep that you need. I wish a good night’s sleep all the time.