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Why Sleep Deprivation Kills

Reactive Oxygen Species

... or ROS is a molecule that builds up in the intestines of animals that are denied sleep.

  • Studies conducted on fruit flies and mice showed rising levels of ROS when kept in sleep deprivation.

  • Antioxidants, when given to sleep-deprived flies, made them healthy and active again, proving that the artificial restoration is possible.

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Why Sleep Deprivation Kills

Why Sleep Deprivation Kills

https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-sleep-deprivation-kills-20200604/

quantamagazine.org

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Key Ideas

Consequences Of Too Little Sleep

It is common knowledge that we need to sleep to be our best. And constant sleep loss has serious effects, including death.

Sleep is a neurological activity, and still, sleep-deprived creatures suffer serious malfunction in other parts of the body, outside the nervous system. Chronic sleep deprivation can result in heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

No Sleep = No Restoration

Sleep, according to deep research on flies, has a function of reversing the ancient biochemical process of oxidation. Without sleep, there is no restoration possible.

Sleep studies prove it is worse than starvation, as early studies (19th century) conducted on puppies showed that they died in about five days if deprived of sleep and kept in motion.

Reactive Oxygen Species

... or ROS is a molecule that builds up in the intestines of animals that are denied sleep.

  • Studies conducted on fruit flies and mice showed rising levels of ROS when kept in sleep deprivation.

  • Antioxidants, when given to sleep-deprived flies, made them healthy and active again, proving that the artificial restoration is possible.

The Body Is One

Researchers have found that sleep deprivation is not just about the mind, or the nervous system, but affects our gut, blood composition and other parts of the body which seem unrelated to sleep.

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Slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) – SWS

About 80% of our sleeping is of the SWS variety, identified by slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and deep breathing.

Deep sleep is important for the consolidation of memories. New experience...

Rapid eye movement (dreaming) - REM

Dreaming accounts for 20% of our sleeping time.

The length of dreams can vary from a few seconds to almost an hour. During REM sleep, the brain is highly active. The muscles are paralyzed, and the heart rate increases. Breathing can become erratic. 

Sleep quantity

Although eight hours is the common mention, optimum sleep can vary from person to person and from age to age.

One review that worked through 320 research articles concluded 7 - 9 hours of sleep are enough for adults. According to experts, too little or too much sleep can both have a negative impact on your health.

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The necessary amount of sleep
The necessary amount of sleep

Most adults function best after 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

When we get less than 7 hours, we’re impaired (to degrees that vary from person to person).  When sleep persistently fa...

Polyphasic sleeping

It's based on the idea that by partitioning your sleep into segments, you can get away with less of it.

Though it is possible to train oneself to sleep in spurts instead of a single nightly block, it does not seem possible to train oneself to need less sleep per 24-hour cycle.

Replacing sleep with caffeine

Caffeine works primarily by blocking the action of a chemical called adenosine, which slows down our neural activity, allowing us to relax, rest, and sleep.

By interfering with it, caffeine cuts the brake lines of the brain’s alertness system. Eventually, if we don’t allow our body to relax, the buzz turns to anxiety.

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Sleep And Weight Fluctuation
Sleep And Weight Fluctuation

Sleeping less has been associated with increased risk of obesity, and addition of body fat, as it affects the overall metabolism of the body, and can also affect our appetite.

Sleep duratio...

More Sleep Means Better Metabolism
  • Various studies point out that sleep influences two appetite hormones, leptin (to decrease appetite) and ghrelin (to stimulate appetite), which is also known as the hunger hormone.
  • Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, making the person more likely to overeat.
More Sleep And More Exercise
  • Sleep-deprived people crave for and also end up eating more carb-rich foods and sugar.
  • Sleep duration affects the release of insulin in the body, that affects our glucose levels, and prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Research shows that exercise prevents the damage done by lack of sleep and also makes one eat less.

To stay healthy, one has to sleep more and also do regular exercise.

The Science of Sleep

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health
Restoration

The first purpose of sleep is restoration.

Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.

Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

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Sleep more

Sleeping can help us fight anxiety.

We are less worried or anxious after a good night's sleep, as compared to no sleep or even disturbed sleep.

NREM and REM Sleep

REM, the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep happens when our eyes are moving fast; we are said to be dreaming in that stage.

NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) is the stage of sleep when we are in deep sleep and are not moving. In this stage, our brain is able to clear toxins and consolidate memories.

The deepest part of sleep
Slow-Wave stage of NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is the deepest phase of sleep.
This stage, which repairs and restores the brain, readies you for the next day, fully awake and functioning at an optimal level.
Sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation

Willpower, memory, judgement, and attention all suffer when you are sleep deprived.

You drop things, crave junk food sugar, overeat, gain weight. You’re more irritable, negative, emotio...

Get through sleep deprivation:
  • Stabilize your blood sugar, by eating hearty food (protein and fat) more often.
  • Reduce refined carbs and increase fats and proteins.
  • B-complex vitamin supplements can give you an immediate boost in alertness and mental clarity.
  • Soak in an Epsom salt bath - might even help you get enough energy to exercise the next day.
  • Drink more water than you usually do to help compensate.
  • Exercise is the single best way to “take out the trash” in your body, and after staying up more hours than you should.
Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

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Exhausted In Isolation
Exhausted In Isolation

Due to the lockdown, tens of millions of people are sheltered at home, all across the world. There is a lack of routine, emotional insecurity, poor nutrition and alcohol/substance abuse, leading to...

Sun Therapy

If you can go outside, even for a walk around your home, make use of that. It is extremely important to get some sunlight absorption in your body, as it prevents depression and sluggishness while ensuring a healthy level of melatonin and serotonin in your brain.

Stay In The Routine

Having a new routine can be refreshing for a few days but it gets hard to maintain it.

It is imperative that we stick to a routine, shower, and dress every day, preferably waking up early, and at the same time.

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Loneliness

Studies show that lack of sleep can lead to unfriendly and reclusive behavior, and has the same impact on the people around you. As a result, unslept people are lonelier.

Other Consequences of Lack Of Sleep
  • Lack of sleep can result in a feeling that our space is being invaded, leading to us distancing ourselves from others, physically.
  • The region of the brain which is responsible for compassion and sociability is less active in those with sleep deprivation.
  • Other people perceive those with sleep deprivation as socially 'repulsive' and surprisingly start to show the same symptoms if they deal with them for a while.
Metabolism

It refers to the thousands of chemical reactions that turn what we eat and drink into fuel in every cell of the body. These reactions change in response to our environments and behaviors, an...

How The Body Uses Calories
  • Basal metabolism is the energy our body needs to keep our cells working and accounts for 65-80% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • The thermic effect of food is the energy our body uses to process food and accounts for 10% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • Physical activity accounts for 10 - 30 % of most people’s caloric consumption .
Controlling Your Own Weight

Not everyone overeats and becomes overweight, and not everyone who becomes overweight or obese develops illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. 

There was never a special diet, exercise regimen, or supplement that worked universally to control weight. Through trial and error, we have to discover habits and routines we can stick with that help us eat less and move more. 

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