To understand the effects of insomnia or lack of adequate quality sleep, it is imperative to understand sleep. It is a very complicated process involving body and brain. During sleep the body tissues are repaired and the organism, in a sense, rejuvenated. The brain receives a lot of input during the day and it processes, sorts out, rejects and records data during sleep. For this to be effective, an average person needs about 8 hours of sleep, quite variable in individuals. The depth of sleep is divided into four stages plus rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The REM sleep is very important, because during this sleep, the brain processes are completed. The bodily processes are successful during the sleep depth stages of 3 and 4 (delta sleep).
When this process is incomplete, the body and brain are not fully fit for the next day’s activity. The person feels very tired, fatigued, energy levels reduced and reflexes slowed. The sensitivity of the senses is blunted. Our mental functions like our ability to learn, remember and concentrate are affected by insomnia. The performance level in the workplace drops. The mind becomes sluggish and looses concentration. Lack of attention, dizzy spells and mood changes are other effects during the daytime caused by sleepless nights. Some people become very irritable and flare up for no reason. It may sometimes lead to emotional problems and depression. In chronic cases, when suffering from severe insomnia and sleepless nights continue for long time, people can even experience hallucinations.
If you suffer from insomnia, driving and operating machinery are very dangerous. Families and workplace colleagues find it very difficult to cope with someone who has not had a good night’s sleep.
Insomnia though a symptom of some underlying disorder, becomes a cause of other physical and psychological illness when it is allowed to go on for a long time.