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The Harmful Effects of Interrupted Sleep to the Body

Maybe you have a neighbor with loud parties, a noisy and busy neighborhood, a sick member of the family you need to attend to, a bladder that always wakes you up to pee, or a newborn that needs to be breastfed that wakes you up often throughout the night. Whatever the reason for your interrupted sleep is, it can surely bring you harm. Here are only a few of the many harmful effects of interrupted sleep to your body and overall health:

It can dampen your positive mood.

Patrick Finan, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, along with his colleagues conducted a study which compares the mood ratings and brain patterns between interrupted sleepers and short sleepers.

As reported in their study published in the journal Sleep, they’ve discovered that interrupted sleep is more detrimental than short hours of sleep, specifically in a sleeper’s mood. Interrupted or disrupted sleep caused a striking drop in a sleeper’s positive mood. Because of these findings, Finan suggested we should pay more attention to both quantity and quality of sleep.

Your brain wouldn’t be as sharp as usual.

Waking up every few hours throughout the night can cause your brain to work poorly the next morning. Interrupted sleep can cause your cognitive ability and attention span to suffer as much as having only short hours of sleep. Because your brain function is negatively affected by interrupted sleep, you won’t also be able to react as quickly as you normally would.

When sleep is disrupted, your brain won’t also be as sharp in remembering things. You’re most likely to find it more difficult to learn new sets of skills and make new memories. The brain needs a long stretch of uninterrupted sleep to commit new learnings and events to memory.

It can cause toxicity in your brain.

During a night of enough hours of uninterrupted sleep, harmful proteins are removed and cleared away from the brain. On the contrary, having regular nights of interrupted sleep cause the harmful proteins to build up in the brain. Regularly interrupted sleep can lead to brain toxicity.

One type of harmful proteins that often gets removed from the brain during a good night’s sleep is Amyloid protein which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. When the brain isn’t cleared out of toxins, it can result in cell death and inflammation. Other signs of toxicity in the brain include manic highs and lows, migraines, seizures, depression, anxiety, dementia, and autism.

You can experience sleep drunkenness.

According to a 2014 study by Professor Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University, even just one night of interrupted sleep is already enough to create severe confusion and irritation the next day. Sleep drunkenness or confusional arousal is the sensation of grogginess, general fog, and poor reaction time. It is brought on by disruptions or sudden awakening from a nap or deep sleep.

Sleep drunkenness that goes with being disturbed or awakened out of a sudden during mid-cycle than drifting awake naturally can last longer than five minutes. According to a Stanford University report, it affects around 15.2% of 16,000 people surveyed for over a one-year period.

Make an effort to have uninterrupted and enough hours of sleep each night. You’re only a few nights of proper sleep away to your best health!

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