Can missing shut eye actually cause a psychological disorder? The general belief, even just a few years ago, was that mental illness caused sleep disruptions like insomnia, but a new study shows that it could also work the other way too. We call getting enough rest our “beauty sleep,” but it turns out that sleep is also pertinent to social interaction and brain activity and not just looking good the next day.
In the study, the subjects were asked to stay awake for 24 hours so that psychologists and scientists could study their cognitive function. Without sleep during that 24 hour period, the subjects exhibited similar symptoms to that of people suffering from schizophrenia. The scientists were shocked to see that the subjects had delusions of their own abilities, some believing they had superpowers, and others complained of a sensitivity to light and sound.
We all know too well how it feels to have to function on a limited amount of sleep. A study done in 2009 studied the connection between serious mental illnesses and sleep disorders. For example, people that are suffering from untreated sleep apnea, a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing throughout the night due to clogged airways, are much more likely to suffer from depression as well.
While science doesn’t necessary say that a lack of sleep will directly cause a mental disorder, there is still overwhelming evidence that getting the right amount of sleep each night will do wonders for your overall health. It is suggested that a person can only go without sleep for 11 days before the risk of death becomes overwhelming, but cognitive function is impaired at as little as 24 hours.
There’s no doubting that our brains need rest. A lack of sleep can lead to a myriad of different physical illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. Rest is absolutely essential for our bodies as it allows the body to heal itself and many experts believe it also allows the brain to process the day’s occurrences.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a sleep disorder, please seek out a sleep specialist in order to deal with it. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome or feeling excessively tired throughout the daytime hours should be addressed by a professional.