Behind the Scenes of Drowsy Eyes

By: Audrey F.

What is Sleep? Why do we Sleep? Is it just rest or is there more to it? Sleep is so vital to the human body. It controls your health, behavior, energy, and your mind. Why is sleep so significant? It provides a chance for our brain to repair, recover, and rest. Sleep provides health for our mind by killing bad bacteria, makes our bodies stronger by healing cuts, scrapes, and bruises, and sleep keeps our bodies at a substantial weight. But, some individuals aren’t receiving the perfect amount of shut-eye for their body. In order to be successful during the day, treat yourself respectively and rest. Join me and explore what takes place behind the scenes of drowsy eyes!

Sleep Deprived, Hard to Thrive

Sleep deprivation kills quicker than the lack of food. Yet, 5 out of 10 citizens don’t recognize this. Lack of sleep is so bad for the human body because sleep allows individuals to take time and relax their hard-working body and when they don’t receive this, then something goes wrong. A person who loses one night’s sleep will generally be irritable and clumsy during the next day and will either become tired easily or speed up because of adrenalin. After missing two night’s sleep, a person will have problems concentrating and will begin to make mistakes on normal tasks. For instance, driving will be unsafe for you because, of the inability to focus on the road. Three missed nights and a person will start to hallucinate and lose grasp of reality. Also, sleep deprivation mimics psychosis: distorted perceptions can lead to inappropriate emotional and behavioral responses. That is just another rationale why sleep destitution is so terrible for our brain. Without sleep, humans don’t think normally and aren’t able to focus on day to day tasks. People who experience less sleep show a decreased willingness to engage in sports and activities that require effort through fine motor coordination and attention to detail. You probably know that on the days when you are most tired, you're forgetful and unfocused -- but sleep deprivation can lead to permanent cognitive issues. The less we sleep, the less we benefit from the memory-storing properties of sleep. Don’t forget that, even without the typical risk factors, such as being overweight or having a family history of obesity, short sleep can increase your risk for strokes, according to the 2012 researchers. Adults who regularly slept fewer than six hours a night had four times the risk of stroke symptoms. Sleep is so crucial to the human body, A 2004 study, medical residents with less than four hours of sleep a night made more than twice as many errors, than residents who slept for more than seven hours a night, and it is especially alarming that less than 11% of surveyed residents were sleeping more than seven hours a night. This goes to show how sleep deprivation is just a stab in the back for your health. Along with your health, sleep deprivation has been reported to cause hernias, muscle fascia tears, and other problems related to physical overexertion and building of the muscles- continuous muscular activity without proper rest time, effects such as cramping are much more frequent in sleep-deprived people. Also, sleep deprivation tampers with your hormones. Several nights of bad sleep lowers your body’s levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates energy- that’s not good news. In result, sleep deprivation is deadly.

Slumber Mishaps

Do you have a sleep disorder? Sometimes sleepers don’t realize they do, until they are informed about them. Most sleep disorders have a huge role in the atrocious case of sleep deprivation. A survey taken by thirty individuals notified me that a lot of adults don’t even recognize that they are victims of sleep disorders. Let’s take an examination at a few common slumber mishaps.


More than 60 million people are affected by Insomnia! The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression- in a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without- insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression. This disorder is the inability to drift away or sleep normally. Insomnia impacts an abundant amount of humans. But, it’s not just grown-ups being burdened by this disorder, it is teenagers too. 5% of these young adults say their Insomnia interferes with their everyday life! You could be one of these sufferers. Some causes of Insomnia are:

  • Significant Life Stress
  • Illness
  • Emotional or Physical Discomfort
  • Environmental factors like noise or temperature that prevent sleep
  • Some medications (for example those used to treat colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure, or asthma) may prevent sleep
  • Interferences in normal sleep schedule

If you are experiencing any of this, you could possibly be diagnosed with Insomnia soon.


Hypersomnia isn’t nearly as bad as Insomnia, though it’s a struggle. Hypersomniacs experience deep sleep stages and hardly wake up. If you are affected with this you may be able to sleep 16- 20 hours in one day (even an infant requires less than this). Hypersomnia can be a symptom of depression and other mental illnesses. The main symptom of Hypersomnia is excessive daytime lethargy or prolonged nighttime sleep, which has occurred for at least 3 months prior to diagnosis. Two types of Hypersomnia exist- idiopathic and traumatic. In traumatic Hypersomnia, scientists and doctors can trace causes in brain injuries- which, helps to prevent Hypersomnia. During, idiopathic Hypersomnia physicians cannot determine the main cause for suffering. This means your mind has a low chance of being repaired. A few causes of Hypersomnia are:

  • Obesity
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Genetics (having a relative with hypersomnia)

If you are experiencing any of this you may be diagnosed with Hypersomnia soon.

Sleep Apnea

How long can you hold your breath? 20 or 25 seconds? Well, in sleep apnea it is much longer! Sleep apnea is when your body stops breathing for minutes while asleep. This is bad because, your body’s lungs aren’t able to get oxygen to breath. The sleep apnea process can repeat itself 400 times in one night! Imagine, that you are in a group with 25 people including you. One person there carries the burden of sleep apnea, says the lung and heart institution. Some symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Sleep: episodes of no breathing, abnormal breathing pattern, insomnia, nightmares, excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, or sleep deprivation
  • Respiratory: shallow breathing, breathing through the mouth, or loud breathing
  • Also common: headache, dry throat, irritability, dry mouth, depression, weight gain, teeth grinding, mood swings, or fatigue

Some treatments for sleep apnea are:

  • Lifestyle: Weight loss, Physical exercise
  • Devices: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • Procedures: Tonsillectomy, Adenoidectomy, Palatoplasty


Zzz. Zzz. Narcolepsy is consistent urge to fall asleep at any given time. This is awful, considering the fact that you could be driving and would suddenly start snoozing- this could also pose a threat for your life. Also, a person with Narcolepsy may be experiencing extreme loss of muscle tone and vivid images. This means that your muscles would constantly remain weak and sluggish. You would also lose the ability to find intricate and precise features of things. According to the National Commission of Sleep Disorder Research, 1 in 1,000 people are affected by Narcolepsy. Luckily, many people don’t have to deal with this disorder. So far, scientists have not yet found a possible cure for Narcolepsy.

Night Terrors

Everybody has claimed to have a nightmare as a youngster, but do you really know what one is? Most of you have been comforted by your parents after an occasional frightening dream. But, if you have ever experienced a night terror then you know that it is a bit more complex than a few weird or scary images! A night terror is a sleep disruption that seems similar to a nightmare, but with a far more dramatic presentation. Though night terrors can be alarming for parents who witness them, they're not usually a cause for concerns or a sign of a deep medical issue. During a typical night, sleep occurs in several stages. Each is associated with particular brain activity, and it's during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage that most dreaming occurs. Night terrors happen during deep non-REM sleep. Unlike nightmares (which occur during REM sleep), a night terror is not technically a dream, but more like a sudden reaction of fear that happens during the transition from one sleep phase to another. 200,000 kids struggle with this each year. Night terrors usually occur about 2 or 3 hours after a child falls asleep, when sleep transitions from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep, a stage where dreams occur. Usually this transition is a smooth one. But rarely, a child becomes agitated and frightened — and that fear reaction is a night terror. During a night terror, a child might suddenly sit upright in bed and shout out or scream in distress. The child's breathing and heartbeat might be faster, he or she might sweat, thrash around, and act upset and scared. After a few minutes, or sometimes longer, a child simply calms down and returns to sleep. Unlike nightmares, which kids often remember, kids won't have any memory of a night terror the next day because they were in deep sleep when it happened — and there are no mental images to recall.

So, you’ve heard about sleep deprivation and all of its disorders. All sleep disorders can cause sleep deprivation, which as we have learned, debilitates our bodies. But, how does sleep affect your everyday life? Maybe, it makes you more productive or makes you feel recharged physically and emotionally. Does it impact your concentration level or your job performance? Whatever it is, sleep is important and provides a chance for your body and brain to have a break, repair, recover, and rest. So, let sleep do its job and rest!

Works Cited

"Consequences of Insufficient Sleep." Healthy Sleep. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Feature, Camille PeriWebMD. "10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. Citation 5

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Rosen, Marvin. Sleep and Dreaming. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2006. Print. Citation 1

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