Need Sleep? The issue of sleep deprivation has gone beyond the counting of sheep and into the scientific arena, as researchers set up sleep studies to measure the biomedical and sociological factors keeping us awake at night. The project, conducted at the University of Helsinki used various sleep restriction experiments within the controlled conditions of their sleep laboratories.
In one study, the sleeping patterns of young, healthy men were restricted to just four hours per night over a period of five days, followed by two nights of normal sleep. The results concluded that sleep restriction induced changes in the body's energy metabolism, immune system and autonomic nervous system. It also revealed that sleep curtailment could cause inflammation and oxidative stress, and consequently trigger mechanisms involved in cardiovascular disease. The study also investigated a further 97 people to determine the impact of sleep disorders on the metabolic, endocrine and immune functions. Project scientists conducted experiments with patients who experienced various sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and patients with primary insomnia. They discovered that the degree of disturbance was negatively related to measures of sleep continuity. When they studied the sociological aspect of sleep deprivation, they found that the quantitative analysis revealed a connection between disadvantaged social status and high levels of sleep problems. Long working hours and long commutes to work were also associated with shorter sleeps among those studied. This study really brings to light the need to solve one's sleep issues. There are lots of physiological and social effects caused by lack of good sleep. Let us know if we can help!