Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sleep Deprivation and Melatonin

Posted February 26, 2021 by in Health + Fitness

Sleep Deprivation is an unhealthy habit, which is very hard to break. People become completely dependent on it for their normal functions in life. A person deprived of sleep regularly will have poor concentration, irritability, memory problems, reduced learning ability, lack of alertness, increased tension, and tension headaches. Sleep Deprivation is the leading cause of low self-esteem.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Deprivation occurs when you go without enough sleep for a sufficient period of time. There are many causes for sleep deprivation such as:

  • Stress 
  • Altered sleeping habits due to anxiety and other factors
  • Jet lag 
  • Change of daily routine 
  • Poor diet
  • Chronic insomnia

Chronic insomnia is the most serious form of sleep deprivation because the disease is caused by the inability to get quality sleep. Chronic Insomnia can lead to central nervous system disorder and death if not treated properly. Chronic Insomnia can be cured through the use of sleep medication or by helping the sufferer to change their lifestyle and habits.

It is best to avoid all causes of sleep deprivation like drugs, alcohol, and smoking because they greatly affect your body’s normal sleep pattern. One of the most common problems with people who are addicted to alcohol is that they often cannot function normally for one night after they consume alcohol. Also, Chronic Alcohol Use and Abuse can cause you to go without sleep for a long-term period of time. To prevent long-term sleep deprivation consult your doctor and ask him what kind of treatment would be best for you.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Deprivation is not actually a specific ailment. It can be caused by life events or other medical conditions. For some people, sleep deprivation just happens to be part of their daily routine. It can happen for a variety of reasons: Kids going to daycare. A person not getting enough sleep during the winter months from work.

Chronic sleep deprivation: Some of us suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, which means falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as when you are trying to go to bed or after exercising. Chronic insomnia is something many people have suffered from at one time or another. People sometimes sleep through the night when they should not, or even wake up during the middle of the night and cannot fall asleep again. This can cause difficulties with your life, especially if it interferes with your ability to function properly in your job and personal life.

If you want to combat sleep deprivation, there are several ways to do so. You can try to have a good night’s rest at night by maintaining a consistent bedtime, getting plenty of exercises, and feeding your body a healthy diet. A good night’s sleep is important for healthy functioning. These are just some of the possible signs of sleep deprivation, and there are many more.

To avoid chronic sleep deprivation, it is best to keep a sleep journal and check in with your doctor regularly. While you may not always be able to avoid falling asleep at inappropriate times, staying awake at those times will only lead to more serious problems.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is so common nowadays, even for those in some societies, seeming as though without long-term consequences, but is that really true? Does sleep deprivation truly have long-term effects on the body? What exactly happens when you don’t get enough sleep to fulfill your sleeping requirements? Let’s discuss sleep deprivation and why it’s so hard on you.

Health Issues: As it turns out, sleep deprivation may be dangerous, not only to your sleeping needs but also to your health. That’s because sleep is important for regulating hormones such as cortisol, which helps control our emotions and stress. The amount of sleep needed to help with these things increases with age, while hormone production slows down. More specifically, according to a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, older adults may be at higher risk for depression if they have insufficient sleep. That’s because sleep helps make us feel less frustrated and anxious. It helps make us “have a good mood” and can lower our risk for depression.

Sleep is also a vital sign in maintaining our bodily functions and regulating our internal organs. Without getting enough sleep, our bodies cannot metabolize nutrients, release energy, build muscles and bones, and build and repair cells. In fact, many bodily processes cannot function correctly. This means that our immune system is weakened and the ability to fight disease is lowered. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to:

  • Physical effects 
  • Mental disruptions such as:
  •  Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Increased stress levels


What is Melatonin? 

Melatonin is a natural human hormone produced by the pineal glands in the brain and has long since been linked with circadian control of the sleeping cycle as well as with controlling sleep. Melatonin has also been used as a dietary supplement for the treatment of insomnia, including from jet lag or change work, and is generally taken orally.

Melatonin is produced by the pineal glands when the temperature of the human body fluctuates between nighttime and morning hours. The pineal gland in the brain has a receptor for melatonin, which allows it to release the hormone while it is being manufactured, making melatonin levels peak at about 4 am every night.

Melatonin production may be stimulated by certain light sources, such as sunlight or lamps, but does not usually produce a regular wake-up time or consistent internal environment for the hormone to be produced. People who have a regular and consistent internal environment for melatonin generally feel better throughout the day, alert and awake, having a good sense of well-being.

For most people melatonin production is stimulated by changes in light and weather, although recent studies are indicating that melatonin production may also be stimulated by certain foods, including certain vitamins and certain herbal tea supplements. Melatonin may help to promote sleep and relaxation but is not a cure for insomnia.

Melatonin Overdose

First of all, if the level of the human hormone in your bloodstream is dangerously low then there would be no other internal chemical reactions to reduce the level. Therefore, the body can not turn off the internal chemical reactions that normally keep the human hormone level in balance. The human hormone is synthesized into a specific human protein, which is then packaged into a small molecule. This small molecule is then released into the bloodstream where it travels to every organ in the body. It is during this time that any overdose of the hormone occurs. Melatonin overdose can wreak havoc on your sleeping cycle.

It is, however, possible to counteract the effects of an overdose of Melatonin by taking the drug’s L-tryptophan and N-acetyl-dopamine, which are usually taken for depression, to counter the effects of the reduced levels of the hormone. If you do take these drugs, you must keep yourself aware that the amount of the drug that reaches your body depends on how you are taking the drugs, and how your body reacts to it. You should never take two drugs at the same time or take two drugs within a span of fewer than 2 hours of each other. Also, do not take more than one type of drug at once.

In most cases of Melatonin overdose, it is because the person taking the drugs was not aware of the amount of drug he/she was consuming. Therefore, before you decide to take a dose of Melatonin, ensure that you have enough information about its effects and the amount of drug you should be taking. Some of the drugs require that you consume them in the evening before bedtime. Others may require that you consume the drug in the morning or in the afternoon.

When the amount of Melatonin that you are taking is too high, then you could also get ill with some side effects such as depression, drowsiness, confusion, and nausea. So, before taking a dose of any drugs, ensure that you consult your doctor. Also, ensure that you consult your doctor if you are pregnant since you might find your pregnancy develops complications. If you are taking drugs to reduce stress, you should not undertake any stressful tasks while you are on the drug.

Side Effects of Melatonin Overdose

Melatonin overdose has been linked to numerous side effects. Some of these are headache, vomiting, nausea, sexual dysfunction, stiff muscles and liver problems, and low blood pressure. In some cases, individuals have been known to die after taking large doses of melatonin. As a matter of fact, several deaths were reported in the UK last year alone as a result of melatonin overdose. These incidents prove that taking small doses of this natural hormone should be carefully monitored, especially by individuals who are having a sleep disorder.

*Photos by Marcus Aurelius