Imagine it’s late at night, you’re the only one at home, and you’re so sleep-deprived that you begin to think you’re seeing or hearing things. A shadow on the wall looks like an intruder, or what you thought was the wind sounded like someone whispering your name.
When we go without quality sleep for days, weeks, or months on end, it can alter our mood, inhibit us from concentrating, drain our energy stores, and increase our anxiety levels. But in extreme cases, it can mimic schizophrenia-type symptoms, altering our reality, heightening our anxiety, and making us feel as if we’re losing touch with reality.
Lack of Sleep and Sleep Deprivation Psychosis?
Why is sleep important?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that most people need seven or more hours of sleep every night. But how many of us can honestly say we get that, much less feel that we’re getting enough uninterrupted and rejuvenating sleep daily?
In today’s world, most of us are busier than ever. We have to be “on” the second we wake up, until the moment we turn in for the night. And not all of us can just turn off that “switch.”
So when we suffer from insomnia, sleep-deprivation psychosis, or other sleep disorders, it can prevent our bodies from repairing its cells, quashing free radicals, and topping up our energy so we can do it all again the next day.
According to the National Health Services (NHS) in the UK, “1 in 3 of us suffers from poor sleep, with stress, computers and taking work home often blamed.”
When we fail to get restorative rest, it puts us at greater risk for diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, a weak immune system, brain fog, forgetfulness, and more. Here are just a few of the many benefits a good night’s sleep can afford us:
- Improved memory and executive functioning
- Stable mood
- Feeling rested or energized
- Healthy weight maintenance
- Stronger immune system
- Less likely to experience an accident due to a lack of sleep
What is Sleep Deprivation Psychosis?
Sleep Deprivation Psychosis occurs “when the absence of sleep causes a disconnection from reality that can present as hallucinations or delusional thinking.” Usually, this will occur anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after not sleeping.
Those who suffer from ADHD, depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are especially prone to sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders, like insomnia, etc.
What are the symptoms?
Any combination or all of the following symptoms may occur as a result of sleep deprivation psychosis:
- Hallucinations, or experiencing phenomena with any of the five senses that actually do not exist in reality (e.g., seeing a person who isn’t there, hearing voices, or smelling a scent, etc.).
- Mood swings
- Erratic behaviour
- Delusional thinking (i.e., when someone believes something that doesn’t exist in reality)
- Inability to focus
Also, it’s important to note, that the more time an individual is without sleep, the more severe their symptoms can be.
How long will they last?
Here’s the good news! Sleep Deprivation Psychosis is not a permanent condition, and you can find relief with quality sleep. It may take several days or eventually weeks to recover. But it is physically impossible to go without sleep permanently. Our brain will eventually force us into a sleep state.
Effects of sleep deprivation on our overall health
What about my physical health?
Every component of our body, down to the cellular level, requires sleep to function properly. When it comes to our physical health, though, we need sleep in order to:
- Repair damaged cells
- Release hormones
- The brain processes and stores information
- Restore energy
- Synthesize proteins
- Allow for muscle repair
- Support healthy brain functioning
- Protect against resistance to insulin
What can I do to fall asleep and stay asleep?
In addition to taking a health supplement or speaking with your doctor, there are many things you can do to help you relax and primed to catch ZZZs.
- Make your sleep space as comfortable and inviting as possible.
- Play soothing music, like nature sounds or classical chords.
- Avoid spicy foods, as they can cause hot flushes, indigestion, and reflux.
- Avoid alcohol or tobacco before bed time, and use them in moderation.
- Set your alarm for the same time everyday, if possible.
- Avoid hitting snooze the next morning, if you are able to fall asleep.
- Limit screen time before bed time, maybe shooting for at least a few hours beforehand, if possible.
Supplements to help you fall asleep
What is it? You may have tasted the sweet, earthy flavour of these vibrant-red, spindly threads in any number of deserts, Indian dishes, or Spanish paella. Sourced by hand from the Crocus sativus plant, saffron grows in Greece, Afghanistan, Iran, and parts of Asia.
How will it benefit me? An herbal sedative, anti-inflammatory, mood stabilizer, and digestive aid, saffron is a popular and revered medicinal herb, especially in alternative medicine. It’s also an adaptogenic agent, meaning it can help lower our stress levels, relaxing us, especially before bedtime.
Research shows saffron can improve the quality and duration of sleep in healthy adults, especially in a superior, zero-chemical extract like Affron Saffron, that comes with peer-reviewed clinical evidence supporting the positive effects it has on overall sleep quality.
Daily dosage: Besides taking saffron as a capsule, tablet, or liquid extract, you can also enjoy it steeped inside hot water to make a cozy tea before bed.
Current research indicates “14 mg of saffron extract taken twice a day for twenty-eight days improved the quality of sleep in adults who reported sleep disruptions.” The average range seems to be 15 mg to 30 mg daily for up to 22 weeks.
What is it? The tiny pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin, a hormone that can control when we fall asleep and wake up. The circadian rhythms in our body (aka, our internal clock), coupled with the level of daylight we face each day can determine how much melatonin the pineal gland will produce.
How will it benefit me? Many individuals take a melatonin supplement because it helps them get their sleep-wake cycle back on track. Jet setters love to use it for jet lag after crossing international time zones. For the grounded (and sleepless) among us, however, melatonin may help us battle insomnia or sleep deprivation and stay asleep during the night.
Daily dosage: Melatonin gummies are all the rage at the moment, and not in a gimmicky way either. Whether you choose to take a gummy or capsule, liquid extract, powder, etc., most healthy adults, on average, can take 0.5 mg to 5 mg, approximately 45 minutes to 1.5 hours before bedtime.
What is it? Lavender (Lavendula) grows in the Canary Islands, northern Africa, across Europe, India, and southwest Asia. This herb with its blooming purple-blue flowers is diverse in its uses, both healthwise and cosmetically.
How will it benefit me? In addition to its antiinflammatory benefits, and besides alleviating pain from headaches, correcting skin blemishes, inducing relaxation, and helping us smell amazing, lavender can also encourage sleep, lower our stress levels, depressive symptoms, insomnia, and restlessness.
Daily dosage: A popular scent as a perfume or in an essential oil for aromatherapy, you can apply lavender topically (especially during a massage, or as a lotion or perfume).
Not to mention, you can also spritz it onto your bed pillow, sip it as part of a sleepy-time tea, or simply take it as a capsule supplement. If you decide to take the latter, a typical dose weighs in at 80 mg.
What is it? A tall, blooming plant native to Europe and Asia, the roots of Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) have been popular for centuries for their sedative effects.
How will it benefit me? Valerian may alleviate symptoms of anxiety and restlessness, in addition to helping you fall asleep faster and longer, improving your quality of sleep. Its ability to induce relaxation is especially appealing, especially if you take it before bedtime.
Daily dosage: You can take Valerian as a tea or in a capsule or tablet form. It’s best to take it before bedtime because of its drowsy effects. There is no official, standard dosage, but research indicates taking approximately 300 mg to 600 mg before bedtime is typical.
Getting enough sleep doesn’t have to be a dream
Restorative shut-eye is essential if we want to feel and function at our best. Working on our sleep hygiene and making other, purposeful efforts to achieve quality sleep may be one step closer to doing just that.
Severe sleep deprivation or psychosis can distort our reality, not to mention unnerve most of us. So, it’s essential to prioritize our rest by using research-backed methods and supplements when we do.
Earths Secret’s Sleep Complex blends five, all-natural ingredients into a single, rest-inducing formula: Affron Saffron, Montmorency Tart Cherry Extract, Passionflower, Lavender, and Chamomile.
This vegan-friendly complex is non-GMO and free from preservatives and fillers, allowing you to relax at bedtime before helping you nod off into the peaceful slumber you’ve been missing.