Research paper

Tyler Belk

Eng. 1020 C12

Professor Harmon

November 4, 2013

Sleep Deprivation and Stress

                Through long term research of sleep deprivation, studies show that is has a substantial impact in correlation with stress to the mind, body, and soul. With the fast paced lifestyle humans live today, staying up past midnight to type papers for school, get unfinished work done, or simply to watch television becomes a habit to many people, making sleep more and more extinct, and therefore causing strain on their physical, psychological, and mental health. The intricate question is why. Why do humans need adequate sleep to stay in good health? Many researchers have performed studies and traveled the world in search for answers for the pandemic habits of many people all over the world. Research shows that sleep deprivation causes stress in all stages of life. David Dinges believes that, “The relationship between stress and sleep is bidirectional” (Sleep Deprivation and Stressors 1). He feels that stress and sleep deprivation go hand-in-hand. Not getting enough sleep can cause stress on humans, while high levels of stress can lead to a loss in sleep (Dinges 1).

Professionals have performed many studies as to why humans need sleep. In the handbook, Comprehensive Handbook of Psychopathology, there is an article titled Sleep Disorders, which gives an overview about sleep deprivation and why humans need sufficient sleep to maintain health. Authors give examples of how sleep deprivation affects many different aspects of humans through their narration:

In addition, alterations in sleep patterns are so commonly associated with

some disorders, such as  affective disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and

fibromyalgia, that they are used as diagnostic criteria for those disorders.

More generally, we are all affected by the amount and quality of the sleep we

obtain. Sleep has broad, systemic effects on mood, performance, and physical

functioning. Thus, understanding sleep is essential to complete understanding

of normal and abnormal behavior. (Sleep Disorders)

Within the article, Sleep Disorders, the authors note how sleep deprivation affects humans from early as infancy through elderly cycles of life (Sleep Disorders). Writers say that in the infancy stage sleep declines almost forty prevent in the first two years of life. They found that the hours of sleep continue to decline through the elderly stage (Sleep Disorders). In the article, authors quote David Dinges by saying that 1“With longer periods of sleep deprivation, there is an increase in sleepiness, a loss in fine motor control, and the appearance of mild flu-like symptoms. Extended periods of partial sleep deprivation can also lead to decrements in vigilance and objective, as well as subjective, measures of sleepiness” (Qtd. in Sleep Disorders).

In the article, 3Sleep Deprivation Predisposes Liver To Oxidative Stress And Phospholipid Damage: A Quantitative Molecular Imaging Study, Chang et al. Mai, Chen, Wu, Huang, Lan, and Lin argue that 3sleep disorders are associated with an increased rate of various metabolic disturbances, which may be related to oxidative stress and consequent lipid peroxidation (Chang et al. 1). To test this study, they used adult rats to monitor their patterns between the normal stages and when they had been sleep deprived for five days. Their results showed that following total sleep deprivation, phosphatidylcholine levels were lowered to one third their original values. They feel as though phosphatidylcholine plays an important role in stress. Therefore, when it is lowered, they believe that it causes a rise in oxidative stress which is an important factor in the formation of metabolic diseases. Examples of these diseases are hypertension, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance (1).

Studies shows that stress from sleep deprivation not only cause problems with our body, but also our minds. Researchers believe that not getting adequate sleep can cause minds to not be able to function at their fullest potential. Karen Caldwell and fellow 7authors of Developing Mindfulness In College Students Through Movement-Based Courses: Effects on Self-Regulatory Self-Efficacy, Mood, Stress, And Sleep Quality, note that “Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and not judgmentally” (Karen Caldwell et al. 1). Studies show that the total mindfulness increased when better sleep quality was applied. In students who didn’t get adequate sleep, their attention span, or ability to concentrate, declined, thus making their grades drop (Karen Caldwell et al. 1).

Psychologists deem that sleep deprivation can cause emotions that we might not usually express if we had a good night’s sleep. In the book Insomnia, Gayle Green expresses her emotions in a sense that 9“I can’t work, I can’t think, I can’t connect with anyone anymore” (Insomniac). Greene also talks about how she feels like she is caught between a rock and a hard place because of the lack of sleep she gets and the stress that it puts on her (Insomniac). Research shows that if a person is continuously not getting the right amount of sleep, then it could eventually lead to problems, such as depression and other psychological disorders. In the Adolescent Health Sourcebook, writers suggest that if you are not getting enough sleep, then the symptoms show that there is an increase of moodiness and depression (45).

The other question that many researchers ask about limiting stress and being able to get better sleep is “What should I do” (Adolescent Health Sourcebook 49)? To limit the stress that people take on before trying to go to sleep, analysts consider that humans should be able to relax their mind. They articulate that there are several ways to relax the mind, body, and spirit before going to sleep. Their studies show that exercising daily with exercises such as running, walking, or even yoga can help to alleviate the amount of stress that people have. Their other results of ways to do this, are setting a regular bedtime, avoiding stimulants, unwinding by keeping the lights at a lower set level, avoiding all-nighters, waking up with bright light, and creating the right sleeping environment (45).

Through many studies, it has become evident that sleep deprivation is becoming more common throughout the world. Results show that if there is not adequate sleep in the mix, the fast paced lifestyles that we live could be causing harm to our bodies, as well as our mind, and spirit. Outcome from many other practices show that sleep deprivation does affect the amount of stress that we face. It can be concluded from these tests that stress and sleep deprivation play hand in hand roles with each other. With high levels of one of these elements leads to less in the other.

Works Cited Page

Caldwell, Karen, 4et al. “Developing Mindfulness In College Students Through Movement-Based Courses: Effects On Self-Regulatory Self-Efficacy, Mood, Stress, And Sleep Quality.” Journal Of American College Health 58.5 (2010): 433-442. SPORTDiscus with Full Text. Web. 5 Nov. 52013.

David F. Dinges, et al. “Sleep Deprivation And Stressors: Evidence For Elevated Negative Affect In Response To Mild Stressors When Sleep Deprived.” Emotion 12.5 (2012): 1015-1020. PsycARTICLES. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.

Greene, Gayle. Insomniac. Berkeley: University of California, 2008. Print.

Hung-Ming, Chang, 6et al. “Sleep Deprivation Predisposes Liver To Oxidative Stress And Phospholipid Damage: A Quantitative Molecular Imaging Study.” Journal Of Anatomy 212.3 (2008): 295-305. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.

Shannon, Joyce Brennfleck.”Chapter 7.”Adolescent Health Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information about the Physical, Mental, and Emotional Growth and Development of Adolescents, including Medical Care, Nutritional and Physical Activity Requirements, Puberty, Sexual Activity, Acne, Tanning, Body Piercing, Common Physical Illnesses and Disorders, Eating Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Depression, Bullying, Hazing, and Adolescent Injuries Related to Sports, Driving, and Work; along with Substance Abuse Information about Nicotine, Alcohol, and Drug Use, a Glossary, and Directory of Additional Resources. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2007. N. pag. Print.

“Sleep Disorders.” 8Comprehensive Handbook of Psychopathology. Dordrecht: Springer Science Business Media, 2004. 20 Mar. 2012. Credo Reference. Credo Reference. 21 Oct. 2013.


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