Menopausal generation who tend to be busy and sleep deprived should be especially careful! Taking “sleep debt” lightly can lead to serious illness. It may be that “sleep debt” is accumulated that makes you irritated. Eliminate your debt before it grows and stay healthy.
Table of contents
- What is “sleep debt”?
- Menopausal women are at risk of sleep deprivation
- Watch out for these symptoms! “Sleep Debt” Self-Check
- Not just frustration! Damage caused by sleep debt
- Get rid of debt fast and improve your performance in life
What is “sleep debt”?
As the debt increases, the daily lack of sleep accumulates little by little, which is called “ sleep debt ”. A few days of sleep deprivation will help you recover quickly, but if your “sleep debt” builds up, you will be left with fatigue that can be recovered with sleep, and it will have various negative effects on your mind and body.
The ideal sleep time is 6.5-7.5 hours
“Sleep well, wake up feeling refreshed, and not feel sleepy during the day” are the conditions for good sleep. There are individual differences depending on age and activity level, but the best sleep time for adults is 6.5 to 7.5 hours as a guideline.
It is said that if the number of days below that level continues for a long period of time, physical and mental disorders will occur.
According to a survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, about 40% of Japanese people (aged 20 and over) sleep less than 6 hours a day on average for both men and women.
In particular, this trend is most pronounced among men in their 30s and 50s and women in their 40s and 50s. 1st year National Health and Nutrition Survey ).
Japan is one of the countries with the shortest amount of sleep in the world, but in reality, many Japanese suffer from sleep deprivation, or “sleep debt.”
“Sleep Debt” Accumulated Unconsciously
If a person who is optimal for 7 hours of sleep sleeps only 5 hours a night, they will be short of 2 hours each day, which will result in a “sleep debt” of about 60 hours a month and 730 hours a year.
People who tend to go to bed late due to their usual lifestyle accumulate “sleep debt” without realizing it. You may get sick at some point. That’s what “sleep debt” is all about.
Menopausal women are at risk of sleep deprivation
As I wrote above, half of women in their 40s and 50s are sending less than 6 hours of sleep each day. Where is the cause of lack of sleep in this age that overlaps with menopause?
Women in their 40s and 50s who work hard at the expense of sleep time
With the spread of smartphones and personal computers, we can obtain information 24 hours a day, and the background is that society as a whole is shifting to night owls. I’m here.
In addition to being busy with daily routines such as work and housework, we also have to deal with various things such as taking care of children, caring for parents, and nursing family members, so we tend to lack time to rest and mental peace.
In our busy days, we are forced to cut down on sleep time. It is also frustrating.
Increased sleep problems due to stress caused by changes in physical condition and environment
Furthermore, in the previous survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 40% of women in their 40s and 50s answered that they felt sleepy during the day. There were also notable responses such as “I was not satisfied with the quality of my sleep” and “I had trouble waking up at night”.
It seems that not only sleep time but also sleep quality is a problem.
The 40s and 50s are a time of great change. This is caused by a rapid decrease in the secretion of female hormones, which easily disrupts the balance of the autonomic nervous system. For this reason, various menopausal symptoms such as sweating and dizziness occur, and sleep disorders are one of them.
“I can’t fall asleep for more than an hour even when I’m in the futon”, “I don’t sleep well”, “I can’t sleep until morning and wake up many times in the middle of the night”, “I want to sleep more but I wake up early in the morning”. Symptoms not only lead to sleep deprivation, but also to poor sleep quality.
Also, sleep becomes shallower with age. Sleep disorders may occur due to mental symptoms such as anxiety about worries, autonomic imbalance, and depression.
Changes in physical condition, changes in work and home environments, and various other factors affect each other, and the sleep situation in people in their 40s and 50s is falling into a negative spiral.
Watch out for these symptoms! “Sleep Debt” Self-Check
Do you have these symptoms on a daily basis?
- I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up in the morning
- fall asleep before noon
- I get annoyed by little things
- Many careless mistakes
- When you get into the futon at night, you fall asleep in no time
These are minor symptoms, but they are typical early symptoms and signs that sleep debt is starting to build up. We tend to think that falling asleep as soon as we enter the futon is good, but in fact it is thought that it is because we do not have enough sleep to recover from fatigue.
Not just frustration! Damage caused by sleep debt
Even minor symptoms such as frustration at first can have various effects on the body as the “sleep debt” accumulates.
Become vulnerable to stress and tend to be emotionally unstable
The representative hormone related to sleep is “growth hormone”. It has the effect of repairing the body and recovering from fatigue, and the amount of secretion is maximum during the first non-REM sleep (deep sleep) for about 3 hours from the beginning of sleep. If you wake up in the middle of the day, the secretion will stop there, so it’s important to keep your sleep going.
The secretion of this hormone promotes metabolic activity in the body and also relaxes the brain. During sleep, the parasympathetic nervous system of the autonomic nervous system works, thin blood vessels relax, and growth hormone is transported to every corner of the body. It is important to sleep well in the early stages of sleep.
If you can’t get a deep sleep in the early days, the secretion of ′′ Growth Hormone ′′ will be suppressed. On the other hand, cortisol (adrenal cortex hormone), which is called the stress hormone, is excessively secreted, which affects various functions of the body such as the immune system, brain, and metabolism. If you don’t get enough deep sleep, growth hormone secretion decreases and cortisol secretion increases, resulting in the following symptoms:
- Decreased stress tolerance → Feel stress easily, become irritated and nervous about small things.
- Decreased memory and concentration → Work efficiency deteriorates and work takes longer than usual.
- Metabolism slows → Fat decomposition is delayed, calorie consumption is not performed smoothly, and it is easy to gain weight even if you do not eat too much.
Increased risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases
When the lack of sleep is prolonged, the body’s biorhythm will also be out of order.
First, the autonomic nervous system is out of balance. The sympathetic nerve continues to be tense, and hypertension and arrhythmia are likely to occur due to increased blood sugar due to excessive secretion of cortisol.
If it progresses further, lifestyle-related diseases may develop. It may lead to serious diseases such as diabetes, lipid abnormalities, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, stroke), and cancer (malignant neoplasm).
Neuropsychiatric disorders such as depressive states ( depression , anxiety disorders) are also more likely to develop.
Recently, it has been found that lack of sleep is one of the triggers of dementia.
Amyloid β, a waste product in the brain that is involved in the cause of Alzheimer’s dementia, is excreted from the brain during sleep, but it is difficult to remove and deposits when sleep is insufficient. This makes it easier for cognitive function to decline, and it is said that people with “sleep debt” are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who get enough sleep.
Delayed recovery from fatigue and decreased immunity
Isn’t it ′′ immunity ′′ that you care about these days of corona misfortune? Lack of sleep also weakens the immune system.
Lymphocytes, one of the white blood cells present in the blood, are immune cells that try to eliminate viruses and bacteria that have invaded the body, and are activated during sleep. When the balance of the autonomic nervous system is disturbed due to lack of sleep, the function of the autonomic nervous system is reduced, which lowers the resistance to disease and the immune system.
Now that I want to be more careful about health management than usual, I would like to pay attention to basic infection control measures and get enough sleep so that the power of immune cells can be fully demonstrated.
Get rid of debt fast and improve your performance in life
You have a “sleep debt” and nothing good comes of it. It is important to repay the debt called “sleep debt” little by little and obtain a healthy body that is less likely to get sick and is resistant to stress.
Let’s reconfirm the “effect of sleep” here.
First, recovery from fatigue, relieving stress and depression. It calms the mind and reduces frustration. Of course, you can also expect prevention of lifestyle-related diseases.
In addition, the hormones that control appetite function normally, making it difficult to gain weight, and the secretion of growth hormone, which promotes skin turnover, improves skin quality and makes the skin beautiful.
So what can you do to improve your sleep quality?
10 tips for getting a good night’s sleep
Along with sleep time, let’s focus on sleep quality and review your lifestyle. Here are some tips for good quality sleep, such as how to spend time before going to bed and how to create an environment.
- Get into the habit of going to bed an hour earlier
It may take some getting used to, but try to go to bed an hour earlier every day. Make it a priority to set a bedtime and get enough sleep. Once it becomes a habit, you can gradually eliminate your “sleep debt.”
- active during the day
Get into the habit of moving your body during the day, even if it’s just a walk or light exercise. Sleep-promoting neurotransmitters increase, making it easier to fall asleep. It also reduces the number of awakenings in the middle of the day, making it easier to fall asleep.
- don’t eat right before bed
It is important that the digestive activity is over by the time you go to bed. If you eat just before going to bed, your brain and body will not be able to rest because your digestion and absorption takes precedence. As a result, the quality of sleep also decreases.
Considering the time it takes to digest, dinner should be finished three hours before bedtime. Eat small amounts of easily digestible food when you get home late.
- Bathing in lukewarm water
The reason you naturally get sleepy at night is because your body temperature is dropping. By temporarily raising your body temperature in a bath, your body temperature will be easier to fall after that, making it easier to fall asleep. Taking a bath 2 to 3 hours before bedtime is effective for lowering body temperature by counting backwards from bedtime.
Soak yourself in lukewarm water at a temperature of 38°C to 40°C. If you want to stay in the bath for a long time, we recommend taking a half-body bath. The function of the parasympathetic nerve becomes dominant, so you will be able to sleep smoothly. On the other hand, hot baths of 42°C or higher activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is counterproductive, so be careful.
- tidy up the bedroom
It is also effective to create a space where you can sleep comfortably by paying attention to the height of the pillow, the firmness of the mattress, the weight of the futon, and the material of the bed linen. Do not place mobile phones, cordless phones, televisions, computers, or other objects that generate electromagnetic waves around your head.
Adjust the room to an appropriate temperature with an air conditioner, use lighting that is not too bright, and use your favorite aroma to create a comfortable environment for sleep.
- Watch out for caffeine and alcohol before bed
Drinks containing caffeine, which has a stimulating effect, such as coffee, black tea, and green tea, tend to interfere with sleep, so avoid them at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. If you drink before bed, stick to non-caffeinated beverages.
Alcohol in a nightcap is better to be moderated or avoided because it makes you sleep less and is a diuretic that makes you go to the bathroom more often.
- Avoid using your smartphone or tablet an hour before bed
More and more people are bringing smartphones and tablets to bed to check emails and social media.
Blue light and LED lighting emitted by TVs, smartphones, and tablets suppress the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which may make it difficult to fall asleep or make your sleep shallow. Stop using 1 hour before bedtime.
- Short nap time
If you feel sleep deprived, it is recommended to take a 15-30 minute nap during the day. It can be refreshed even for a short period of time and improve subsequent performance.
However, taking a nap for more than an hour is not recommended as it will make you feel sluggish and make it difficult to sleep at night.
- Weekend sleeplessness in less than 2 hours
I think there are many people who solve their daily sleep deprivation by not sleeping on the weekends, but it is said that even if the lack of sleep temporarily relieves drowsiness, it has no effect on the recovery of the body.
If you spend a whole day sleeping, you may feel more tired rather than refreshed. This is because sleeping too long all of a sudden disrupts the body clock and disturbs the sleep rhythm.
If you want to sleep well on holidays, please finish within 2 hours and finish by 15:00.
- Let’s bathe in the morning sun when we wake up
In order to reset the delay of the body clock, it is effective to bathe in the morning sun when you wake up. When the body clock senses the strong light coming through the retina of the eye, the secretion of melatonin stops, and the “morning” for the body clock starts from there. If the morning sun doesn’t enter your bedroom, you can just do your makeup by the window. If you’re in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, replace your makeup light with a brighter LED light.
If sleep disorders do not improve even after trying the above, see a specialist
Sleep disorders have various causes, such as those that come from menopause, and those that come from mental disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders.
If symptoms do not improve and persist, please consult with a specialist in each department (gynecology, psychosomatic medicine, psychiatry, mental clinic), sleep clinic, or outpatient sleep specialist.
Don’t miss the sign of frustration = sleep deprivation
“Sleep debt” can be a threat to your physical and mental health. Menopausal generations in particular often have problems with sleep time and sleep quality, so be careful.
It is important to eliminate “sleep debt” while it is a mild symptom such as irritation. For that reason, first of all, secure your sleep time!
For those who say, “I should have slept well, but I can’t get rid of my fatigue,” let’s improve the quality of sleep by referring to the “10 points for good sleep” introduced above.