For millions of people, little and poor sleep is part of the hustle and bustle of the modern world. There is a certain habit of experiencing the so-called social “jet lag“, as if the problem were just a matter of adjusting schedules. However, what the majority of the population does not know is that this disorder is a disease included in the list of the World Health Organization (WHO): it is insufficient sleep syndrome.
What is social jet lag?
The disease is characterized when the patient sleeps less than necessary as “chronic deprivation” that prevents restful sleep. Due to the characteristics of society and professional needs, this phenomenon affects a large part of the population. This is because many need to get up early and go to bed very late.
“These are people who suffer from chronic deprivation that is very damaging to their health,” says sleep specialist Maira Honorato, MD, of the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital.
It is estimated that one in three Americans does not get enough rest. This number represents between 50 and 70 million people with chronic sleep problems in the United States. Research in Brazil indicates that almost half of the population has difficulty sleeping.
Much more Comfort
Sleep means more than rest. “If sleep did not have a very important function for vital processes, it would have no evolutionary significance,” recalls the specialist. Therefore, it is responsible for restoring all human physical and cognitive functions.
When sleeping, a person experiences a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. There is also a secretion of hormones involved in cell repair, hunger control, and the immune system. In addition, there are other processes that occur only at night, when the brain goes through all the phases of sleep.
There is a real cleansing of the brain with the elimination of metabolic waste. The so-called glymphatic system works and increases the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which drains it.
Studies conducted primarily in guinea pigs have shown that sleep-deprived people have more inflammatory elements associated with Alzheimer’s: “When [the elements] accumulate over time, they undermine brain plasticity and contribute to degeneration,” explains the Dr. Maira Honorato.
Not surprisingly, a lack of night rest increases the risk of developing physical and mental problems, including, for example, chronic cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and depression, as well as attention and memory problems.