Endocrine system effects on Sleep Deprivation
Deprived sleep is a universal widespread problem observed in both children and adults. It is a vital process that helps in the functioning of learning, memory processing, cellular repair, and brain development. Statistics show that the average total hours of sleep have decreased per person to less than 7 hours per night over the past 3 to 4 decades. Many people experience sleep loss due pressures at work, stress, and our day to day lifestyle. The reduced hours of nocturnal sleep have shown to lead to serious health problems such as depression, obesity, hypertension, along with many other ...view middle of the document...
Glucocorticoids are important because they help the body respond to stress and environmental change. High cortisol levels display memory loss and are usually found in patients with chronic insomnia, which have an increased risk of developing depressive disorders. The amount of glucocorticoids sent blood stream shuts off the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland and is the primary influence on the internal clock. It assists with the synchronization of circadian rhythms. (3)(2)
In a particular case study, a single 42 year old woman with 3 kids experienced insomnia when bankruptcy threatened her small business. She took Temazepam, Zolpidem, and Zaleplon along with antidepressants such as Trazodone, Amitriptyline, and Mirtazapine. None of them were successful. Her lack of sleep took a toll on her social life and her gym workouts because of lack motivation and increased irritability. Her sleep pattern involved getting into bed and settled around 11pm but takes hours before she actually falls asleep. Out of frustration, she would get out bed to work on the computer until she became sleepy around 5:30am, normally when it was time to get up. After eventually falling into a very deep sleep, she doesn’t awaken until 7 or 8am. A physical examination found her to be completely healthy but suffering from excessive sleepiness, fatigue, and lack of energy. A psychiatric interview revealed high stress but no sign of depression, or anxiety. She was also negative for restless leg syndrome and respiratory disturbances. After hiring a full time secretary at work to ease work-related stress, she was advised to use the extra time to exercise and spend time on her favorite hobby. She was also advised to decrease caffeine intake, avoid going to bed so late, and rather than working, do some light reading when unable to sleep. (6)
In another case, a 39 year old man was referred to an endocrine clinic with a 2-year history of hypertension and episodic flushing. He has a long history of loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. He denied use of recreational drugs, anabolic steroids, or antipsychotics with no family history of endocrine disorders. He however was taking Ramipril daily, and atenolol and intramuscular testosterone every 4 weeks. A physical examination showed that he was obese with a high blood pressure of...