Did you know that around 70 million Americans are not getting enough sleep? When we think about the consequences of sleep deprivation, we often consider irritability, fatigue, or a foggy mind. However, a less-discussed yet equally important effect is its impact on our digestive health. Surprisingly, a persistent lack of sleep can lead to nausea, an unsettling connection that many might not be aware of. This revelation underscores the importance of quality sleep, not just for mental clarity and mood but also for our gut well-being. In this article, we delve into the intricate link between inadequate sleep and the experience of nausea, shedding light on why getting enough rest is crucial for our overall health. Plus, we’ll share practical tips to manage and prevent nausea caused by sleep deprivation.
Genes And Sleep Health
Some people feel refreshed with just 6 hours of sleep, while others feel drowsy even after sleeping for 9 hours. While you may be all about the morning jog, your friend’s day might not even start till noon! Like hair or eye color, sleep traits may also be associated with genetics. Understanding the genetic basis of sleep helps highlight certain factors that could affect the quality and quantity of sleep. Using your ancestry test DNA data, you can unlock more than 15+ important aspects of health. Learn more.
The Link Between Sleep And Gut Health
Getting a good night’s sleep benefits your gut health.
Here are a few ways in which insomnia affects your gut health:
- Increased stress, which harms the gut: When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol is also called the stress hormone. This hormone can make your intestines more permeable. It leads to toxins and food waste getting passed into your bloodstream. It can also cause changes in the gut microbiome.
- Poorer dietary choices: When you sleep less, you are more stressed and exhausted. To counter the exhaustion, you might drink too much coffee or crave fatty, salty, and sugary foods. Having too much junk food can negatively impact your gut health.
- Melatonin and GERD: Melatonin is called the sleep hormone. It regulates the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. It also helps control the digestive system. Lack of this hormone can cause gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Lack Of Sleep Or Sleep Deprivation: An Overview
What Is It?
Sleep deprivation is a condition where a person is not getting enough sleep.
It can be occasional, or it can be a chronic problem that lasts for a long time.
Research shows that chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to health issues.
It can also indicate that you are suffering from a disorder that is making you sleep-deprived, such as depression and insomnia.
Why Does It Occur?
Sleep deprivation can occur due to several reasons.
Some reasons can be simple and easy to treat, while others can cause concern and signal a deeper problem.
Some common causes of lack of sleep are:
- excessive screen time just before bed
- drinking too much coffee or alcohol throughout the day
- uncomfortable sleep environment
You can also experience sleep deprivation when you are suffering from sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (when your breathing pauses when you are sleeping) or restless leg syndrome (when you feel like moving your legs when you are resting.)
Other health conditions like arthritis, back pain, heart disease, depression, and anxiety can all make it harder to get quality sleep.
At What Point Is Lack of Sleep Considered Sleep Deprivation?
Any amount of sleep that is less than what you need to feel rested is considered sleep deprivation.
Some studies label 24 hours of no sleep as sleep deprivation, while others say that not having a good night’s sleep is total sleep deprivation.
Getting only four hours of sleep for several nights can be termed partial sleep deprivation.
Over time, partial sleep deprivation can have the same effect on the body as total sleep deprivation.
Not getting quality sleep is also another reason for sleep deprivation.
You might be getting 8 hours of sleep, but waking up several times in the middle of the night can result in sleep deprivation.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sleep Deprivation
The most common sign that you are sleep-deprived is feeling tired the next day.
Exhaustion can make you less alert and reduce your efficiency.
More specific symptoms of sleep deprivation are:
- Trouble in focusing
- Lowered sex drive
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Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Nausea?
Chronic lack of sleep can cause various disorders, such as:
- Reduced immune function
It can lead to hormonal imbalances in the body.
All these factors can collectively make you nauseous.
Nausea is feeling sick to your stomach and having the urge to vomit.
Nausea can result from stress, current health conditions, or medications you currently take.
However, recent studies have found a connection between sleep deprivation and nausea.
Why Does Lack Of Sleep Cause Nausea?
When you are short on sleep, your appetite changes.
You start to crave unhealthy and oily foods.
You might also start drinking more coffee to counter the exhaustion from lack of sleep.
Eating foods high in salt and sugar causes gastrointestinal issues, which in turn can make you feel nauseous.
When you are sleep-deprived, your body’s immune system starts to work overtime, releasing a protein called cytokine.
Cytokine causes tissue inflammation all over the body, including in your digestive organs.
It can also make you feel nauseous.
Why Does Insomnia And Nausea Occur Together?
Lack of sleep causes problems with regular hormone release.
When you are short on sleep, you feel exhausted and stressed.
Stress stimulates the hypothalamus to release corticotropin-stimulating hormone (CRF).
Too much CRF in the body can cause gastrointestinal issues.
It can cause spasms in the upper stomach muscles, making you nauseous.
This is why nausea tends to occur with insomnia.
What Are The Other Effects Of Lack Of Sleep?
Lack of sleep over a long period can cause problems with your overall health.
- Lack of sleep can affect your heart and circulatory system. If you are chronically sleep-deprived, you are more likely to suffer from hypertension and high cholesterol, which in turn can affect your heart health.
- You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when you are sleep-deprived for a long time.
- Your body can have a lowered immune response to bacterial infection when you are sleep-deprived.
- Lack of sleep can affect your cognitive abilities. You can have difficulty remaining focused and remembering things when you sleep poorly.
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What Are Some Natural Ways To Cope With Lack Of Sleep-induced Nausea?
Here are a few simple ways to deal with lack of sleep-induced nausea:
- Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid intense and unpleasant smells, as they can worsen your nausea.
- Go outside or go to an airy room to get some fresh air.
- Avoid spicy, fatty, and salty food. When feeling nauseous, try eating bland foods, such as plain rice, potatoes, or noodles.
- Try sitting quietly, as moving around can make your anxiety worse.
How To Remedy Lack of Sleep?
Better sleep hygiene can improve sleep quality and help counter sleep deprivation.
Here are some steps to get more quality sleep:
- Establish a consistent sleep and wake-up routine and follow it religiously, even on the weekends.
- Incorporating bedtime routines like reading a book, brushing your teeth, or dimming the lights. It signals to your body that it’s time to go to bed.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before going to bed. They can hamper your sleep quality and quantity.
- Exercise and get some sunlight throughout the day. Some studies show that exercising helps improve sleep quality.
- Keep the bedroom cozy and temperature-controlled. Having a quiet and comfortable bedroom will help you fall asleep more easily.
- Avoid screens just before going to bed. Blue light can strain your eyes and hamper sleep.
Summary: Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Nausea?
Lack of sleep can cause nausea.
Sleep is essential for the body’s overall health.
When you are short on sleep, you start to have problems with your digestive system and immunity.
You start to feel exhausted, which leads to stress.
All these factors collectively make you nauseous when you have not slept well.
You can counter the lack of sleep-induced nausea by avoiding junk foods, drinking fragrant tea, or going to an airy space or room.
You can also take steps to get better sleep at night, such as avoiding screens just before bed, not eating a large meal before bed, and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol.