Co-relation between sleep and digestive health Sleep and its impact on public health are gaining rapid significance as a critical health issue, whereby sleep deprivation is linked with various negative and serious health consequences by researchers. Sleep deprivation has been recently recognized and acknowledged as a serious public health 'epidemic' by CDC…
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However, in the most basic sense it refers to a condition or state in which an individual suffers from lack of adequate sleep (Mednick, 2006). Juall (2008) define the term as "a state in which a person experiences a change in the quantity or quality of his rest pattern that causes discomfort or interferes with desired lifestyle" (pp. 387). While, according to Barry and Farmer (2002), sleep deprivation is "a state in which an individual experiences prolonged periods of time without sustained natural periodic states of relative unconsciousness" (pp. 308). Impact of sleep deprivation on digestive health: The fact that sleep deprivation leads to various negative health consequences have been documented by way of research by several researchers over the years. According to Caldwell (1997) an average adult needs approximately 7-8 hours of sleep at night. It is because of this reason that the American National Center of Health Science Research has rated sleep among the top 10 factors affecting public health. Caldwell (1997) further stated that humans in general are guided by a 24 hour sleep-wake up cycle which is alternatively also referred to as the 'biological clock'; which determines the sleep patterns of an adult. Any disturbance in this cycle leads to mental fatigue which in turn leads to negative physical ailments such as gastrointestinal disorders along with other health hazards such as ulcers, or constipation (Caldwell, 1997). Lorber (2010) states that the human digestive system is primarily designed in such a way that it processes food consumed during the day at night when humans are fast asleep; meaning thereby the digestive system is designed to operate during sleep. Any disruption in the human sleep pattern, hence directly impacts the digestive health of humans leading to various problems ranging from constipation to stomach ulcers. According to Mednick (2006) sleep deprivation adversely affects the mental health of humans leading to fatigue. Furthermore, sleep deprivation poses a high risk of obesity; since the digestive system which functions at night is delayed, causing a change in the pattern in which food is commonly digested. A sleep deprived body starts craving for sugar rich and high-in-fat foods as compared to the one which is properly and adequately rested. According to Moritz (2007) there is a strong relationship between sleep deprivation and digestive health problems. Lack of sleep causes tiredness and fatigue and disrupts the body's natural healing system as well as affects the immune system, ultimately leading to serious negative health consequences. The irregular sleep patterns also disrupt the activities generally carried out during the day, i.e. eating patterns, which affects the digestive 'fire' or Pitta. Moritz (2007) further states that late consumption of evening meals or consumption of snacks late at night, aggravates the digestive system, leading to digestive problems, disturbances in the liver, spleen, gallbladder, stomach as well as pancreas. Also, the disturbance in the body's 'biological clock' causes hormonal imbalance, and disrupts blood circulation. This further leads to release of harmful toxins in the body, which in turn is a result of undigested food, or consumption of food late at night. The body clock is designed to function in a way whereby the digesti
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