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Junk sleep: waking up without feeling well-rested

Junk sleep (Pt. 1)
Junk sleep (Pt. 1) 02:11

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Do you ever wake up in the morning and it feels like you never slept?

You may have just experienced a night of junk sleep and it's far from good for your health. 

KDKA's John Shumway checked in with a sleep doctor for an explanation and remedy.

It's getting a slew of attention on TikTok, but junk sleep is no social media creation -- it's kind of like junk food.

Allegheny Health Network Sleep Specialist Dr. Daniel Shade says most of us don't take sleep seriously enough

"The first thing to know is we don't prioritize sleep in our lives," Dr. Shade said. "It should be on the line of nutrition and exercise."

To be effect sleep, we need to get into deep REM sleep, and it doesn't happen instantly.

"Anywhere between an hour to two hours for the first cycle and then it gets shorter as you go through the night, but the REM periods get longer and get deeper as the night goes on," Dr. Shade said.

Dr. Shade says if you only sleep four or five hours per night, you may not get into those deeper REM periods or the slow wave sleep that you need.

If you don't get that type of sleep, you end up with junk sleep and the next day, you're a grumpy bear.

"You can feel sluggish in the daytime and your performance at your job or driving during an activity may suffer," Dr. Shade said.

Junk sleep, also known as sleep deprivation, can have long term negative health impacts as well.

Dr. Shade recommends seven to nine hours for a good night's sleep.

Junk sleep (Pt. 2) 02:31

If you're falling into getting junk sleep, it can have some health impacts.

"It can affect your immune system, can affect your sexual drive, it can affect your memory. Basically every organ system gets affected by lack of good sleep both length and quality," Dr. Shade said. 

It's ironic that this has become a TikTok thing, since one of the major causes for junk sleep can be screen time.

"They emit light which inhibits melatonin and certain body's natural chemical that helps us fall asleep among other things, but they also make noise," Dr. Shade said.

But it's not just the screen activating your brain, it's also an inability to disconnect from the stresses of your day and life.

"Stress from any cause can definitely disrupt sleep and it can disrupt the quality of sleep," Dr. Shade.

"Exercise is a great mechanism to increase the depth of your sleep and the quality of your sleep." Dr. Shade.

So turn off the screen or don't even bring it into the bedroom and get in a little exercise, which could just be a daily walk. 

Dr. Shade says if you don't schedule yourself enough sleep time, over time, your health will pay the price.

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