Are you getting enough sleep? Do you feel refreshed when you wake up? If the answer is yes then good for you. There are many that don’t and suffer both mentally and physically from the effects of not getting enough sleep.
What Will I Learn?
Does Being Deprived of Sleep Affect Your Health?
If you’ve ever spent most of the night tossing and turning and then had to get up early for work, you will probably remember how bad sleep deprivation can make you feel.
The human body needs sleep and it needs it for a variety of reasons.
When your body is deprived of sleep it robs you of energy, makes you tired and grumpy, and really puts a nasty dent in your day.
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can also have other consequences that are more alarming. Especially when depriving your body of sleep becomes a habit.
Whether you are losing sleep due to snoring, noisy neighbors, or trying to cram too much into your day, sleep deprivation can have very negative effects on your mental and physical health.
Thankfully there are snoring aids to help you stop snoring and there may be a peaceful solution to noise made by your neighbors.
You may be surprised to learn, insufficient sleep can cause heart disease and diabetes. It can even contribute to obesity and may shorten your life expectancy.
Will getting more sleep help make you healthy, wealthy, and wise?
That middle one is a bit of a far stretch but getting adequate sleep will certainly help you retain optimum health.
It will also allow you to focus better on your work and other commitments so taking steps to get enough sleep is certainly the “wise” thing to do.
Sleep Deprivation: How do You Know if You are Getting Enough Sleep?
How much sleep do you need? Different people will tell you different things.
The truth is we are all different but if you spend your days feeling weary and out of sorts it may be an indication you are not getting enough.
Most people need around 8 hours of good-quality sleep each night but many people can function normally and feel just fine after only six hours of sleep per night.
There are even people who appear to be able to survive on less but trying to do so may be unwise.
The best way to know if you are getting enough sleep is to take a good look at yourself and examine the way you feel.
Then be honest with yourself and take the steps that are necessary to give your body the sleep it needs.
Certain health conditions, such as sleep apnea, can rob the body of sleep but, in many cases, the real problem is bad sleeping habits.
Lack of Sleep: What Can it Do?
Everyone has times when they have to try and get through the day when they haven’t had enough sleep.
If it’s only an occasional problem, it’s not too bad but if it becomes an ongoing problem your health could suffer.
So could your finances if your inability to function properly at work costs you your job.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the undesirable things sleep deprivation can do.
1. Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Dangerous Situations
Drowsy driving is a major problem in many countries of the world and some people have lost their lives when they fell asleep at the wheel.
According to figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving caused an estimated 72,000 crashes on American roads in 2013. This resulted in 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths.
It’s not only getting behind the wheel that becomes dangerous. Trying to function on insufficient sleep can be perilous when you are operating other machines too.
Research from Harvard Medical School suggests insomnia could be responsible for 274,000 workplace accidents and errors per year.
When you are “half-asleep” you are also more likely to have accidents within your home.
2. Lack of Sleep Weakens the Immune System
Lack of sleep can be detrimental to your immune system. When you are sleep deprived, your body makes fewer cytokines.
This interferes with your normal immune response because cytokines fight infection and reduce inflammation.
3. Less Sleep May Mean More Fat
Yes, lack of sleep may make you get fat and help keep you that way.
Research shows people who get less than seven hours of sleep per night are more likely to become obese than people who sleep for seven hours or more.
The reasons for this are probably hormonal. Sleep-deprived individuals have lower leptin levels. Leptin is the hormone that suppresses appetite and makes you feel full.
To compound matters and make things worse, lack of sleep also increases ghrelin. It’s the hunger hormone that encourages you to eat.
Could it be any worse? Unfortunately, yes. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases extra cortisol and high cortisol levels are also associated with weight gain.
4. Sleep Deprivation Makes You More Susceptible to Diabetes
Research also suggests getting less than five hours of sleep per night may increase your risk of developing diabetes.
Lack of sleep? Diabetes? How can this be? Apparently, lack of sleep may increase your susceptibility by altering the way your body processes glucose.
5. Losing Sleep is Not Good for Your Mental Wellbeing
Apart from making you irritable, ongoing sleep deprivation can also cause more serious mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
The results of a study involving people suffering from anxiety and depression reveal most of them were surviving on less than six hours of sleep per night.
6. Long-term Lack of Sleep is Not Good for the Heart
Long-term sleep deprivation may increase your heart rate and elevate your blood pressure.
It may also increase levels of certain inflammatory chemicals that place additional strain on the heart.
A 2011 edition of the European Heart Journal published a review of 15 medical studies.
The review suggests people who get less than six hours of sleep per night may be 48 percent more likely to die from coronary heart disease.
7. Sleep Deprivation Decreases Sex Drive and Fertility
People who don’t get enough sleep have lower sex drives. Research involving men suffering from sleep apnea suggests lack of sleep can lower testosterone levels as well.
Low testosterone and reduced sex drive are not the only problems couples may need to worry about.
Sleep deprivation can make it harder for have children by suppressing the secretion of important reproductive hormones.
Sleep Deprivation FAQ’s
The most common signs that you are not getting enough sleep is; irritability, depression, mental fog and forgetfulness.
The range can be wide and varying from yawning right up the mire serious conditions such as diabetes and heart problems.
Although lost sleep can never be caught up you can slowly, overtime reverse the harmful effects of sleep deprivation by consistently getting between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night.