Is lack of sleep making you sick and making you fat?
Sleep is one of those thing that the more you chance it, the less likely you are to achieve it!! Which can be very stressful and many effects of a lack of sleep, such as feeling grumpy and not working at your best, are well known. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also have profound consequences on your physical health? One in three of us suffers from poor sleep, with stress, computers and taking work home often blamed.
However, the cost of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus.
Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including;
- Heart disease
- Mental health issues
- High blood pressure
- Sex drive and fertility issues
- Statistically speaking it shortens your life expectancy
So it’s very clear that a solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.
So how much sleep do we need to keep healthy?
Studies so that most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. Personally i find i need a bit more with around 9-10 hr making me feel at my best. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it. Again just like all you guys, I can understand that in the real world it might not always be possible, but do try your best! As a general rule, if you wake up tired and spend the day longing for a chance to have a nap, it’s likely that you’re not getting enough sleep. A variety of factors can cause poor sleep, including health conditions such as sleep apnoea. But in most cases, it’s due to bad sleeping habits.
So what happens if I don’t sleep?
The most common signs of lack of sleep is fatigue, short temper (#triggered) and lack of focus that often follow a poor night’s sleep. Now remember guys the occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it won’t harm your health.
However after several sleepless nights, the mental effects become more serious. Your brain will fog, making it difficult to concentrate, make decisions lead to confusion. You’ll start to feel down, which can lead to symptoms similar to that of clinical depression and may fall asleep during the day. Your risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increases.
Driving while dealing with lack of sleep can be worse than drink driving!
Okay guys, driving when tired is a very serious thing, studies have shown that it can be worse than drink driving, lack of sleep impairs cognitive ability. So please, if u don’t feel well enough to drive, take a cab or public transport!
Here are seven ways in which a good night’s sleep can boost your health:
- Sleep boosts immunity
If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs. So sleep is the time the body needs to undergo a lot of its immunes functions, similar to when you pc runs diagnostic in safe mode!
- Sleep can slim you
Sleeping less may mean you put on weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get seven hours of slumber.
It’s believed to be because sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone). These hormones are involved in the body signalling its full and when it’s hungry!
- Sleep boosts mental wellbeing
Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety. When people with anxiety or depression were surveyed to calculate their sleeping habits, it turned out that most of them slept for less than six hours a night. So sleep is the time the brain needs to rest and undergo mental processing!
- Sleep prevents diabetes
Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes.
It seems that missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose – the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel. This combined with the disruption of leptin and ghrelin levels can cause overeating, causing weight gain.
- Sleep increases sex drive
Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less of an interest in sex, research shows.
Men who suffer from sleep apnoea – a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep – also tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can lower libido. So to help your love life, by getting some nice sleep!
- Sleep wards off heart disease
Long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
- Sleep increases fertility
Difficulty conceiving a baby has been claimed as one of the effects of sleep deprivation, in both men and women. Apparently, regular sleep disruptions can cause trouble conceiving by reducing the secretion of reproductive hormones.
So we know it’s important but how do you catch up on lost sleep?
If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate – that’s right, by getting more sleep. It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks. Starting on a weekend, try to add on an extra hour or two of sleep a night. The way to do this is to go to bed when you’re tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clocks allowed!). Expect to sleep for upwards of 10 hours a night at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.
Late night thinker?
Like a lot of people i think A LOT! Especially when it comes time to sleep, so what i found can can really help is keeping a notebook near my bed, so i can write down anything that’s on my mind and save it for tomorrow, when i can tackle it fully refreshed!
Energy Drinks and caffeine
Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration temporarily, but can disrupt your sleep patterns even further in the long term.
So hopefully this will help you get a nice night’s sleep and help you guys live a healthier life. So what do you guys think? How much sleep do you need? What helps you sleep? Post your interesting comments below and let’s have a discussion!