Sleeping is important to all of us. It is a basic need, which if not met, will have dire consequences both in our body and mind. Because of a lot of distraction that are presented to us, most of us suffer from not getting enough sleep. If you find yourself in this no-sleep group, you are not alone. Studies have shown that approximately 1 out 3 people are not getting the sleep that they need (according to American Academy of Sleep Medicine). Here’s what happens when you sleep:
Sickness and Ailments
Losing much needed sleep lessens your body’s ability to fight off diseases and illnesses. You get sick easier for longer. Studies have found a reciprocal connection between sleeping and your immune system. Your ability to sleep is hampered while your body fights off an illness and you have not gotten enough sleep.
Risk of Heart Disease
There are both negative effects of both sleeping deprivation (less than five hours a night) and sleeping too much (more than nine hours a night). Sleeping less or sleeping more puts a toll to your heart, based on a study published in the European Heart Journal. Specifically, you increase your chances of developing coronary heart disease or a stroke if you get less sleep.
One study revealed that young men lost sleep over a period of one week showed their testosterone levels decrease. If you sleep less than five hours, you reduce your sex hormone levels by up to 15 percent. Not getting enough sleep reduces your sex drive as the men in the same study have reported that their overall mood and vigor towards sex declined with each successive night of intermittent sleep.
Increased Cancer Risk
According to American Academy of Sleep Medicine, higher rates of breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer is associated with lack of sleep. Those working on the night shift is largely affected by this. One good news is that both men and women had the best mortality rates when they are able to sleep more than seven hours per night.
Increased Diabetes Risk
Shortened sleep are prone to have weight issues and also increase their risk of developing adult-onset diabetes. Studies have revealed that seven to eight hours of sleep if the ideal range to avoid insulin problems that could lead to diabetes.
- Accident Prone
A study by the National Sleep Foundation states that a person is three times more prone to a car accident if they get less than six hours of sleep each night. The most affected by this are night shift workers, commercial drivers, travelers, and anyone who are working long or odd hours. If you are not sleeping enough, it is best to be not driving.
If you lose sleep, you are also most likely be packing on the pounds. A three-year study has revealed that people who slept less than five hours a night are more likely to gain weight and in the long run, become obese. Those who sleep between 7 to 8 hours are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Sleep loss is linked with decreased activity in the frontal lobe, the part of the brain controlling decision-making. When your judgement is dulled, you are more likely to give in to your desires and less likely able to make healthier choices when it comes to food.
A well-rested brain has a healthy connection between the amygdala (critical to emotional processing) and the medial prefrontal cortex (regulates feeling). Sleep deprivation interrupts this critical connection, which makes your amygdala revved-up and your mood out of control. Sleep loss primes you to misinterpret facial expressions, focus on negative experiences and be emotionally volatile.
A well-rested brain is able to recognize and filter stimuli in the environment. You are able to separate all the sound, light, and smell and categorize what is important and what is not and prevent sensory overload. Chaos ensues when you are no longer able to filter all the information coming in. After a restless night, you may begin to anticipate things that aren’t there, including objects and sounds.
Your Looks Suffer
If the detriment to your health doesn’t convince you to get enough sleep, do it for your looks. In a study, people ages 30 to 50 were evaluated based on the condition of their skin and their sleep habits. Study results revealed that people who have too little sleep had more uneven skin color, looseness of the skin, fine lines and wrinkles. The deprived sleepers were also more dissatisfied with the way they look versus their well-rested counterparts.
Cerebral Shrinkage and Brain Damage
When you start to lose sleep, you also start to lose volume in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes. Studies still haven’t determined if sleep loss causes the brain shrinkage or the other way around. Healthy adults who pull all-nighters also face the risk of killing their brain cells in the brain stem. The damage may be irreversible which puts into question the “catching up on lost sleep” habit. Above all else, remember that sleep loss may pose irreparable damage to the brain.
Not getting enough shut can lead to many consequences including a weakened immune system, lower cognitive functions, weight gain, and low sex drive. As discussed above, if you lack sleep, you also increase your risk of various ailments such as certain cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. If losing sleep cannot be avoided, you can do steps so you limit your exposure to such damaging habit.