Sleep has been extolled immensely for its amazing benefits on our mind and body which make it all the more an essential part of our daily routine. While everyone craves for a reasonable and healthy amount of sleep every night, not everyone is fortunate enough to sink into a good slumber right after they lay their heads on their pillows. After braving a long hectic day, all your body requires is an adequate amount of shut-eye to reboot your system.
Owing to the fast and furious lifestyles that we follow in the present times, most of us are constantly nudging ourselves to work harder. In order to achieve the most at school, college, exams, work or any other social or personal reasons; sacrificing our sleep and pulling out all-nighters has become the new normal. The inability to doze off on time, sets a bad tone for the next day; waking you up all despondent reflecting in a tired, groggy and restless state of mind. Denying yourself the pleasure of a restorative sleep translates into depleted concentration levels, compromised productivity and creativity, increased daytime drowsiness, and poor judgement abilities. However, spending sleepless nights in a row can result in quite devastating repercussions on your daily life.
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How Much Sleep Does Your Body Need?
According to a survey by Sleep Cycle, the sleeplessness epidemic has acquired huge proportions such that no country in the world is said to clock up an adequate sleep of 8 hours regularly. Consistent stints of wakefulness at the expense of adequate sleep can result in overarching health outcomes.
According to the recommendations of the National Sleep Foundation, a fair benchmark between 7-9 hours’ of sleep every night has been put for adults aged 18-64. The suggested duration helps keep up the mental and physical faculties of the individual active and functional in all spheres of life at all times. The report also categorizes varied sleep durations across different age groups tailored to their needs which must be adhered to keep your health and well-being in a stable state.
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Effects of Poor Sleep On Health
A staggering number of people seem to have an immense disregard for their sleep time in a bid to achieve their ambitions and goals. Encountering sleeplessness on a regular basis may transform into perpetual sleep deprivation which if overlooked may worsen your condition resulting in adverse consequences on your health, and overall performance.
The price one may have to pay for insufficient sleep is way beyond just a lack of good moods, or poor concentration levels. The impact of poor slumber is so profound that studies have associated it with a host of health conditions including a risk of weight gain, heart diseases, anger issues, exacerbated stress levels, and even facing difficulties investing in professional and personal relationships to name a few.
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Science has also linked sleep deprivation to being a potential factor in shortening life expectancy.
Let’s delve into the deleterious effects of having a lesser than recommended amount of shut-eye:
- Accumulated sleep debt can cause a disruption in the cognitive functioning of your brain. Sleep helps relax your exhausted brain and recharges it to boost your emotional, and mental acumen. A study claims that sleeping for 5 hours on a regular basis is associated with a decreased cognitive performance in a way similar to that which results after having a blood alcohol content of 0.06.
Chronic Sleeplessness is bound to affect your mental performance by
- Causing a shift in your moods leading to mood swings
- Depleted memory retention leading to a memory issues
- Decreased attention, aggravated daytime drowsiness, reduced focus and a drop in concentration levels reflecting on your work performance
- Dwindling your decision making abilities, innovative index and judgement capacities affecting your productivity
All this may catapult into a sorry state of affairs wherein you are unable to give your best shot even at the most trivial things.
- Poor sleep can result in increased stress levels. Sleeping adequately helps keep your stress levels low, helping your body to stay calm and relaxed. Staying sleep deprived persistently is associated with stress, anxiety and even result in a range of mental health problems such as depression, paranoia, suicidal inclination, impulsive behavior, hallucinations, and behavioral problems to name a few. However, there is a need of further research to provide some clarity whether lack of sleep causes stress or vice versa.
- Sleep deprivation can lead to a gain in body weight to the point of obesity. Weight gain and sleeplessness are inversely proportional to each other that is shorter the duration of sleep, higher is the weight gain. Insufficient sleep leads to disturbances in the normal levels of appetite related hormones stimulating the person’s appetite.
- The inability to sleep adequately can manifest itself in the form of various health problems:
- Cardiovascular conditions may arise as a result of increased inflammation, a spike in blood sugar and blood pressure levels all contributing to poor heart health
- According to a cohort based study adults who reported a sleep duration of 5 or less hours were found 2.5 times more likely to have diabetes
- It is also suggested that since sleep helps the body to repair and rejuvenate itself; sleep deprivation can intervene in your body’s repair mechanism and weaken your immunity levels.
Chronic sleeplessness can metamorphose into poor health outcomes and hence must be dealt immediately. Hence, if you haven’t sleep properly in days; consider getting a medical review to rule out the possibility of an underlying sleeping disorder.
Aside from sticking to the usual mandate of a balanced diet and exercise, prioritize on your sleeping time as well. The next time you spend the night tossing and turning, instead of passing it off as a minor hiccup, switch off the lights and lie down on your bed to catch up on some ZZZZ’z.