Getting a good night’s sleep is so important, it is vital to our overall health, and not getting enough of it can have devastating effects on our body and brain. Most people need around 8 hours sleep a night, though for some it could be slightly less, or slightly more. Lack of sleep is a big problem today, as we all have busy lives and a lot of responsibilities. But, prolonged lack of sleep will be detrimental to your health long-term and means your brain and body simply cannot function properly.
We all know the short-term effects of sleep deprivation, as we’ve probably all experienced it from time to time, you’re irritable, you can’t focus, and you’re fatigued. Having a sleepless night, or staying up late once in a while isn’t bad for you, and we all have to do it sometimes, but it’s the effects of long-term sleep deprivation that are the most worrying.
After several consecutive nights of poor sleep your brain will fog, your mental function is impaired, you’re prone to low mood and you will have difficulty making decisions. So if you’re doing it to get more done, it just won’t work, as you’ll be running at half speed.
If this continues over the long term, you are at risk of serious health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure, a distressing picture indeed.
If losing sleep is this harmful to us, it must be a process that is fundamental to our health, but why?
It boosts our immune system – prolonged lack of sleep hinders our immune system, so you won’t be able to shake off colds, and are less able to fend off illnesses.
Sleep can help you stay slim! – Yes, you did read correctly, sleeping can help you to lose weight. It is thought that people who are deprived of sleep have less of the chemical leptin, which makes you feel full, and increased levels of ghrelin, a chemical that makes you feel hunger.
Sleep is vital for mental well-being – it’s a bit of a brainer, if a few nights of poor sleep can result in a low mood, it’s kind of obvious that sustained lack of sleep can lead to depression and anxiety. These are severe mental health issues, and they can have a big impact on your ability to function, so are definitely worth avoiding.
Sleep can prevent serious illness – Studies have shown that those who get less than five hours of sleep a night have a higher risk of having or developing diabetes. In addition, lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, as being sleep deprived can raise your heart rate, and increase blood pressure, which puts a strain on your heart.
As you can see, sleep is essential to a healthy life, so make sure you get your 40 winks!