Sleep is no longer what it used to be. When you were a child how many hours of sleep, did you get? Do you remember how easy it was to wake up at the crack of dawn to watch your favorite cartoons or run outside to play with your friends? When did you start to feel that it was okay to miss sleep? Most people would agree that the reality of losing sleep began during their years of university, where there never seemed to be enough hours in a day.
Our health experts at Apollo Hospitals have observed that daily life requires so much of your time that you have to sacrifice your sleep for it until the point where you are overworked, overstressed, and rely heavily on your caffeine intake. Although this has become routine for many people, it is not okay.
Sleep deprivation, or not having sufficient sleep, can lead to a myriad of short term and long term health problems. The problems and complications that can arise from lack of sleep are dangerous and should not be taken lightly. Some of the short-term problems include anxiety, drowsiness, forgetfulness, distractibility, stress, decreased work performance, and automobile accidents. The short term issues are frightening enough, and some could even prove fatal. However, the long-term health problems that are caused by not sleeping properly are truly alarming. The following six long-term health concerns that occur due to insufficient sleep should be taken seriously.
Although obesity has become more accepted in recent years, it is not a condition that should not be ignored. An example of how the lack of sleep contributes to weight gain is as follows: it’s 2 am, and you can’t sleep, so you slowly walk to the fridge and raid it, all the while telling yourself that it will be the last time you do this. You may even think: what’s wrong with gaining a few pounds? The answer: A lot!
Obesity can lead to a host of different conditions such as asthma, muscle and bone problems, depression, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. There was even a study in the journal Nature Communications that discovered that not receiving adequate sleep inhibits activity in brain areas responsible for evaluating your appetite. They even found that being too sleepy can impair decision-making abilities while increasing our craving for unhealthy foods.
- High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, and Stroke
Do not forget that your heart is a muscle and that it is always pumping blood to the rest of your body. If you do not sleep and let your heart beat slowly, what do you think happens to your heart? It could just decide to give up. And the lack of sleep leads to the production of hormones in our body which lead to heart attack and stroke.
- Psychiatric and Cognitive Problems
One night with insufficient sleep has been proven to damage your brain. Your body repairs itself admirably, but if you insist on consistently being sleep deprived, your body will not be able to keep up with you. Lack of sleep can lead to depression which in turn leads to other disorders. When the brain is fatigued, your cognitive, or thinking, function will be disturbed. You might find yourself becoming forgetful and lacking focus.
We all need our beauty sleep. It isn’t a joke. Sleep deprivation can lead to accelerated aging. Dark (panda) circles under the eyes, wrinkles, and dull skin. The body releases cortisol, which is a stress hormone when it lacks sleep. This hormone leads to the breakdown of collagen in the skin. Collagen is what keeps your skin elastic. If it is damaged, it can result in premature aging and even slower repair of the skin from sun damage.
- Poor Sex Drive
Men and women who lack sleep tend to have less interest in sex due to a lack of energy and sleepiness. In men, the lack of sleep could also lead to lower levels of testosterone.
Research shows that people who sleep between six to seven and half hours per night tend to outlive those who sleep for less. Over time, these small changes in your body can lead to complications which could eventually result in death.
We live in a society wh0ere we feel that we have to be continuously connected with everything around us. We are always “plugged-in”, overworked, and are always stressed! If we don’t get enough sleep, we just dose ourselves with caffeine, which isn’t healthy. These habits take a toll on the body. They disrupt your body’s ability to reach and maintain its optimal levels of health and performance. To get sufficient sleep or to miss out on sleep is within your control. The choice is yours.