Who has time for sleep in this fast-paced world where we regularly juggle work deadlines, family, fitness routines, and so much more? However, not getting enough shut-eye can have negative consequences for your health.
Of course, how much sleep different people need to function optimally varies, but one thing is universally agreed upon: not getting enough sleep can have serious consequences for your health. Here are some of the very real and very frightening risks:
Sleep deprivation has been shown to impair immune system function. “Sleep and the circadian system are strong regulators of immunological processes,” according to a 2011 study. Another study found that sleep deprivation lowers immunity, making people more susceptible to infections and respiratory diseases.
A 2004 study looks at the links between sleep and the hormones that control appetite. According to the study, a lack of sleep can cause an increase in hunger and appetite, as well as obesity. Sleep deprivation, according to WebMD, “will disrupt your hormones, including leptin.” It may make you feel hungrier because your brain perceives a lack of sleep as a loss of energy that must be replaced.” This is just one of many ways that sleep deprivation can be linked to obesity and weight problems.
Cognitive Function Impairment
Sleep deprivation, according to researchers, can have a negative impact on the critical cognitive functions of learning and memory in a variety of ways.
First, lack of sleep can have an impact on the amygdala, which regulates emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which regulates reasoning. As a result, working on little sleep impairs one’s ability to pay attention and makes concentration, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making more difficult. This foggy state also makes it difficult to retain information.
Sleep deprivation may also make it more difficult to consolidate memory, which can have an impact on learning. Sleep cycles play a role in memory consolidation during the night, particularly in the deepest REM stage. Reduced sleep time, particularly deep and restful sleep, may result in difficulty remembering what was learned or experienced during the day.
Risks to Mental Health
Sleep deprivation is strongly linked to conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. According to a 2008 study, there is a strong link between sleep disruption and major depression. Sleep deprivation exacerbates depression symptoms, and depression can make falling asleep more difficult. On the plus side, treating sleep problems can help with depression recovery and reduce an important factor in depressive relapse and recurrence.
Diabetes Risk Increase
Inadequate sleep can also cause insulin release and impair the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. This can increase the risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
Cardiovascular Disease Risk Increase
Sleep promotes heart vessel healing and rebuilding, as well as regulating blood pressure, inflammation, and sugar levels. Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure, according to research.
Imbalances in Hormones
Sleep promotes the production and regulation of hormones and their levels in the body. Sleep deprivation can affect hormone production, including growth hormone and testosterone production. It can also cause the release of additional stress hormones in the body, such as the dreaded cortisol.
Increased Accidental Risk
According to a 2020 study, sleep deprivation is a dangerous public safety hazard on the road, as drowsiness can cause a reaction time lag worse than driving drunk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue is a cause of 100,000 auto accidents and 1,550 crash-related deaths in the United States each year, with young people being the most affected.
In one of the numerous studies, workers with sleep problems had a 1.62 times higher risk of being injured than workers without sleep problems in the respective study.
Sleep deprivation, according to a 2016 study, can affect the production and balance of hormones in the body that promote fertility, potentially contributing to infertility and pregnancy loss. Inadequate sleep can cause chronic conditions such as diabetes or stress, which can inhibit ovulation or cause irregular periods, making pregnancy more difficult.
Have you ever heard of beauty sleep? It is not a legend! For example, I’m sure you’ve had puffy eyes and noticed your skin is lifeless after a night or two of poor sleep, with ‘You look tired’ comments from your colleagues making sure you don’t forget it. If those few nights turn into weeks or months, it can lead to even more noticeable physical changes in your appearance, such as dark circles under your eyes, eye bags, fine lines, and consistent lacklustre skin that will be more difficult to recover from. This is because your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone that, in excess, can degrade skin collagen, a protein that prevents skin sagging and keeps it elastic and vibrant.
Inadequate sleep can also cause a decrease in the body’s release of the growth hormone HGH, which is released during deep or slow-wave sleep and benefits the appearance and quality of the skin by thickening it as we age.
Furthermore, according to a 2014 study, chronic poor sleep quality is associated with increased signs of intrinsic ageing, decreased skin barrier function, and lower satisfaction with appearance. After all, looking good and feeling good are inextricably linked, so get some beauty rest!
When it comes to sleep, quality equals quantity.
It’s critical to prioritise a good night’s sleep for overall health—and it’s equally important to consider the quality of your sleep, not just the quantity.
Begin by making sure your room is at a comfortable temperature and that your mattress has the appropriate firmness level for your musculoskeletal needs. A mattress that is either too soft or too firm to support your spine properly can cost you both quality and quantity of sleep.
Always consult your doctor or a sleep specialist for more serious sleep conditions such as sleep apnea. He or she can advise you on the best treatment option for you, which may include lifestyle changes, medication, CPAP therapy, or even surgery.
Do you need a good night’s sleep tonight?
Massage has been shown to help with sleeplessness caused by insomnia, perimenopause, stress and anxiety, and other sleep disruptors. Snooze’s signature sleep massage combines massage techniques, reflexology, and aromatherapy to guide you toward deep and restorative sleep.
When you sleep better, your life improves. Your body deserves the rest it requires, as well as the numerous health benefits that come with a good night’s sleep. Massage may be the most enjoyable way to get the rest you’ve been looking for.