Why Is Sleep Deprivation So Unhealthy?
Every day our mind and body need rest. Unfortunately, the modern rhythm of life forces many of us to sacrifice valuable hours of quality sleep. Over the last 100 years, the duration of sleep has decreased by as much as 20%. American scientists have found out that on average a modern person loses about 1.5 hours of rest every 24 hours. Unfortunately, chronic long-term sleep deprivation has such concerning effects on our well-being as higher risks of cancer, diabetes, and mental health problems. That’s why it is very important to prevent the impacts of sleep deficiency and get the amount of sleep you need. Keep reading this article to learn more about the long-lasting health consequences of sleep deprivation. We will also go over some common tips for better quality sleep for people who experience light sleep problems.
Insufficient sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases
According to studies, sleep deficiency is tied to cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. There are parts of our brain that are responsible for the proper functioning of the circulatory system. If you suffer from lack of sleep, it can hurt your brain ability and put you at higher risk of various health diseases.
Sleep deprivation has a devastating effect on our cognitive abilities
Our ability to memorize things is tied to sharp wave ripples in our brains. They occur during the deepest levels of sleep. Our brain needs them to commit information to long-term memory. Sleep deprivation causes gradual damage to some parts of the nervous system, which leads to problems with memory and concentration. Even one bad night’s sleep or sleepless night makes us feel sleepy, fatigued, and drowsy the next day. Whether you need to work all night, enjoy night parties, or Zambia betting, be sure that sleep deprivation may have severe consequences.
Lack of sleep weakens our immune system
There are millions of viruses, infections, and bacteria around us, and our immune system helps us fight them off. During our sleep, our body produces special substances that strengthen our immune system (cytokines). If we don’t get enough sleep, there could be problems with the production of cytokines in our body. Therefore, people with sleep deprivation have weakened immune systems and are more vulnerable to various infections. Research has shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours at least two days in a row, are at a 3 times higher risk of getting infections.
Insufficient sleep leads to problems with blood pressure
Lack of sleep puts a higher risk of problems with blood pressure and leads to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can be the cause of damage to the walls of blood vessels, and it may lead to atherosclerosis and hypertension.
Sleep deficiency increases the risk of diabetes
If our body doesn’t get enough sleep for some time, it can hurt our metabolism and ability to regulate blood sugar. Poor sleep affects our blood cells and they stop processing glucose properly. Problems with processing glucose put people at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lack of sleep provokes overeating and obesity
Lack of sleep is tied to overeating and obesity. If our body doesn’t get enough sleep, it needs to take energy from other resources. On average sleep-deprived people tend to consume daily at least 300 kcal more than they need to remain healthy. Full rest is a “controller” of the production of many hormones, including those that control our appetite. If this process in our body is broken, this condition will lead to various hormonal and metabolic problems. If our body needs rest, it starts producing higher amounts of stress hormone cortisol.
Long-term sleep devastation leads to lower fertility
Hormones affect everything in us. That is why problems with the production of certain hormones have a devastating impact on our bodies. Lack of sleep and broken circadian rhythms are bad for the production of men’s and women’s reproductive hormones. Lower levels of these hormones lead to lower fertility.
Long-term sleep deprivation puts us at a higher risk of cancer
Unfortunately, cancer threatens all fans of sitting up late at night. The fact is that it is at night the body accumulates ¾ of the melatonin necessary for the body. And melatonin is one of those important hormones in our body that prevent the development of malignant tumors.
Lack of sleep increases the risk of depression and other psychiatric problems
At the top of all this, long-term sleep deprivation provokes various psychiatric disturbances. Lack of sleep disrupts the production of the hormone melatonin in our body, and this hormone controls our mood. A low level of melatonin is one of the main risk factors for clinical depression. Sleep deficiency makes us less tolerant of daily stressors, and it can lead to mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks.
How to improve sleep quality?
There can be many reasons why you have trouble sleeping. If you have sleep problems for a few days here and there, consider developing healthy sleep habits. You should stick to a consistent wake/sleep schedule, cut back on caffeine to 200 mg a day, do physical activity for at least 30 minutes during the day, avoid daily napping, and make your bedroom a calm environment.
Having trouble sleeping over a longer period? Then seek the doctor!
In this article, we have listed only several effects of long-term sleep deprivation on our well-being. Beyond them, lack of sleep leads to a lower libido and ages our skin. That’s why it is important to pay attention to your sleep cycle. If trouble sleeping lasts for three weeks or more, you should immediately contact a primary care doctor, sleep doctor, or clinician.