Sleep Deprivation: Is It Causing You Harm?By: Toni Matthews-El - March 17, 2014
Did you know that the average person will spend a third of his or her life asleep? Some estimate the number to add up to about 26 years!
It may seem like a bummer given how much you’ll likely miss due to being unconscious. However, this sentiment will change if you allow yourself to appreciate the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.
Regular sleep allows your body to recuperate from the stresses of the day and can play a major role in the healing of the body.
Think of it as plugging your smartphone or laptop into a charger. You know what happens if you never charge your batteries, right? Well, it’s pretty much the same with our bodies.
Missing sleep is about more than the all-nighter you pulled in college to get that essay done at the last minute or study for a really hard test. If it’s an ongoing condition, sleep deprivation can cause major problems in the body.
For instance, persons who sleep less than six hours per night are at greater risk of heart disease. A lack of sleep has been scientifically linked to an increase in cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”. The higher your cortisol levels rise over time, the greater the risk of having heart problems.
Trying to lose weight? Get more sleep. The less you sleep, the more likely you are to be overweight and stay that way. Insufficient nightly rest is associated with an imbalance in leptin and ghrelin levels. These hormones are what tell your body that you’ve eaten enough. If you aren’t able to eat correctly due to these levels being off, it will very likely lead to overeating and subsequent weight gain.
Lack of sleep is also blamed on increased risk of cancer and diabetes. So the solution becomes simple: Do what it takes to get your zzz’s each day.
According to the Sleep Foundation, different age groups need differing levels of sleep. Adults should plan for seven to nine hours of rest each night.
If you need help for getting to bed at a decent hour, here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep. If these don’t work or you suspect something is medically wrong with you, it’s probably a good idea to get in touch with a doctor.
Image via Wikimedia Commons