Most people think they can get by on five, maybe six hours of sleep. Little do they know they are short changing themselves so much on their sleep! Research has shown that adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. If you are one of the millions of people who aren’t getting an adequate amount of sleep, you are compromising your health and shortening your lifespan. When people aren’t getting adequate amounts of sleep, it affects their memory, creativity, your physical health, learning, productivity and so much more. You are also short changing a number of your body systems when you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep. The heart, the kidneys, the lungs, your metabolism, your appetite, weight control, your ability to resist disease, your immune system, your reaction time, your brain functions, your mood. These are all functions and systems that we use daily. These are things that we need to live and survive, and yet if we are robbing ourselves of sleep, we are killing off our bodies.
We live in a society where we strive to be healthy. Watch what we eat, exercise, take care of our bodies. But in addition to these things, our body needs sleep. There have been many studies conducted that show a direct link to people who aren’t getting the sufficient amount of sleep and gaining weight. If a person is a night owl, they are first of all cutting their sleep short, but they also are giving themselves more time to eat, drink or snack. Your body has a hormone called leptin. This is what tells the brain that the body has consumed enough food. The leptin level in a person who is sleep deprived is lower, making it harder for a person to realize they aren’t hungry. While their ghrelin level, which is the appetite stimulator, is actually higher in sleep deprived individuals. This makes them more likely to snack and consume more food. Sleep deprived people also tend to have a slower metabolism. This is because their circadian rhythm is disrupted. Now we aren’t saying that tired people are guaranteed to carry extra weight. They can offset these side effects with extra exercise or reducing their overall calorie intake. It is wise to be aware of the side effects that come from robbing your body of sleep.
We have gone over some of the more serious side effects of sleep deprivation has on the physical body, but let’s touch on some of the mental side effects some more. When you sleep, your brain is encoding new pathways that facilitate new pathways for learning and memory. In order for these pathways to work, an adequate amount of sleep is needed. When people get their sleep that is needed, they are better at learning new tasks and will be better at remembering what they have learned. When you are sleep deprived, it becomes harder to focus and pay attention. Poor decisions can be made.
While we only touched on a few of the negative side effects of sleep deprivation, there are many reasons that you should ensure that your body and mind get the adequate amount of sleep needed. Don’t rob your body and mind of the time that it needs to replenish and repair itself to make sure that you are able to perform at the best of your ability.
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