In the current fast paced tech age, it’s easy to fall victim to sleep deprivation. Your average hustle and bustle may consist of deadlines for work, chores that need attending to around the house and the stress of keeping an active social life. In order to keep up with this busy lifestyle, something is going to have to take the hit, and that something is oftentimes sleep. What most people don’t realize is that when they are sleep deprived, they make it harder on their body to function at work and home. The result of this is often putting countless hours of work into a project that might be finished quicker if well rested.
A 2013 Gallup poll showed 40% of Americans getting less than the recommended amount of sleep each night (7-8 hours.) That’s almost half of the country! Sleep deprivation is real, and it will effect your body both physically and mentally. Here’s what happens to your mind and body when you suffer from sleep deprivation:
More Aches & Pains
When we sleep, our body enters recovery mode. Each night our body repairs, recovers and maintains itself. Think of your body as a car, and every night we’re getting a tune-up in preparation for the following day. When we don’t get enough sleep, the body doesn’t have enough time to recover. Suddenly chronic and acute pain start to hurt more. You wouldn’t stop your car’s maintenance mid tune-up would you? Of course not, so why would you stop your body from a full recovery?
Have you ever heard the saying “someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today”? This implies that you started your day off on a bad note. Waking up from an awful night sleep would make even the most pleasant person cranky. When we are tired our emotional regulation is effected and our stress levels rise. Our patience may wear thin as we become more easily agitated. Some signs of this could be snapping at people, bursting into tears or laughing uncontrollably for no apparent reason.
Trying to get a tired person to work out is like trying to get juice from a raisin, it’s not likely to happen. When you are exhausted, the last thing you want to think about is engaging in physical activity, this makes it hard for people who suffer from constant sleep deprivation to get themselves to the gym. Lack of sleep also lowers our levels of Leptin (a hormone that makes us feel full) causing overeating. Because of these, sleep deprived individuals are likely to become obese.
Lack of Focus
Sleep loss impairs cognition, attention and decision making. You’ll be less able to retain new information and more likely to make mistakes when tired. In fact, drowsy drivers were responsible for 72,000 car accidents and 800 deaths in 2013. In this case, getting a goodnight sleep really can help save your life!
More Prone to Illness
When we sleep, cytokines are released by our immune system to help fight disease and inflammation within our body. When we don’t get enough quality rest, our immune system can’t function as needed to fend off invaders. The end result is a lower immune system which can cause us to easily catch colds and other viruses. People who get less than 7 hours of sleep are 3 times more likely to catch a cold, compared to people who got 8 hours or more.
High Risk of Disease
Much like the above mentioned “More Prone to Illness,” lack of sleep can also be responsible for more serious diseases. People who suffer from sleep deprivation will have a higher risk of heart disease, heart attack, diabetes and obesity. The C-reactive protein is higher in people who get 6 hours of sleep or less. C-reactive protein is associated with heart attack risks.
We all need sleep, yet some people still disregard sleep as a luxury; some time off from their busy schedule. The more quality sleep we get, the better we can feel and function in our daily lives. A good night’s rest should not be looked at as something extravagant, but as a necessity for our physical and mental well-being.