The quality and length of your sleep play a big role in your overall health and well-being. Lack of proper sleep, especially over a long period of time, can have detrimental effects on your body not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
On average, a normal adult needs 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep, while teenagers and younger need longer hours to promote their physical development. When we are sleeping, our body is able to replenish the energy that was lost during the day while also repairing worn-out tissues, re-energizing the brain, and setting up defenses to prepare itself for the next day. Not having enough sleep means depriving your body of these very important functions.
Prioritize your sleep quality and fix your daily schedules accordingly. Minimize daytime naps in order to avoid disrupting your body’s natural sleeping pattern. If you work at night and can only sleep during the day, make sure to cover your eyes with a loose eye mask to block out the light because the body takes darkness as a signal for rest.
Reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake in the few hours before your bedtime increases your chances of falling asleep more quickly. Make your sleeping area more conducive to quality sleep by reducing sources of light, blocking out disruptive noises, placing gadgets far from reach, as well as adding calming scents.
The type of mattress you use can also affect your sleep quality. You may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night due to discomfort brought about by strained joints and muscles. Get the type of mattress that matches your body type and sleeping posture, so it can appropriately support your full weight while you sleep. For more bulky body types, choose the best mattress for heavy people 2022, so you can get the quality sleep that your body needs.
There are several ways in which lack of sleep can negatively affect your body. While some effects are temporary and can be addressed with proper lifestyle changes, other effects are much more long-lasting and can leave permanent damage to your health. Here are just a few of the health risks associated with lack of sleep:
1. Cardiovascular Problems
Research has shown that lack of quality sleep poses numerous risks for the cardiovascular system. When the body is asleep, the heart rate slows down, blood pressure gets lowered, and breathing becomes more stable. All these make way for the heart to rest and recover from the energy expended during the day.
The body also releases hormones that support and benefit the heart and veins, thus improving blood circulation. Without enough quality sleep, these organs are not able to receive the sustenance required in order to function properly. As a result, chronic lack of sleep can result in various cardiovascular problems such as hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and chest pains.
Several incidents of heart attacks and heart failure have also been linked with inadequate sleep. A heart failure happens when not enough blood and oxygen are supplied to the body, while a heart attack refers to the blockage of blood flowing to the heart. Many incidents of both illnesses have been observed in people who had less than 6 hours of sleep or had interrupted sleeping patterns over a long period of time.
2. Disrupts the Body’s Metabolism
Inadequate sleep also affects the body’s metabolism, leading to physical complications like obesity or diabetes. A person who does not get enough sleep tends to compensate with food in order to supply the needed nourishment that was supposed to be gained during sleep, thus they would be more prone to over-eating and have an urge to eat calorie-heavy food.
Patients who are suffering from diabetes are at risk of worsening their condition if they don’t get proper sleep. Diabetic people have high glucose levels in the blood, which is caused by the poor metabolism of sugar. Lack of proper sleep further weakness their body’s ability to process glucose, which can then aggravate their other symptoms or lead to other diabetes-related complications problems in their blood circulation.
3. Faulty Memory and Concentration
Like the other organs in the body, our brain needs time to recharge and recover from the day’s work as well. This is usually done when the body is in deep sleep when the brain updates your short-term memory and properly sorts through all the new information that was gathered during the day.
Important or relevant details are stored, while noise and junk information are discarded. In this way, you are not overloaded with too much information on a daily basis. Without enough sleep, the brain does not have the opportunity to carry out this function, thus you end up forgetting many details, as well as losing your concentration throughout the day.
Over time, this combination of lack of sleep and memory problems will start to affect your mental health, making you more irritable, moody, and feeling stressed out. It can also affect your professional relationship with your colleagues at work, as well as personal relationships with friends and loved ones.
4. Weaker Immune System
Chronic sleep deprivation takes a toll on your body’s immunity. What it means is that you would be more prone to getting sick when exposed to common viruses like cold and flu, compared to other people who get adequate sleep regularly.
This is because your body is no longer able to produce enough antibodies that fight infection when it does not get adequate quality sleep. Proteins called cytokines, which help reduce inflammation and protect your body from diseases, are also not produced in enough quantity when the body lacks sleep.