Guest Post: Is a Good Night’s Sleep Critical for a Healthy Life

The answer to that question is yes. Sleep has a very vital role in our lives and is an important requirement for our mental, physical and general well-being. It not only rejuvenates and revitalizes our body but also improves our cognitive functions and strengthens our memory. It affects your life quality plays a very crucial role in life safety.

Your day depends a lot on the quality and duration of your sleep. Your ability to work, feel and behave are all dependent on the quality and duration of your Zzzz’s. Poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide(1), depression(2) and anxiety. Continuous sleep deprivation has also been linked to chronic health problems.

Weight Gain

Sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality can affect your satiety centre and cause you to gain weight. You are more likely to overindulge if you are sleep deprived. Getting a proper 8-hour sleep will ensure you take in fewer calories.

Productivity Issues

It is a no brainer that less sleep equals to less productivity. Not only that, sleep deprivation also causes the inability to think, react and concentrate. It affects your mood and mental health severely and may lead to poor decision-making skills.

Higher Risk of Cardiac Diseases

Patients who suffer from sleep apnea often end up having heart problems. When a person does not get the required amount of sleep, the body releases certain chemicals which keep the body from lowering its blood pressure and heart rate. If sleep deprivation becomes a regular thing, high blood pressure during the day becomes common and can easily lead to cardiovascular issues.

Risk of Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the human body is unable to break down sugar properly. This causes a starvation of your cells for energy since it is not getting energy through glucose. When the quality of your sleep is poor or you are sleep deprived, your body requires more insulin in order to maintain normal glucose levels. Sleep deprivation affects the body’s stress-control centre and causes hormonal imbalances which lead to problems in the regulation of glucose. When sleeplessness becomes a habit, the insulin producing cells stop proper functioning and give rise to elevated blood glucose levels which can cause diabetes. So, that late night chocolate cravings are not to be tended to if you want to continue eating sweet things later on in life!

Depression

Insomnia is a common occurrence among the depressed patients. People who have issues falling asleep, staying asleep or getting quality sleep are at a higher risk of developing depression as compared to those who get quality sleep(3). Sleep apnea has also been observed to cause depression.

Weak Immune System

Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality also weakens the immune system. Hence, sleep deprived individuals are more likely to catch a flu or fever. The human body produces proteins called cytokines that are released by the immune system to promote sleep. When you have an infection or inflammation or are under a lot of stress, some of these cytokines increase. Sleep deprivation causes the production of these cytokines to decrease. It also causes the infection fighting antibodies to decrease in number, thus weakening the human immune system and making the body vulnerable to common diseases.

Emotional Instability

Feeling irritated and emotionally unstable after a sleep deprived night is not uncommon. Recent studies have shown that a sleep deprived mind loses its ability to think rationally. A sleep deprived brain starts exhibiting primitive behaviour and regresses in its ability to think rationally and logically. Hence, the emotions start running amok.

Many psychiatric disorders that involve emotions are related to sleep deprivation. Abnormal patterns of sleep can cause mental instability. A good night’s sleep is very important to maintain a healthy mind and keep your emotions in check. Instead of going for anti-depressants or other drugs, go for a good night’s sleep and this may just be the simplest cure for your emotional and mental behaviour to get back to normal.

Safety!

Sleep deprivation can quite critically affect your life directly too. Sleep deprived individuals are at a higher risk for accidents on the road or at work. There have been many cases of fatal road accidents when sleep deprived individuals dozed off while driving.

The normal adults require a minimum of 8 hours sleep to lead a healthy life. Getting less than 8 hours can contribute to a great deal of physical as well as mental issues. A lot of people are not aware of the dangers of getting less sleep. They may think that they can function properly after getting only a few hours of sleep but if sleep deprivation becomes a habit, it can take its toll on the person’s health and safety in a horrible way. Your body and your immune system depend greatly on sleep. So, change into your Pj’s, turn off the lights and hit the bed for some Zzzz’s so that you can make sure you live a healthy and fuller life.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25133759
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16259539
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16335332&ordinalpos=9&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Read Eugene’s latest post on sleep and bedroom designs.

Eugene Gabriel has his BSc (Hons.) Degree in Psychology. He has always been fascinated by the effects of good quality sleep, or the lack of it on human productivity and overall well-being. He has helped thousands of individuals suffering from sleeping problems by teaching them about the healthy changes they need to make in their lifestyle in order to sleep peacefully.
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