Maybe it’s binge-watching sitcoms or perhaps it’s the parties and after-parties. While some night’s work keeps you up, other nights, it’s probably the neighbour’s dog. When it comes to sleep, there are plenty of distractions that keep us from getting our much-needed mental and physical reboot. But lack of sleep could be detrimentally affecting our health in more ways than one. Sleep is a basic human necessity and is a vital part of the foundation for prolonged health and well-being. Sleeping helps facilitate healthy brain functioning and helps maintain physical and mental health. In children and teens, it also aids growth and development.
Although it may vary from person to person, the average adult requires anywhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep daily. But remember, just like with everything else in life, don’t overdo it.
How sleep deprivation affects your health
Studies reveal that those who have poor sleep cycles or don’t get enough sleep are at greater risk of developing numerous health issues including obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and mood disorders. Insufficient sleep has been linked to lowered life expectancy, and can also negatively impact the production of testosterone in men.
- Impaired memory: Sleep deprivation impacts memory as it impairs the ability to learn effectively
- Mood swings: Lack of sleep can make you cranky, irritable, and uninterested through the day
- Weakened immunity: Inadequate sleep weakens the immune system, increasing the likelihood of falling ill
- Risk of diabetes: Lack of sleep will diminish the release of insulin – a hormone that normalises blood-sugar levels
- Trouble focusing: Inadequate sleep will minimise concentration levels and the capacity to grasp efficiently
- Risk of heart issues: Anything under 5 hours of sleep increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks
- Weight gain: Insufficient sleep makes you lethargic which leads to periods of physical inactivity
- Poor dexterity : Insufficient sleep affects body’s balance and coordination skills
When we call it a day, the brain and the body are still hard at work with a collective purpose to restore and rejuvenate. A peaceful night of sleep is known to help make the brain sharper, normalise blood sugar levels, boost mood, and stabilise blood pressure.
Avenues of treatment
Now that you’re aware of the importance of sufficient sleep and the unfavourable implications of sleep deprivation. Let’s quickly go through the preventive options:
- Non-Pharmaceuticals (behavioural and cognitive treatments)
- Following the sleep hygiene guidelines
- Relaxation exercises
- Stimulus control
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
However, some people develop dependency towards the drugs, so it is advisable to try the non-pharmaceutical measures where possible.
Troubling thoughts keeping you up? or Consult a mental wellness practitioner online.