To Sleep or Not to Sleep?

At the end of the day, our body is most often exhausted and allows itself to rest by means of sleep. Sleeping is an integral part of our daily lives. It allows our body and our mind to rest, making us all charged up for the following day. Going about a few minutes or hours lacking of sleep can bring significant effects to our daily activities in school, work or even in play. But being deprived of sleep for a longer duration and for several days can result in devastating effects in the physiological, social, psychological and emotional aspects of our lives.

What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Sleeping is the body’s natural way to replenish its energy and repair itself. While we sleep, a number of cellular processes happen that aim to revitalize our different organs and eliminate waste products in our blood. Some of these processes don’t go well when we don’t get enough sleep, leaving our body to be susceptible to negative effects. What happens to our bodies when we are deprived of sleep?

Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Diseases

Many studies have shown that lack of sleep leads to the development of cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease. If you don’t get enough sleep, your blood pressure elevates, producing a myriad of signs and symptoms that mostly produce discomfort. Not having enough sleep constricts the blood vessels as well because of stress, leading to weakened arterial walls which are prone to damage.

Weakened Immune System

It’s a natural phenomenon that we often go to sleep whenever we’re not feeling well. Fatigue overcomes us and while we’re sleeping, the immune system does its job to fight off the infection that may be causing fatigue. That is why a good night’s sleep even while having a bout of flu can instantly make you feel refreshed the next morning. People who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to developing these infections and have a harder time dealing with them.

Mood Swings

It’s a fact that we get irritable when we don’t get enough sleep. Our mood suffers significantly as our brain didn’t get the adequate rest that it needed. On average, most people can stay awake for sixteen (16) hours. That means the remaining hours would be allotted for sleep. However, skipping on sleep means that your brain won’t get its share of rest and go overtime, leading to unpredictable mood swings.

Weight Gain or Weight Loss

Lack of sleep is one of the risk factors in obesity and also in being underweight. While we’re sleeping, our body releases a number of hormones that control several functions. For instance, the amount of cortisol or more commonly known as the “stress hormone” released into our body is increased as we lack sleep.

Slower Rate of Cholesterol Synthesis

Our body processes fat or cholesterol at night while we’re asleep. Cholesterol is divided into two types: the high density lipoproteins or HDL, commonly called as the “good” cholesterol and the low density lipoproteins or LDL, commonly called as the “bad” cholesterol. Fat is processed and synthesized into a form that we can use. Excess amounts are stored as adipose tissue or the fat that we see under our skin. However, when we lack sleep, this process is disrupted, leading an increased amount of cholesterol left in our bloodstream.

Unstable Blood Sugar Levels

Increased insulin production is also associated with lack of sleep, promoting the development of diabetes. Usually, our blood sugars drop in the early hours in the morning. If you stay up late, you often experience hypoglycemia or a decrease in blood sugar levels with cool, clammy skin, trembling and weakness as symptoms. But this isn’t a big deal if you’re asleep. Sleep deprivation leads to altering of this process, leading to daytime hypoglycemic events instead.

What Happens If I Get a Good Night’s Sleep?

Having a hectic daily schedule can be exhausting, depleting you of your energy reserves almost completely. Investing a few hours to get a good sleep is a must if you want to feel recharged for the next day. An optimum sleep has its benefits that you may not even be aware of.

Better Memory

When you experience a lack of sleep, several functions of the brain suffers. One of those functions is your memory. Getting enough sleep is important in maintaining a good memory. May it be remote memory or recent memory, sleep is vital in remembering the past. That is why it is often advisable that you get a good night’s sleep before taking that big exam or going to that important interview.

Improved Concentration

When your mind is well rested, your thoughts become clearer. This allows you to focus better on doing your work and accomplish tasks quite effectively. Stress is a factor that leads to poor concentration. Enough sleep can help in regaining your focus and finish your job with utmost efficiency.

Better Mood

As lack of sleep can lead to irritability, a god night’s sleep can put you in a refreshing mood right after you wake up. Physical and mental exhaustion are key factors on how we react to situations and how we interact with other people. Enough sleep can relieve you of these two, putting you in more positive mood.

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Healthier Skin

Sleep is the body’s way to repair itself. The skin is one of the fastest repairing organs that we have, shedding dead skin cells daily and replacing them anew. However, lack of sleep can diminish this repair process. Thus, adequate sleep is needed if you want your skin looking fresh and smooth.

Stronger Immune System

When you get enough sleep, a cascade of events follow after it. The refreshing feeling that you get in the morning after a good night’s sleep isn’t just a wonderful sensation. It’s a sign that your body has recovered from the punishment it received the day before and your vital organs are generally functioning at their best capacities. Once everything else is working right, your immune system is also at its peak, protecting your from a number of infections. Load more

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