The American Academy of Sleep Medicine supports the idea that adults should have anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep. Most adults require about 6-8 hours of sleep but there are some people that need more sleep than others. However, because of one reason or another, whether it’s working late or just having too much fun, there are times when getting enough sleep is just not possible. Sleep is essential for survival, and the importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough since the long term effects of not getting enough sleep can have serious, adverse effects on health and general well-being.
The occasional sleepless night might not be serious to do permanent ill-effects, doing it persistently is not. Needless to say, that there are disadvantages if someone is not getting enough sleep which can seriously affect everyday life. Anyone who is not getting enough sleep or sleep deprivation can have an effect on health, learning, mood and behavior.
This need for sleep is so vital for a person’s well-being that sleep deprivation is regarded to be a very effective form or method, albeit very inhuman, of extracting information. Victims of this cruel method have reported that the desire for sleep is more powerful than getting food or water. Advances in science and medicine are just beginning to uncover how sleep or the lack thereof can affect just about everything we do. Here are a few frightening and dangerous side effects of sleep deprivation. Some these ill effects are well-known to everyone.
Worrying over problems and other frustrations can keep anyone from having a good night’s sleep. This lack of sleep can be stressful. When the human body does not get enough sleep, it releases cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol regulates a range of bodily processes, which include metabolism and immune response. However, too much cortisol can lead to serious health issues such as rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, muscle weakness and osteoporosis, not mention the psychological effects which can range from mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability and other psychiatric problems. Having enough sleep cuts down stress and cortisol levels.
Medical research has shown that there is a strong link between health and the amount of sleep. The lack of sleep can increase the risk of diseases. There are enough medical studies and research available that suggest that adults that have less than 6 hours of sleep per day are more likely to have diabetes or heart disease. Sleep deprivation can cause the body’s blood pressure to spike, and over a period of time this can damage the kidneys, the heart and circulatory systems, plus a host of other related health problems such as a weakened immune system.
Being sleep deprived can have serious ill-effects on a person’s abilities such as poor decision making and decreased reaction times. There studies that show that people who do not have enough sleep have decreased abilities than those who have had adequate sleep. It is very interesting to note that the human body reacts to the lack of sleep in a similar manner to consuming alcohol. A person who has gone without sleep for the past 18 hours has the same effect as someone having a 0.05 blood alcohol level.
The effects of too little sleep can lead to reduced efficiency and productivity. In return, this can result to errors and accidents because of poor judgment and decision making. Our brains function better when it is well-rested and not having enough sleep will make it difficult to process information, much less to react to it quickly. The lack of sleep can cause hand tremors, which can affect a person’s ability to carry out precise movements and will make performing detailed oriented tasks much longer, less accurate or both. This can make it dangerous or risky for anyone who is driving, flying or generally when undertaking other high risk work.
Going to bed late can affect creativity. Scientists have done studies with results that suggest that while we are sleeping, our brains will naturally sort out whatever information that has been collected and processed during our waking hours. However, sleepiness can adversely affect the brain and cognitive function, slowing creative processes, lowers alertness and decreased concentration. This can make it difficult for anyone to focus, or become easily confused, making it harder to come up with new ideas. This includes the learning process. The lack of sleep has an effect on memory and ability to learn new things.
The lack of sleep can affect the production of certain hormones and proteins in our body that stimulates smooth, elastic skin and its ability to fend off wrinkles. Simply put, the sleeping late will ruin the skin’s ability to rejuvenate itself, losing its restorative effects that make the skin look young and healthy. Having adequate sleep acts like a natural moisturizer and improves circulation. This helps hydrate the skin so that it does not look blotchy or become dry and scaly. The lack of sleep can also trigger skin blemishes or make the skin more vulnerable to acne.
There is no still no definitive proof that links sleep deprivation and infertility in both men and women. But it is known that the lack of sleep can hamper the body’s circadian rhythm, potentially suppressing reproductive hormones and making it difficult for women to conceive. Research has shown that men and women who do not get adequate sleep have lower libidos and, as a result, will have less interest in sex. Furthermore, men with sleep apnoea, which results in interrupted sleep, tend to have lower testosterone levels can also lower libido. These factors taken together can result to infertility.
We spend a significant part of our lives in sleep. We know that sleeping in bed late can led to serious consequences to both mind and body. There is truth to an old proverb that says “early to bed, early to rise, can make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”.