One in every three persons experience a lack of sleep from stress at work to taking work back home, surfing the internet, watching late-night movies, or from some other habit; most of us experience different things keeping us awake at night when we should be sleeping.
Beyond the regular drowsiness, lack of sleep causes severe medical conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and it also reduces one’s life expectancy.
How much sleep do we need?
There’s no clear-cut number of hours that one has to sleep every night. While some people need to sleep for up to eight hours, some need more hours of sleep, while others can do with fewer hours of sleep. It all depends on your body’s needs. Ideally, you need to understand your body, know that waking up grumpy and pining for a chance to take a little nap indicates that you need more hours of sleep.
While sleep apnea is responsible for some cases of poor sleep, most people do not just have good sleeping habits.
Effects of lack of sleep
Ideally, one or two nights of insufficient sleep leaves one disorganized, irritable, and short-fused. But when the lack of sleep goes on repeatedly or for a long time, it becomes detrimental to health.
It first affects your mental health, fogging the brain and making it difficult for you to focus and function maximally. At this point, the body starts fighting back by making you feel sleepy at work, while driving, or when walking on the road. This could put you at a severe risk of having an accident. If, at this point, you don’t step back and correct the anomaly by getting enough sleep, the effects could deteriorate into medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
7 Health Benefits of getting a good night sleep
Healthy sleep can help you lose weight.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get up to seven hours of sleep are at risk of outing on weight and becoming obese. On the other hand, getting up to seven hours of sleep every night can also aid weight loss. According to experts, getting enough sleep increases the concentration of leptin, while lack of sleep increases ghrelin levels. (Leptin is a chemical which makes one feel full, while ghrelin stimulates hunger).
Healthy sleep boosts immunity.
If you are missing out on sleep for a long time, then you are running the risk of weakening your immune system, which can make you susceptible to all kinds of diseases. You need to always have high immunity, especially during this pandemic period, because you need your immune system to be strong enough to protect you from the virus- in case you get exposed to it. For this reason, it is essential to get enough night sleep to keep yourself healthy and is the most effective way to relieve stress.
Good sleep boosts mental health.
When you don’t get enough sleep for one or two nights, you become disorganized and irritable. Prolonged sleep debt makes it worse. It could lead to severe mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
Some surveys studied people’s sleeping habits with depression and anxiety and found that most of them do not get up to six hours of night sleep.
Adequate sleep reduces the risk of heart disease.
Studies have shown that prolonged sleep debt increases the risk of high blood pressure; it increases the heart rate and spikes the levels of chemicals associated with inflammation.
Adequate sleep promotes a high sex drive.
Studies suggest that people who suffer from lack of sleep often have low libido and cannot sustain interest in sexual activities as much as people who sleep sufficiently.
Another study also links sleep apnea in men to reduced testosterone- which ultimately reduces sex drive.
Sleep increases fertility
Studies have shown a relationship between difficulties in conceiving and lack of sleep. Scientists believe, lack of sleep reduces the secretion of hormones involved in reproduction. Therefore, one must get enough sleep to produce the necessary concentration for conception.
Getting enough sleep prevents diabetes.
As studies show, lack of sleep distorts the process through which the body processes glucose and can lead to type-2-diabetes. Experts believe that people who get less than five hours of night sleep have a high risk of developing this disease.
How to pay your sleep debt?
Bad sleeping habit, just like every other bad habit, does not stop overnight. It could take several nights of trying to get it right before you can finally imbibe good sleeping habits and compensate for the sleep loss you’ve suffered.
So, if you’ve been suffering from sleep deprivation, you need to start working on getting more hours of sleep. How to do this?
On the weekend, allow yourself to sleep for one or two extra hours. Go to bed on time when your body is tired. Put away all gadgets and alarm clocks. Allow your body to sleep and wake up naturally without any interference.
On the first night, you may sleep for up to ten hours due to exhaustion, but as time goes on, as your body reverts to its normal circadian rhythm, the number of hours you sleep begins to decrease to the normal levels.
Avoid the use of caffeine and energy drinks. Although these drinks may boost your energy during the day, they harm your sleeping pattern and can disrupt your sleeping habit for a long time.
Use soothing nature sound such as the sound of rain, flowing river, or chirping birds to lull yourself to sleep. You can use an app, download, and play these sounds- on a low volume- when you have difficulties sleeping. Just like yoga, these natural sounds relax your body and can help you sleep better and more profound.
No matter what you do or how busy your schedule is, adequate sleep is not negotiable. It increases your productivity and mental alertness, so you should always ensure that you get enough sleep every night.
You can read more on how some music like flute music helps in deep sleep. And don’t miss our article on 21 ways to sleep better