“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”, Kudos to the wealthy part, but it does make you healthier. Studies have proven a correlation between our sleeping patterns and their various effects on health. In the rat race of today, sleep is the first to be ticked off the list and traded for wakefulness when we feel pressed for time.
The sacrifice is momentous. Overlooking the obvious drawbacks of sleep deprivation like grogginess and sloth, it is detrimental to health and actually makes you prone to chronic illnesses in the long run as well as exacerbating the existing ailments.
Sleep is a hard earned luxury. That extra hour of sleep you covet every morning might do you more good than you know and ensures you wake up rejuvenated, refreshed and eager to take on the day.
Sleep and Diabetes
Sleep deprivation and diabetes travel a two way road. Sleeping less makes the cells less responsive to insulin and elevates the blood glucose levels. Sleep deprivation disrupts the normal functioning of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s stress levels, and causes hormone imbalances.
Jolted by the lack of sleep, your body goes in to stress mode and kicks in an excess production of a stress hormone called cortisol. Your body construes stress as a threat and hikes up the blood glucose levels as a fight or flight response, to boost energy resources for cells. A spike in the blood glucose levels over time leads to Type-2 diabetes.
Sleep and Cardiovascular Diseases
Sleep deprivation elevates the blood pressure and increases the risk of hypertension, strokes, heart attack and angina. Sleepless nights may also be the culprit in clogging up the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. Sleep Apnea, pauses in breaths while sleeping, leaves the individual waking up frequently in the middle of the night, gasping for air.
This lapse in breathing make the oxygen levels fall inside the body, which alerts your brain. In order to prioritize the hauling of limited oxygen supply to the heart and brain, the blood vessels tighten up, increasing the blood pressure inside the body.
Sleep and Obesity
Sleep deprivation meddles with our hormones and hikes up the production of appetite stimulating hormone, known as Ghrelin, while limiting the production of Leptin, which tells your brain when you have had enough to eat. Another prompting factor may be that when you stay up late, you are bound to satisfy the carb cravings. People who have not had a good night’s sleep might also not be enthusiastic about gym the next day. A sedentary lifestyle compounded by a lack of sleep is the leading cause of obesity in adolescents.
Sleep and Immune System
Another study has proven the effect of sleep deprivation on the ability of the immune system as a defense mechanism of the body. Sleep deprived individuals are at a higher risk to contracting infections such as the common cold. Lack of sleep decreases the production of infection fighting antibodies and increases the inflammatory markers, which inhibit the function of the immune system.
Sleep and Emotional Health
Lack of sleep alters the quality of your lifestyle. Insomnia is directly linked to depression, stress, mood swings, cognitive function, decision making, concentration and alertness. Uninterrupted sleep of 7-8 hours is vital to maintain the mental and physical wellbeing of your body and well keeping you sane.
A good night’s sleep facilitates learning as the brain forms new learning paths and transfers memories from short term storage to permanent memory. A poor memory, attention and concentration are often the product of sleep deprivation and are the leading causes of decreasing workplace productivity.