Do you remember the day when you woke up fatigued ? And since waking up till going to bed all you were yearning for is a nap. This tedious day made you feel less efficient, more short tempered and more error prone. You picked up an altogether different personality owing to lack of sleep. This is an easy to see manifestation of what happens to you when you don’t sleep enough for a day.
Healthy sleep is as crucial as healthy diet. Besides quantity of sleep quality of sleep matters too. Wherefore it is not only about how long you sleep but also how well you sleep.
But now a days chronic sleep loss is extensive like a pandemic. Masses are suffering from it. Below I have put in plain words, what happens to your body and mind when you don’t sleep properly for days.
1. POOR MEMORY AND JUDGEMENT
Earlier people used to assume that during sleep our brain is dormant. But it’s a myth. Sleep is not as simple as it sounds. Rather it is an intricate phenomenon.
During sleep our brain processes information we receive through out the day. As a result sleep transmutes short term memory into long-term memory.
Also sleep boosts other brain functions such as concentration, attention, decision making etc. Hence healthy sleep habit is imperative for healthy brain.
2. MENTAL ILL HEALTH
Mental health is a much talked about topic these days. Owing to our stressful lives almost all of us had some taste of mental instability at some point in time.
There are diverse factors that contribute to mental ill health ; chronic lack of sleep is one of them. Sleep depletion makes an individual vulnerable to depression, anxiety etc.
Further when you fall victim to mental illness, it drags you into insomnia. Thus the vicious cycle of mental illness and sleeplessness continues. Therefore take care of your sleep right from the outset.
3. TYPE 2 DIABETES
Diabetes is spreading its roots very fast in general public. You will be shocked to know how sleep plays a pivotal role here.
Insulin is the principal hormone that controls blood sugar level. Sleep deprivation instigates beta cells in pancreas to secrete less insulin.
Also sleep deprivation reduces sensitivity of fat and muscle cells towards insulin. Owing to which insulin fails to function properly.
Lack of adequate sleep for even 1 week pushes human body towards pre-diabetic state. In other words adequate sleep helps in averting Type-2 diabetes mellitus.
4. HYPERTENSION & HEART DISEASE
Do you know what chemical and neuronal changes follow inside human body when you don’t sleep properly for days? Chronic lack of sleep brings about excess release of stress hormones. Also this over-activates sympathetic nervous system.
In view of these changes, blood pressure rises. Besides chronic lack of sleep is a contributing factor for heart disease and stroke. So when you pay attention to sleep, you take care of your heart too.
In modern days, infertility is on rise. It is surprising that our lifestyle has a lot to do with fertility.
There is a close correlation between sleep deprivation and infertility. Night-shift hampers ovulation in women and sperm maturity in men. The exact methodology is not yet known.
It could be because sleep-awake centre in brain lies close to the area that regulates reproductive system via hormone. Also a hormone ‘melatonin’ that is primary hormone for circadian rhythm bears some reproductive functions as well.
Being over weight is not a marker of good health. To be more apt obesity is a disease.
Leptin and Ghrelin are two opposing hormones that maintain an equilibrium inside body. Ghrelin is secreted from stomach and it induces hunger. Leptin is secreted from fat cells and it brings about satiety.
Sleep deficit increases level of Ghrelin and reduces level of Leptin. Hence it causes obesity. So adequate and sound sleep is pivotal for maintaining body in shape.
7. ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES
Lack of sleep impairs concentration and cognition. It makes a person more irritable, hence vulnerable and open to error. .
There are so many instances of accidents happening in wee hours of night. So it’s better to refrain from driving if you are sleepless.
8. TRIGGER MIGRAINE AND SEIZURE
If you have migraine, then going to bed very late in night or waking up too early can trigger your headache. Study proves that frequency and severity of migraine soars up significantly in people with inadequate sleep.
Likewise sleep loss reduces seizure threshold. That means people with epilepsy are more likely to get seizures if they don’t sleep enough.
Also sleep deprived people have reduced empathy or emotions.
To wind up :
In day to day life we are battling hard to achieve work life balance. Also there are household chores and rest other obligations that simply does not end. With such a busy schedule getting adequate sleep seems a herculean task.
However, we can limit misuse of mobile and internet that consumes most of our sleep time.
On the other hand excess of sleep is not healthy either. It increases likelihood of obesity and raises blood sugar level. As per recommendation of CDC, 7-8 hours of sleep is something an adult should earmark. But again exact amount of sleep required is highly personalized.