When I was younger, I resented sleep. Not because I had trouble sleep – not at all – but because I had so much I wanted to do in a day and sleeping just felt like a waste of hours I could be doing something so much more interesting. As a result, I did everything I could get away with to reduce the hours ‘wasted’ in idle slumber. I stayed up late, often all night. I’d also get up early and when you’re young, it’s so easy to spring out of bed, firing on all thrusters, paying little or no attention to the sleep debt you’re busily incurring.
Now and then I’d have a sleep in, but never long enough to make any real difference. Of course, we all did the same thing when we were young and back then, your body can cope with it to a large extent. At least, you think it does. You might not feel the tiredness so much when you’re young the way you do when you’re older, but that doesn’t mean the lack of sleep isn’t hurting you. It is.
The Importance of Sleep
Believe it or not, how much good quality sleep you get has a direct effect on pretty much everything in your life.
Sounds like a big claim, right? But it’s true – and health experts around the world agree, providing vast amounts of research to prove it.
This is because when you sleep, a whole bunch of other things happen both in your brain and elsewhere in your body, and these things play a critical part in your well-being.
Sleep directly affects:
- your mental alertness
- your ability to get things done
- your moods and emotional state
- your ability to be creative
- your physical vitality
- your ability to handle stress
- how much you eat – and what kind of food you choose.
No other pass-time gives you so many benefits with so little effort!
Simply losing just one hour of sleep each night can have negative effects on your ability to concentrate and be productive. Habitually cutting back on sleep can give you long-term chronic problems – some of which can lead to more serious problems.
For example, sleep deprivation at night makes you more hungry during the day, and when you eat, you crave high carbohydrates. You’re less likely to exercise and therefore more likely to put on weight. When you do, you become a candidate for sleep apnoea – which in turn, ruins your sleep even more (and is very dangerous for your health).
There is also another serious side effects of missing sleep. Insufficient sleep means insufficient Serotonin is produced in the brain, adversely affecting your moods. Long-term chronic lack of sufficient Serotonin has been described as one of the main causes of depression. Most anti-depressant drugs focus on providing artificial doses of Serotonin.
On the bright side, just getting yourself that 7.5 – 8 hours of sleep each night will give you immediate benefits. You’ll be more productive during the day and probably get more things done. That’s the irony of skipping sleep because you’re busy – you get so tired it takes you longer to get those tasks done. When you’re properly rested, you zip through those tasks in a jiffy.
Next up, we’ll talk about what sleep is doing to your body and brain while you’re off counting sheep.
In the meantime, have you noticed differences in your day when you’ve had too little sleep, and then caught up? Do you feel you’re getting enough sleep?
- Don’t be deprived of sleep, or else… (beinghealthyhomeandaway.blogspot.com)
- Catch Some Zzz’s to Lose Some Pounds (brainblogger.com)
- How can you tell if you’re sleep deprived? (seattlepi.com)