From having to prep for exams to meeting up with office deadlines, sleep deprivation is commonplace in our fast-paced society.
Although losing some sleep is almost unavoidable owing to the highly demanding nature of the labour market, one would readily agree that there’s a need to maintain a healthy sleep habit even amidst a daunting work schedule.
Here are nine ways you might be hurting from sleep deprivation:
Sleep deprivation is precursor to a number of serious health complications including high blood pressure; diabetes; and heart failure.
Researchers say an estimated 80 percent of people with insomnia have similar health conditions.
Weight gain or loss
Sleeping has been found to affect leptin and ghrelin levels, the hormones that control feeling of hunger and satiety.
Lack of sleep increases the secretion of these hormones and in turn, results in a higher likelihood of being obese. On the flip side, it could also lead to considerable weight loss.
Weakened immune system
Excess sleep loss demeans the immune system, meaning that a person might take longer to recover from certain illnesses while being at risk of suffering from a host of other chronic ones.
Forgetfulness and judgment impairment
A 2009 study by American and French researchers found that brain events termed ‘sharp wave ripples’, occurring mostly in the deepest levels of sleep, are responsible for consolidating memories.
Sleep deprivation can hence lead to forgetfulness and impaired judgment.
With insomnia patients as a good example, excessive sleep deprivation is known to intensify symptoms of depression which in turn makes it more difficult to sleep.
Skin ageing & growth hormone depletion
Sleep deprivation stimulates the release of more stress hormone cortisol which, in excess, breaks down skin collagen, the hormone that keeps human skin smooth and elastic.
It also causes the body to release too little growth hormone.
Depletion of sex drive
Studies have shown strong a link between lack of sleep and depleted sex drive.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that men with sleep apnea, a respiratory pathology that interrupts sleep, reported a low testosterone level and reduced sex drive.
Sleep deprivation alters mood; leads to anxiety, depression and foul temper.
Apart from the drowsiness that accompanies sleep deprivation, there is also the frequent fatigue, the decline in mental alertness, minimised attention to details and poor judgment, all of which take a great toll on the productiveness of an individual.
While medical experts advice that adults get an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night, they can always make do with a minimum of six hours when the situation calls for it.
However, a range of eight to 10 and nine to 10 hours is recommended for teens and young children respectively.