Many people in the United States are deprived of sleep on a regular basis. Something like this is not surprising as we have turned into a 24/7 society. We often choose to ignore the fact that getting enough sleep is one of the basic human needs. It is our choice to sacrifice a few hours of good night’s rest in order to squeeze more hours into our days. Unfortunately, it happens more often than it should.
It is crucial to be aware that long-term sleep deprivation can have numerous consequences on our lives, especially our health. We can face a variety of health issues because of our choice to neglect our sleeping needs. We should return to a healthy sleep pattern if we want to avoid serious complications and problems that rest deprivation can cause.
If we want to remain healthy, it is not enough just to give up on fast and unhealthy food, and to exercise from time to time. Although these things are quite helpful, they can’t make up for the lack of proper rest. No matter how healthy our diet is, we won’t avoid health issues unless we start getting a recommended number of hours of sleep at night.
The lack of rest has numerous consequences on our bodies. For example, when we are sleep-deprived, we feel nervous and grumpy. We also have difficulties working at our best as we can’t concentrate properly. Our productivity is also affected when we are sleepy and tired. These are the most common, and mostly known consequences of being deprived of rest. However, these are just some of the short-term negative effects of not getting enough rest at night. Most of us are not familiar with the long-term impact that sleep deprivation has on our health.
The Lack of Sleep Can Contribute to Obesity
Many people are not aware of the connection between sleep and weight. If we don’t get enough rest at night, our levels of a hormone called cortisol rise. Increased levels of this stress hormone can affect our hunger and make us overeat and indulge in fatty foods more than we should. If overeating and consuming unhealthy food becomes our habit, gaining weight it just a matter of time. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to the production of a hormone that is produced in our stomach called ghrelin. If the levels of this hormone are increased, we feel hungry all the time, which contributes to the weight gain even more. Another connection between the lack of sleep and obesity is that we are less prone to exercising when we feel tired. No one looks forward to working out after getting only a few hours of rest at night. As you can see, sleep deprivation can contribute to gaining weight in more than one way. That’s why, if we want to be healthy and fit, we need to focus on getting enough shut-eye at night.
Sleep Deprivation Can Cause High Blood Pressure
It is crucial to be aware that the more sleep we get, the less likely it is that we will develop this condition. Long-term deprivation of rest is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure. It is also connected to high levels of chemicals that cause inflammation, which can put even more strain on our heart. People who don’t sleep enough at night are at risk of high blood pressure because of the increased production of stress hormones. Our body can’t regulate these hormones properly when we don’t get enough rest. If something like this continues for a prolonged period, we may be at risk of developing the chronic elevation of blood pressure. This condition is known as hypertension, and it increases the risk of heart disease.
The Lack of Rest Affects Fertility
You often have a chance to hear that many couples have difficulty conceiving. More and more people face this problem, and one of the factors that contribute to it is the lack of sleep. It is more common today, since we became 24/7 society than in the past. It is simple – when a person doesn’t get enough rest at night, the secretion of reproductive hormones is reduced. If the lack of sleep continues for a prolonged period, it causes fertility problems.
Increased Chances of Diabetes
It is crucial to be aware that people who tend to sleep only a few hours a night are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People who don’t get the proper amount of rest at night have higher chances of developing diabetes as the ability of their bodies to process insulin is reduced. It is vital to get between 7 and 9 hours of rest at night if we want our metabolism to process glucose properly. The chronic lack of sleep contributes to high blood sugar levels, and eventually, diabetes.
How to Get Enough Quality Sleep?
As you can see, health consequences of sleep deprivation are numerous. If we want to remain healthy, it is critical to make sleep our top priority and focus on getting at least 7 hours of shut-eye per night. We can increase the likelihood of getting enough good night’s rest by creating a sleep-supportive environment. One of the ways to do this is to ensure that we have a comfortable and adequate sleeping surface. If you sleep on an old mattress that is far beyond its life expectancy you should consider replacing it with a new one. Many models are available on the market, and it is not difficult to find the best mattress for your needs and preferences. Another solution is to cut down on screen time in the evening. You shouldn’t use electronic devices at least an hour prior to going to bed if you want to get well-rested. Finally, don’t consume caffeinated products three hours before the bedtime as they will keep you up at night.