In the daily hustle and bustle of life, it is nearly impossible to get the recommended hours of sleep. To match the pace of the world, it is, often, your relationship with sleep that gets sacrificed. The sad part is, we do not even pay attention to the shortening hours of sleep. And even if we do, there is hardly anything we do to compensate the loss. Because there are already things lined up on our to-do list.
But that’s not the end of the story. In the long run, ignored sleep plus you is equal to adverse health impacts. The rest that you brush aside on a regular basis springs Medusa’s head. With its head of snaky hair, each snake strand represents a harmful health implication.
Ignoring sleep can cost you dearly. You might think that you can always deal with the short-term effects of fetching limited sleep. But here’s where you are sadly mistaken because sleep takes a higher toll on your body. This ought to leave you rethinking your sleep schedule.
What does the research say about your sleep?
The first and foremost thing that research confirms for you is that you are not alone. It indicates that nearly 83.6 million Americans are not snoozing enough. This accounts to a staggering 1 in 3 US citizens who are walking zombies, functioning with little slumber.
According to Gallup, the average accumulated sleep hours stand at only 6.8 hours per night. There are only 59% of folks who get 7 or more hours of sleep. 40% function with less than 7 hours of sleep. The picture hasn’t always been so bleak though. In 1910, people dozed to an average of 9 hours every night. The reasons are, of course, pretty obvious.
Such figures have compelled the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to label sleep deprivation as a public health epidemic. The epidemic is only natural with 50-70 million adult Americans suffering from wakefulness and chronic sleep disorders.
Further Reading: 6 Practical Ways To Get Rid Of Your Sleep While Studying
Why should you rethink your sleep routine?
The statistics concerning sleep deprivation are grave. But graver than these figures is the picture of poor health sketched as a result of lack of sleep. Dr. James Hamblin, the physician who hosts the show, “If Our Bodies Could Talk,” warns against compromising your sleep hours.
He explains, “Almost any chronic illness you can tie to people who are sleep deprived. It degrades you in every way. You don’t get the restorative processes that your body needs. And yet there’s not any other form really of that degree of self-harm that we tend to applaud in people, to see it as a virtue.”
Sleep-deprivation is akin to under-recharged batteries of the body. This translates into fizzled energy, affecting your performance and productivity. Yawning and excessive sleepiness are obvious signs that come after a night that you spend wishing for sleep to come. Moreover, mood swings and irritability tip-toe at the tail of insufficient sleep.
In fact, in his article, Dr. Hamblin compares sleep deprivation with drunk driving. This leads us to the scary consequences of doing without forty winks. Figures by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show 1550 fatalities and 40,000 injuries every year owing to drowsy driving.
But all this is just the tip of the iceberg. Research has found that less sleep can culminate in 700 plus genetic changes in your body. These genetic changes play a tremendous role in health issues such as obesity and heart problems. Just a small, one-hour slip in sleep for kids can increase their risk of developing Diabetes type 2.
Further Reading: 9 Simple Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Lifestyle Diseases
In digging deeper, it can be found that sleep deprivation is linked with ADHD, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. The effects of slacking on sleep are not limited to physical impacts. The mental effects are far more harmful. You might wave this off as brain fog and a short attention span. But there is a lot more that can be counted as the scary side effects of sleeplessness.
A restless night brings umpteen wild thoughts. Some of us might even wonder about the early sign of alzheimer’s. But the difficult thing to swallow is that a shortage of sleep is associated with Alzheimer’s disease too. Sleep plays a pivotal role in the formation of memory and flushing the day’s waste. Without a good nap though, these two functions are at stake.
A study also reveals that a wakeful brain produces more Alzheimer’s protein. The balance between the production and disposal of this protein is disturbed with chronic poor sleep. This gives us another reason to work out a new sleep routine that is centered on more hours of slumber.
On a further mental note, anxiety and depression are common among people who spend less time in the arms of Morpheus. To keep up with all things important, therefore, you don’t need time that has been snatched from your sleep schedule. Instead, you need more sleep for greater mental well-being. Not even in a nightmare would anyone want their brain test to show problems due to sleep deficiency.
Further Reading: 6 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System
The sleep that you need
A recent study on sleep duration in the Sleep Health Journal indicates that adults need at least 7-8 hours of napping. It is critical for you to really reconsider your sleeping hours if they are lesser than the recommended time. Thus, the moral learned is never to sacrifice your sleep.
The cost of such sacrifice is massive, both in the short and long run. It is only wise to turn off any and all distractions before you head to bed. Most of all, put your smartphones or other such devices away. The screen light is pro at pushing away your sleep. And say a big no to caffeine before bed.
A few small steps taken now will go a long way in reaping a sweet fruit. No wonder Grimm Brothers recognized the significance of proper rest and came up with Sleeping Beauty to inspire us all.