There are many influences that can have an impact on our wellbeing, but one of the most important – and most overlooked – is sleep. The average human requires around eight hours of sleep every night, but many surveys have shown that an alarming proportion of us are not reaching this level, which can have significant consequences.
Anyone who has gone a night or two without enough sleep knows that they aren’t at their best the following day, with concentration, mood and energy levels all affected – so to help inspire you to take sleep more seriously, here are a few reasons why it is so important.
You may not realize it, but sleep plays a significant role in helping your body regulate its weight. There are studies that show that those who manage less than seven hours sleep every day are at a bigger risk of obesity and show a tendency to put on weight. There are a number of reasons for this, but the principal causes are to be found in two chemicals. Leptin is the chemical that makes you feel full, and your body produces less of it if you don’t have enough sleep, while levels of hunger-causing ghrelin increase with bad sleep.
Some people seem to have no luck when it comes to viruses and manage to catch every infection going. One of the reasons for this could be lack of sleep. Interrupted or poor sleep can have an impact on the body’s immune system, making you vulnerable to illness.
We all know that feeling of being a bit cranky the morning after a poor night’s sleep. Everything becomes an effort, and our loved ones bear the brunt of our lethargy. It isn’t surprising, then, to learn that if you go without sleep regularly, you could be at risk of developing serious long-term issues with your mental health, including depression and anxiety. Studies on people suffering from these conditions have found that many of them do not get a full night’s sleep on a regular basis.
Diabetes is a growing problem in the US, and there are studies that suggest that people who don’t get more than five hours sleep every day are at a much higher risk than others when it comes to developing diabetes. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but it may be that lack of sleep affects the body’s natural production of glucose, which is our source of energy.
You may also be unaware that failing to get enough sleep can have a detrimental effect on your sex drive. For example, studies show that men who have been diagnosed with the sleep disorder called sleep apnoea are more likely to have low levels of testosterone, which in turn has a negative impact on their libido.
Individuals who fail to get enough sleep on a regular basis are also at risk of developing a number of heart conditions, including raised blood pressure, increased heart range, and higher quantities of chemicals that are known to play a role in inflammation. All of these factors can put a strain on your heart and increase your risk of heart disease.
Sleep increases fertility
There is also some evidence that sleep deprivation can have a serious impact on fertility. Lack of sleep has been found to influence fertility as sleep disruption can negatively affect the body’s natural production of important reproductive hormones.
How to get a good night’s sleep
If you are concerned that you may not be getting enough sleep, then it is possible to change your sleep habits, though this will not be achieved with one early night. In fact, it can take weeks before your body can fully recover from sleep deprivation.
One step that can help is to consider the advances in sleep science. Many suppliers of bedroom furniture and accessories now supply specialist sleeping equipment, such as a sleep science mattress, designed to maximize the quality of your sleep. By taking steps to ensure that your bedroom is optimized to make it easy to get to sleep, you can improve your chances of getting the full night’s sleep that you need to maintain your wellbeing.
Everyone has experienced the unpleasant effects of lacking sleep. The day after a poor night’s sleep, we can feel irritable, tired and lack focus. If you experience several sleepless nights, then these effects can be serious. By taking sleep seriously, you can avoid the negative effects of sleep deprivation, and feel happier and healthier.