Results from a recent survey indicated that most people sleep for less than six hours every night. The survey also showed that more than 75% of people experience sleeping problems a few nights every week. While short-lived insomnia isn’t something that you should worry about, you should be more concerned with chronic sleep loss as it can cause a variety of health-related problems such as high blood pressure, weight gain, and lower immunity.
Although additional research is still needed to study the link between sleep loss and health issues, there’s no doubt that sleep is important to shortchange.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
You most likely know that chronic sleep loss can make you grumpy, but what you didn’t know is that lack of sleep can affect your health, sex life, memory, and even your ability to lose weight. Below are some surprising effects of sleep loss:
Sleep deprivation causes serious health problems
When you go to sleep, your immune system produces substances like cytokines that fight infections. Your immune system uses these substances to fight foreign materials that invade your body, such as viruses and bacteria. Additionally, cytokines can also help defend your body against illnesses.
Sleep deprivation inhibits your immune system from recovering, and your body may not be able to fight away invaders. What’s more, it may take longer to recover from diseases and injuries. Chronic sleep deprivation will also increase risks for some conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Sleepiness is a major cause of accidents
Sleep deprivation is a factor that is directly related to some of the biggest disasters in history: the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Apart from these major accidents, sleep loss is also a safety hazard to the public. Drowsiness, when operating a car, can reduce your reaction time. This is almost similar to drunk driving.
According to recent statistics, fatigue causes approximately 100,000 car crashes every year. The worrying news is that most of these accidents are caused by drivers below 25 years. Sleep loss and poor quality are also the main cause of work-related accidents and injuries. To prevent such occurrences, you may want to get quality sleep by investing in weighted blankets. Read more if you’re asking yourself the question do weighted blankets work?
Sleep loss makes you dumber
Sleep plays an important role in learning and thinking. Therefore, the lack of sleep will hurt your cognitive processes in different ways. Sleep loss will impair your alertness, attention, reasoning, concentration, and ability to solve problems. This makes it difficult to learn new things.
Additionally, the various sleep cycles help in consolidating memories in your mind. This means that if you don’t get enough sleep, you will easily forget what you already learned during the day.
The only way to fight sleep deprivation is to get adequate sleep. The recommended sleep hours range from 7 to 9 hours for adults. Another way you can get healthy sleep is by creating an ideal sleep environment. In case you still continue having problems sleeping, ensure you talk to your physician. They will test for underlying conditions that may be interfering with your sleeping schedule.