Updated: Jul 4
Many scientists believe that lack of sleep contributes to heart disease and strokes. Not getting enough sleep can even contribute to higher chances of developing cancer, depression, and diabetes.
Although you will spend nearly one-thirds of your lifetime doing it, the importance of sleep is not always taken into account. Sleep is of utmost importance to good health. Getting enough rest is vital to your overall health, as well as your mental health.
“Total, prolonged sleep deprivation can be fatal. While it has been reported in humans only anecdotally, a study in rats conducted by Chicago-based researchers in 1989 showed that a complete lack of sleep inevitably leads to death.”-Research
Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and depression, and those who fall asleep during the day as result of sleep deprivation at night are at a higher risk for accidents, substance abuse, and disease. As shown in the findings of June J. Pilcher and Allen I. Huffcutt in Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Performance: A Meta-Analysis published by The Sleep Research Society: “mood is more affected by sleep deprivation than either cognitive or motor performance.” When you get enough rest, your body releases a variety of stress hormones. These hormones help to keep you functioning properly and help you relax. A good night's sleep restores these stress hormones to a normal state, so you are better able to handle your next day.
Inadequate hours of sleep have negative consequences on your overall health. Many scientists believe that lack of sleep contributes to heart disease and strokes. Not getting enough sleep can even contribute to higher chances of developing cancer, depression, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation may also increase the chances of suffering from hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which have been shown to be associated with poor health and in some cases, death. Several dreaded illnesses are directly linked to a person's sleep habits. In Consequences of Sleep Deprivation: a scientific study published by International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, it's discovered that: “sleep deficiency intensifies the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” In Sleep, Death and … the Gut? of Harvard Medical School, it was noted that: “total, prolonged sleep deprivation can be fatal. While it has been reported in humans only anecdotally, a study in rats conducted by Chicago-based researchers in 1989 showed that a complete lack of sleep inevitably leads to death.”
Because of the connections between lack of sleep and health risks, it is important to get as much sleep as possible. Some individuals need seven or eight hours of sleep, though most benefit from a minimum of five hours. It is important to get a consistent amount. Some individuals need to stretch their hours if they are not able to sleep the five-hour maximum. Getting the recommended eight hours should be everyone’s goal.
TIPS ON GETTING THE RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF SLEEP THAT WORKS
1. CONSISTENT SLEEP SCHEDULE
Making a good night of sleep starts with getting a consistent sleep schedule. This means waking up at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each night and making sure you are resting until dinnertime. If you feel you are not getting the rest you need, it is important to speak with your doctor about your sleep schedule. It is important to set a regular sleep schedule so that your body's biological clock will become accustomed to its daily activities. The recommended time to go to bed is set at the same time each day, at least for adults.
2. DAILY EXERCISE
Exercising is another important activity to take into account when creating a quality sleep schedule. It is important to maintain a regular exercise schedule no matter how long you need it to maintain a healthy body. Exercising can help you sleep better at night, so you may find it worth it to take some time out of your busy schedule to do some exercise. Also, avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol before bedtime; it will keep your mind and body awake, which are both factors that affect the quality of your rest. Lastly, exercising should be done hours before sleep.
3. MAKING SURE YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT IS CONDUCIVE FOR SLEEPING
Your usual sleep environment also has a lot to do with how well you sleep. A bedroom with too many distractions will make it hard for you to sleep. A bedroom that is adequately cool and that does not give off too much light is preferred. A dark, pitch black room is another good choice, as it allows you to get a better night's rest and to feel less stress or anxiety. Dark colors emit a calming effect and are a great way to induce sleep.
4. DESTRESS DURING THE DAY
Another important factor that affects quality sleep and the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep is your daily stress hormones. Excess stress hormones cause people to become anxious, tense, and worried during their waking hours, making it hard to fall asleep or to stay asleep. It is therefore important to allow yourself some time to relax each day, and to de-stress. A half hour or so every day is a good amount of time.
Besides the effect that sleep has on your overall mental and physical health, it is important to maintain a good night's rest also for your cardiovascular health. A good night's sleep lowers the levels of cortisol, a hormone that is produced when you are awake and during physical activity. High levels of cortisol cause a rise in blood pressure and can result in feelings of fatigue throughout the day. Lack of sleep can also lead to increased levels of catecholamine, a hormone that controls mood and energy levels and that contributes to the feeling of tiredness and exhaustion.
Moreover, lack of sleep have a negative impact on your immune. Without enough sleep, your body is not able to fight off the germs and disease-causing bacteria that cause illnesses such as influenza, measles, and even HIV/AIDS.
Getting the amount of sleep you need each night also affect your level of overall health and fitness. Thus, getting enough rest and sleep better can improve your memory, concentration, and mood. In addition, when you sleep better, you are more alert, and this, in turn, can benefit your performance in your job, in school or in any activity you engage in every day. Indeed, it is important to remember that sleep affects your physical health and wellness in many ways. It is never too late to make changes that can improve your long-term memory, concentration, and health.
We'd love to hear about your bedtime story... oops, irregularities, rather. Tell us about it and how are you coping up in the comment section below.
1. Jiang, Kevin. 2020. Harvard Medical School. June 4. Accessed February 16, 2021. https://hms.harvard.edu/news/sleep-death-gut.
2. June J. Pilcher, Allen I. Huffcutt, Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Performance: A Meta-Analysis, Sleep, Volume 19, Issue 4, June 1996, Pages 318–326, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/19.4.318
3. Orzeł-Gryglewska, J. (2010). Consequences of sleep deprivation. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, 23(1), 95–114. https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-010-0004-9