Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Is your hectic lifestyle and busy work schedule making you sacrifice your sleep hours? If yes, it’s time to take a re-look at what you are running after and running for, and ask yourself if it’s worth it. Well, if you consider the opinion of doctors, it certainly isn’t.
Lack of sleep doesn’t just give you puffy eyes and dark under-eye circles, it does much more harm internally that you cannot see and hence don’t realise. The worst thing is sleep deprivation (a condition when a person regularly sleeps for less than seven hours a night) affects all ages, and in most cases it is a voluntary move.
A 2019 study published in Diabetes Care journal in 2020, states that irregular sleep and wake-up schedule raises the risk for obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood sugar etc. Lets see what harm does lack of sleep does to the body:
Sleep is body’s mechanism to heal, rewind and refresh itself. So, lack of sleep means you will constantly feel fatigued, suffer from daytime sleepiness and will have mood swings for no apparent reason.
Cytokines, small proteins which are responsible for fighting bacterial and viral infections, are produced by the body when it’s sleeping. Lack of sleep means less of cytokines which in turn means a weakened immune system prone to infections.
Many people who regularly sleep less often experience weight gain and have an increased risk of diabetes. Why? Because lack of sleep can increase appetite. How? A hormone Leptin, responsible for giving us a feeling of satiety, is produced more during the night hours. This means a sleep-deprived person has less of this hormone. This explains why food cravings and late-night snacking happen.
Sleep regulates the level of stress hormones, so when we are not getting enough of it, our body’s ability to control stress is jeopardised, which then leads to higher blood pressure. So, those who sleep less have more chances of developing hypertension.
Lack of sleep impacts attention and memory. Researchers say that sleep and memory are related. Getting enough rest helps you process new information after you wake up, while sleeping after learning consolidate information gained into memories, allowing you to store them in your brain. Not getting enough sleep can lower learning abilities by 40 per cent.
The production of reproductive hormones is regulated by the same parts of the brain, which controls our circadian rhythm. Sleeping less than seven hours lowers the level of testosterone and other hormones which control ovulation. Women who sleep less have problem conceiving.
Helps you look young
Beauty sleep is not a myth. Those who get adequate sleep look fresh and young. This is because during sleep, our body produces a higher amount of growth hormone, which rejuvenates skin and muscles. Lack of sleep means less growth hormone which means skin will look pale, grayish, and tired.
Now that you know so many benefits of sleep, chuck your late night reading and binge watching on TV and smartphones. Unless, of course, if you are a yogi, heavily into yoga and meditation!