Sleep, glorious sleep. The majority of us long to cuddle up with our pillows and get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough of the 7-8 hours of recommended sleep each night. Instead, we burn the midnight oil in attempts to keep up with our workload or to spend time with loved ones.
Night after night, we get too little sleep. If it was just a once in a while occurrence, our bodies would be able to accommodate and spring back to optimal performance. Instead, most of us run on a consistent sleep deprivation and our bodies and minds pay the price.
Here are four things that skipping a good night’s sleep can do:
Dulls Your Wits
Studies that learning new things and processing information quickly are stunted by just one night of sleep deprivation. Another study in 2007 found that lack of sleep causes us to misunderstand emotional events and that we’re likely to exhibit inappropriate responses to these events.
Increases Body Fat
There’s a direct hormonal link for many people between sleep and body fat. Sleep deprivation reduces the appetite suppressant Leptin – so you’re more likely to overeat. Your body also has a harder time processing sugars – so there’s an increased risk for diabetes. Some diabetics have a lower tolerance for exercise – which can also help put on the weight.
Weakens Immune System
Our defenders of our immune system, our white blood cells, have a delayed response to reacting to new threats (kind of sounds like point #1!) Sleep deprivation suppresses the cycle responsible for alerting the body’s immune system that something ‘bad’ has happened, so nothing prompts the immune system to respond to the troubled area and the ‘bad’ stuff has a longer time to grow.
Slows Recovery Time
Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease of energy used during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the fatigue and low energy. It also increases the time that your body needs to fully recover from a hard workout.
What’s the take home message? A good night’s sleep is paramount to proper body chemistry, an ideal weight and a sharp mind.