April 17, 2013
We live in a world where we deal with deadlines, pressure and stress in a fast-paced manner. By the end of the day, the best reward we can get for ourselves is a good, relaxing sleep. Sleeping is an essential part of an individual’s life. On average, adults need at least eight hours of sleep. Can you honestly say that you’re getting enough sleep every night?
What if we are deprived of sleep? Some clear manifestations of lack of sleep is that we become easily irritated, forgetful, and grumpy. And we all know how nobody wants to be around a hothead.
Surprisingly, there are more effects to sleep deprivation that are far more serious than simply just becoming cranky. Because of this, it is important that we become increasingly aware of these things to better remind ourselves to maintain a healthy, consistent sleeping schedule.
1) Sleep and Metabolism
Have you ever asked someone, say, an office mate, how they manage to be slim despite the fact that they eat as much as you do? Chances are, their answer has been something like this: “Well, that’s because my metabolism is fast.” Well that explains it.
Metabolism, in its simplest term, is the rate for which our body burns calories, and believe it or not, sleep is a big factor for our metabolism. Whenever we lack sleep, our metabolic system becomes out of balance and therefore affects the dietary choices we make. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived crave more sugary and fatty foods. When our metabolism gets low, our body burns down calories slower, which in turn makes us gain weight faster.
When we were young, our parents used to tell us to sleep early at night (or for some of us, even in the afternoon) so we can grow taller. Well guess what, it’s all true! Growth hormone stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration. When we sleep, our bodies release Growth Hormones. The thing is, the production of this hormone decreases as we age so it’s most effective when correct sleeping habits are practiced during the adolescent years.
We all have a biological clock that helps us with the time we should sleep and the time we should wake up. Melatonin is a hormone that is released by our body, specifically made by the pineal gland. This hormone is responsible for regulating our body clock and works as antioxidants to help fight off illness. Not enough Growth Hormones and Melatonin can result to a difficulty in thinking and decreased productivity.
3) Sleep deprivation can result to hastened aging
It’s always noticeable when dark circles and bags appear under our eyes whenever we go through sleepless nights in a row—this is just the short term effect. The long term? Grey hairs and wrinkles start to appear, skin becomes saggy and the body tires faster than usual—these aren’t signs of a normal body, but one that is old and aging. According to studies, sleep deprivation may also increase the severity of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Lack of sleep not only affects the physical state of our body but also the mental and emotional. This may include memory loss, depression, low interest in daily activities and negative thinking.
In conclusion, if you’re planning to be productive and optimistic for the day, invest in a quality, uninterrupted sleep the night before.