What does sleep deprivation do to your body?
In today’s day and age, there has been an increasing number of people going to sleep late and getting less than the ideal number of hours of sleep. With the pandemic happening, the people getting less sleep have reached an all-time high. Aside from the fact that a lot of people are now used to sleeping late, the anxiety felt over the uncertain circumstances of a viral infection has contributed to people’s many sleepless nights.
So, what does sleep deprivation do to your body?
It has been estimated that as many as 1 in 3 people worldwide is suffering from lack of sleep. That would be as many as 2.6 billion people! There are a lot of factors to blame for this, like work, studies, social media use, poor sleep, and stress.
Studies show that sleep deprivation causes many medical conditions. It predisposes you to a lot of lifestyle diseases, like hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes mellitus. It has also been shown that sleep deprivation can shorten one’s life expectancy.
What is the minimum number of hours of sleep needed?
An average adult usually needs 8 hours of good- quality sleep to be able to optimally function. Take note that this says sleep of good quality. If we are getting 8 hours but the quality is poor, we would still wake up drained and tired.
What then happens if we can’t get a full night’s sleep?
There are a lot of effects that could occur. Our mood can be affected. Because we are deprived of sleep, our brain’s chemicals will make us feel cranky and easily annoyed. We can have a quick temper and become more emotional.
Another interesting thing that happens when we lack sleep is sleep deprivation induced euphoria. Because of sleep deprivation, the body's chemicals go haywire. We can become less inhibited, like how we are when we get drunk. We exhibit risky behavior and have poor judgement. This can lead to accidents and unfortunate circumstances we will regret later on.
Sleepless nights can also lead to issues in remembering and memory-making. The brain would not be able to get rid of all waste products, since this process happens when we sleep. When we are sleep deprived, we tend to forget stuff, from leaving things in random places to suddenly pausing when we talk because we forget what we just said. It would also be hard for us to remember certain memories that would otherwise be easy for us to remember. In line with this, we would also have problems in concentration and mental exercises. Since we are unable to form neuronal connections, it would be hard for us to analyze concepts and connect them all together.
One thing that can happen would be that our body would have a weak immune system. Because our bodies can’t fully regenerate when we lack sleep, the cells we need to fight off infections would be less than normal, making us prone to infections.
Article was contributed by: Annie Spratt, unsplash.com
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