Top Reasons Why Sleep so Important

Have you ever spent a night tossing and turning? So tired but unable to fall asleep? Then the next day, you feel about as alert as a well-caffeinated zombie. When suffering from lack of sleep, there are many things that happen to the human body. None of these do anyone any favors.

All of this occurs because, while you are sleeping, your body is repairing itself from day to day wear and tear. The less you sleep the less time it has to repair itself, which can result in the issues listed below.

 

 Impaired Brain Activity

Also known as brain fog, lack of sleep can literally make you feel like you’re walking through a fog. This makes it more difficult to concentrate, more difficult to remember things, and just to survive a day of work. Learning new things becomes almost impossible, and making any decisions also becomes much more difficult. Creativity is another thing that drastically decreases in the brain fog.

Poor Mental Health

Generally speaking, as the amount of sleep decreases, the crankiness in people increases. A lack of sleep has been shown to greatly affect mental health. When suffering from sleep deprivation, there is an increased risk of mental illness. This can include manic depressive episodes, increased paranoia, impulsive behavior, and even suicidal thoughts. It can also cause drastic mood changes, which are no fun for anyone.

Micro Sleep

A large cause of traffic accidents, micro sleep is no laughing matter. Micro sleep occurs during severe deprivation, when you nod off to sleep for short periods of time but don’t realize that you’re doing it. As you can see, this is incredibly dangerous for day to day activities, especially driving or operating machinery.

Decreased Immune System

This leads back to the body repairing itself over-night during sleep. When you are sleep deprived, your body doesn’t have a chance to build up the cells it needs to fight off infection. This often results in it taking a long time to recover from an illness, and can lead to chronic illnesses. For example, when sleep deprived, your body produces more insulin after eating. This promotes fat storage and can lead to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Weight Gain

Weight gains link to sleep deprivation works on two different levels. First of all, when you haven’t been sleeping properly you are more prone to accidents. This can be counterproductive to almost any type of exercise, as the potential for injury is greatly increased. That and you feel so exhausted that going for a run or a workout is the last thing that anyone wants to do.

Second, sleep deprivation causes stress levels to rise (who wouldn’t be stressed with all of the decreased mental function), which causes an increase in cortisol. This a stress hormone. It also causes a decrease in the hormone leptin, which is what tells your brain that you are full. These two hormone levels combined results in overeating. As if that isn’t enough, there’s an increase in a biochemical called ghrelin. This is an appetite stimulant. Between these three it’s beginning to come clear as to why getting adequate sleep is so important.

Respiratory Disease

A lack of sleep can also have detrimental effects on your respiratory system. When you are sleep deprived, as you already have a decreased ability to fight off illness, you become more likely to contract some sort of respiratory illness. If you already suffer from some sort of lung disease, this will also likely make it worse. Finally, as previously mentioned, once you contract one of these illnesses when you are sleep deprived they can take forever to get rid of. No amount of chicken soup can cure that cold.

Risk of Heart Problems

A major organ that gets repaired while you sleep is the heart, as well as all the vessels it pumps blood to. If you become chronically sleep deprived, the body doesn’t have a chance to heal itself. When the body doesn’t have a chance to heal itself, chronic illnesses begin to occur. Heart disease is one of these illnesses, as well as the increased risk for having a stroke. Also, as previously discussed, since stress and cortisol levels are shooting upwards, your blood pressure goes up with it. This puts increased stress on your heart and blood vessels. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

Lack of Libido

When you are exhausted and can’t sleep, a roll around the sheets is the last thing on your mind. Sleep deprivation has been found to decrease testosterone levels in men, and just make everyone tired, irritable, and stressed out. None of these are even a little bit conducive for a healthy sex life.

Accelerated Aging of the Skin

After multiple long nights of tossing and turning while trying and failing to fall asleep, one has a tendency to wake up with puffy eyes, dark bags, pale and lifeless skin, and plenty of fine lines. This is thanks to the increase in cortisol, which breaks down the collagen in skin. Collagen helps give skin its elasticity, so when this is gone, wrinkles begin to arrive.

Also, while cortisol levels are shooting up, human growth hormones are plummeting. Human growth hormones are responsible for increase of muscle mass, thickening skin, and strengthening bones. When you don’t sleep, not only is your skin not being repaired, it’s also being broken down. It really doesn’t stand a chance.

So go to bed!

Now that you know why sleep is such a vital thing, go to bed! Got to bed early enough that you can get a good night sleep, and if you have other psychological or medical problems that are preventing you from sleeping, make sure you get help. It’s one of the most important things you can do.

Got a tip on how to get a good night’s sleep or a story to share? Leave it down in the comments and help your fellow readers.

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