Sleep Deprivation

Having a good night’s rest is important to your health.  With busy schedules and never quite enough time to go around, it can be difficult to set aside enough time to get the sleep that our bodies need. Coffee and energy drinks seem like good solutions to a lack of sleep but they cannot replace the role that sleep plays in your body’s wellbeing.

While children are growing up and going through puberty, growth promoting hormones are released while they are sleeping, these help to repair tissue and cells and help to build muscle mass. It is very important for children and adolescents to receive adequate sleep to help the body develop.

Sleep is no less important for adults, sleep deprivation can have very serious consequences.

We know the signs that we haven’t gotten enough sleep, we are tired, irritable, and can’t stop yawning, but a lack of sleep has a more direct effect on your body’s ability to perform.  Chronic sleep deprivation can disrupt your decision-making abilities, as well as coordination and balance.

If you don’t get enough sleep your brain can’t function properly.  Neurons rest while you are sleeping and your brain forms new pathways as well.  If you don’t get enough sleep you may not be able to concentrate and you will have a harder time learning new things.  Your short and long term memory will be affected because your brain consolidates memories while you are sleeping.  You may also notice a negative impact your ability to be creative.

A lack of sleep will put you at an increased risk for developing chronic illnesses like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.  Your immune system makes antibodies, that fight infections, while you are sleeping.  These antibodies help to combat bacteria and viruses.  If you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep you aren’t giving your immune system the ability to build the tools it needs.

Sleep deprivation will leave you susceptible to illness as well as make it more difficult for you to recover from being sick.  The list of health issues linked to sleep deprivation is quite long, including the following: High blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, strokes, depression, and obesity.

Sleep deprivation is also a major factor in auto accidents.  Fatigue may be the cause of 100,000 auto accidents each year.  If you are driving and have not had a sufficient amount of sleep, your reaction time is almost the same as an intoxicated driver.

Sleep is important.  It may seem like the easiest thing to skimp on to finish everything necessary in our busy days, but a lack of sleep is actually making you less effective in your day to day life.  Take a look at your schedule and see how you can start making positive changes to leave yourself enough time to rest and recuperate by getting enough sleep at night.