Effects of Reduced Sleep
The short-term effects of sleep include slow responses and lapses in concentration during the day. For some people, these effects might not manifest as fast as in others. However, continuous lack of sleep can be detrimental to your health.
You can suffer from mental, digestive and cardiovascular illnesses among others. In fact, a number of health experts attribute the lack of proper sleep to numerous health problems. Your body needs at least seven hours of sleep. Failure to that will see you suffer from the following.
The Central Nervous System
The central nervous system is like the call operator back in the day. It connects your entire body and this is no small task. In order to maintain the normal functioning of this vital system, you need to sleep well. However, with severe lack of sleep, this system can come crashing down bit by bit.
In your sleep, the brain is in relax mode, trying to formulate new connections between various nerve cells which help in memory retention. With reduced sleep, your brain will be unable to perform such functions, leading to memory loss, loss in concentration and reduced reflex activity.
The last two can be fatal, especially in environments that need focus for a long duration. This includes driving or operating machinery. In addition to losing your memory, your body can experience imbalances in emotions leading to mood swings.
The Immune System
Your immune system is a great beneficiary of proper sleep. While sleeping, substances such as cytokines get into your system courtesy of your immune system. They embark on a war, fighting various bacteria and viruses, thus keeping you healthy and defending your body against harmful illness-causing pathogens.
If you lack sleep for a long time, the immune system will produce fewer substances helpful in defending your body. Furthermore, you can take longer to recover from an illness
The Digestive System
Certain hormones in your body tell your brain how hungry and how full you are. These hormones are leptin and ghrelin. Any imbalance in these two hormones can cause a difference in food intake, which can lead to a number of weight-related diseases.
Reduced sleep will signal your brain to increase ghrelin and reduce leptin which will cause an increase in appetite. This explains why some people eat too much at night leading to an increase in weight.
Lack of sleep can also increase insulin levels. Blood sugar levels maintain a specific balance thanks to insulin. High levels of insulin can cause type 2 diabetes.
The Respiratory System
Your breathing and your sleep go hand in hand. Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder common at night. The disorder interrupts your sleep because it causes your body to take in less oxygen causing you to wake up a number of times.
The constant interruptions lead to reduced sleep and can cause other respiratory problems like flu and the common cold. It can also heighten other respiratory diseases like lung illness.
The Cardiovascular System
During sleep, your body enters a state of relaxation. This helps the body to rejuvenate in readiness for the next day. Part of relaxation involves repairing various body parts like blood vessels and the heart.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you risk getting cardiovascular diseases which can lead to serious illnesses like strokes and heart attacks.
The Endocrine System
Multiple hormones rely on your quality of sleep. For example, you need three hours of sleep for a healthy production of testosterone. Any interruptions during sleep can affect hormone production.
For children and adolescents, the growth hormone is important for healthy growth which includes cell repair, muscle growth among others.
You can have the best pancake pillow, a comfortable mattress and a king size bed, but if you don’t use them to get quality sleep, you might suffer from the above effects of sleep deprivation. Therefore, take time to get at least seven hours of proper sleep.