What Sleep Deprivation Does To Our Body
The older we get, the less time we seem to give attention to our sleep. This can be directly influenced by the increasing amount of responsibilities that we need to juggle. There are those who spend so much time studying, some are meeting work-related deadlines, while others are too busy taking care of a family. No matter what the reasons are, big part of the world population experiences sleep deprivation.
The immediate effects of sleep deprivation include feeling grumpy and agitated. It also comes with constant yawning, irritability, and extreme sleepiness. No amount of coffee can fix a tired body. But while we focus more on keeping awake after a night of no sleep, we sometimes forget its long-term effects.
Here are the risks that we are exposing our bodies to by habitually skipping a good night’s rest.
Different Bodily Changes
The study shows that a lack of sleep can alter the state of the body- including genes. Yes, a habitual lack of sleep can incur this drastic change. It won’t appear on the first night though. But it shows that seven nights of too little sleep, researchers observed more than 700 genetic changes that could play a role.
Mood also changes in an extended period. Sometimes, it leads to more serious mental issues like depression and anxiety. Hallucinations, paranoia, mood disorder can also confound with a bad sleep pattern.
Imagine an electronic gadget that’s working 24/7, no shutting down or even a quick break. The gadget would definitely have a shorter life expectancy due to over usage. That’s what will happen to our brain, too, if we don’t get enough sleep. Our central nervous system is the most precious system in our body. It signals and commands the different parts to do its job. Not giving the body a proper rest can cause a major glitch in the CNS.
During sleep, the body and brain repairs and rejuvenates the body. It needs sleep to help the brain digest and retain all the information we just took in. Without sleep, the brain can’t do this properly making us forgetful and less attentive. It diminishes our decision-making process and can dumb us down.
Weaker Immune System
During sleep, the immune system produces protective substances to help us defend from invaders. The production of these substances lower if the body can’t get enough time to regenerate. The lesser protection, the more vulnerable we become to illnesses. That’s why we get colds or a slight fever if we constantly pull off an all-nighter. Chronic sleep deprivation is also linked to diabetes and heart diseases.
The most feared body change we can undergo is gaining weight. It’s not about the size because everyone is beautiful no matter what. But it’s more on how gaining weight feels and how it affects our physical functioning. We feel heavy, bloated, lazy, and tired. Going up the stair can also be an uphill battle. Weight gain is also linked to many illnesses. So, in general, weight gain that is leaning to obesity is not good.
Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin, and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Without enough leptin, our body tells us we have not consumed enough food, yet. Rationally, the drop in leptin increases ghrelin which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones explains our overeating, excessive snacking, and increasing our cravings.
Decreases Romantic Drive
This is one of the reasons why new parents have a hard time rekindling intimate physical connections. Studies continually show that a lack of enough sleep decreases the testosterone level. Testosterone plays a major role in a person’s libido. One study shows that men and women who lack five hours of sleep within a week resulted in a 15% drop in testosterone level. Aside from the hormonal drop, restless people just don’t have the same appetite to consummate unlike those who sleep well.
We always have to keep in mind that we have limitations. The body is programmed to rest, just like everything else that exists in this world. We can’t take our body for granted just because we need to pay the bills. Stay in during off days and enjoy a good sleep without feeling guilty.
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