Not getting enough sleep? Don’t worry about those bags under your eyes or a lack of concentration – it can get worse! Researchers pulled together all the major sleep studies done over the years, and this is what they found.
Sleep is vital for body and mind
Getting 7 hours of good quality sleep on most nights is the downtime your body and mind need for repairs. While you’re going through the sleep cycle, your body is really busy with the following:
- Building new bone
- Repairing tissue
- Strengthening your immune system
It seems easy, right? But let’s look at what happens if you don’t get enough regular, good sleep!
Lack of sleep weakens your immune system. You’re more likely to get sick when exposed to viruses, and you’ll take longer to recover.
Sleep deprivation also opens you up to other health risks, such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, strokes and heart attack.
Messing with your mind
If you don’t get enough good sleep, it’s not only your work that gets affected. According to studies, you can even start to experience mood issues and mental effects. Think:
- Irritability and shortened attention span
- Difficulty remembering things
- Disturbance in perception – misunderstanding what you’re seeing or hearing
- Illusions or hallucinations – seeing or believing things that aren’t really there
- In extreme cases of sleep deprivation, people have experienced psychosis
Where does the ‘fat’ part come in?
Not getting enough sleep, or getting broken sleep, can interfere with your metabolism. Sleep deprivation may lead to weight-gain by:
- Strengthening signals from the hormone that tells you when you’re hungry (ghrelin)
- Weakening signals from the hormone that tells you when you’re full (leptin)
- Interfering with the way your body deals with glucose – putting you at risk for diabetes
How much is enough?
So, now you’re probably tempted to go and catch up on lost sleep, but don’t get too much! It turns out that sleeping for 10 hours or more, as an adult, can put you at risk too. The perfect balance is around 7.5 hours a night, most nights. If you plan to stay out and party, you can get one long catch-up on the next sleep. Then go back to 7 hours.
If you’re battling to get into a sleep routine, here are 5 things that keep you awake at night, and how to change them. So, there you have it! It’s not just beauty sleep – it’s stay-healthy-and-sane sleep! Get tough about getting enough.
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com