You think you’re doing fine if you get about four to five hours worth of sleep? Well, chances are that you’re probably among the millions of people who unsuspectingly shortchange themselves on sleep.
Research has proven that most people who require 8 to 9 hours worth of sleep actually function more optimally than those who don’t get enough sleep. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can actually affect your health in many ways and even shorten your lifespan.
From infancy to the crackling of old bones, the effects of inadequate sleep can greatly affect your memory, productivity, creativity, learning, emotional stability and even physical health. According to the sleep specialists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, a number of bodily systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep, which includes: the heart, lungs and kidneys, appetite, metabolism and weight control, immune function and disease resistance, sensitivity to pain, reaction time, mood, and brain function.
Poor sleep is also a risk factor related to substance abuse and depression, especially among those people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Anne Germain, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, “People with PTSD tend to relive their trauma when they try to sleep, which keeps their brains in a heightened state of alertness”.
Dr. Germain is now studying the brains of sleep veterans with PTSD in hopes of developing an effective treatment for them. His findings include that a standard behavioral treatment for insomnia such as avoiding late naps, caffeine, regular sleep schedule and avoiding distractions such as noise and light can actually improve a person’s sleeping habits.
Several studies have even linked insufficient sleep with weight gain, where night owls tend to gorge down on food more than those who are well rested, but tend to eat unhealthy food.
In addition, metabolism begins to slow down and when one’s sleep and circadian rhythm is disrupted, it will have a negative effect making them gain on average 10 extra pounds per year. And that’s not all; the risk of cancer may also be elevated in people who don’t get enough sleep.
The most insidious effects of getting little to no sleep involve the ability to mentally process things such as memory, learning, problem-solving and judgment. During sleep, we tend to learn new things and our memory pathways begin to encode in the brain, and thus, adequate sleep is necessary for those pathways to function optimally.
With insufficient sleep, thinking begins to slow down, it’s harder to focus, and people tend to make poor decisions and take unnecessary risks, which does include operating heavy machinery and yes your cars one of them. I see it all the time, working with people on a daily basis who are suffering from a lack of proper rest due to a bad mattress or bad pillow. The Nest Bedding stores are doctor recommended and customer loved, its our slogan and the truth. We have the expertise and products to help you get the rest your body craves.
In fact, it’s been proven on driving tests that people who are sleep deprived perform as if they’re drunk.
So, the next time you go for your health check up, let your doctor know exactly how long and how well you’ve been able to sleep. Remember, be honest! Sleep deprivation could actually have dire consequences on your health.