Have you been sleeping late for the past few days? Do you find it harder to wake up in the morning after staying up all night? That’s your body telling you that it needs more sleep. You see, sleep is just as essential as food and water to your well-being, and yet it is what we ignore the most.
We think that it’s okay to sleep late; at least we still get to sleep for a few hours, right? Wrong. Our body needs certain hours of sleep, depending on our age. Think of our body as a battery, we need to recharge it for certain number of hours, say, 7. If we didn’t get to finish this 7 hours, our body feels incomplete. This condition is called sleep deprivation. I’m sure we all experience sleep deprivation every once in a while, and some of us experience it more often than others. Avoid it if you can, lest you suffer these consequences:
1. Headache and Migraine.
Headache is the most common and most annoying effect of sleep deprivation. We generally feel tired when we don’t get enough sleep, and when it’s associated with headache, it is not a pleasant feeling at all! This headache can be so severe, that it makes us feel feverish and weak during the day and keep us from doing our tasks properly. In fact, there is a great chance that our deprivation will trigger migraine. Pain relievers, medicine for fever and headache, and A NAP are your new best friend.
According to Paul Durham, PhD, lead researcher from Missouri State University, “…stressful situations like sleep deprivation, we secrete high levels of arousal proteins, high enough to trigger headache and migraine.” That explains why sleep deprivation is always associated with such physical discomfort, severe or not.
2. Change in the mood.
Mood is so unstable; it can be influenced by so many things depending on how we react to things. However, no matter how emotionally healthy or how positive our outlook is, sleep deprivation will always trigger negative mood. Our mood dictates how we act, and if we are in a bad mood, then we are more likely to act negatively; we end up being more irritable and short tempered than usual. We may start yelling at people and frown for the rest of the day without us even noticing. Negative outcomes from our lack of sleep are endless, so please, do everyone around you a favor, go to sleep!
3. Weaker cognitive performance.
When we sleep, our brain is being rejuvenated. So if we don’t get enough sleep, our cognitive function will not be as effective. With sleep deprivation, our attention span will be shorter which will make us harder to concentrate.
We will also have trouble retrieving memory, so if you have an exam or a presentation coming, then you are more likely to have a mental block. Last but not the least, we will find having a hard time on decision making, planning and error correction. With all these cognitive functions being less effective, do you think you will be able to work efficiently? Of course not.
4. Health Implications.
Sleep Deprivation weakens the immune system, so the next time your close friend gets sick, don’t be surprised if you end up getting the bug too. If the fact that you more susceptible to flu doesn’t scare you, wait till you read this: Prolonged sleep deprivation increases the chance of developing a long term and more serious health problems.
Our heart rate slows down when we sleep, meaning our heart kind of sleeps with us. If we don’t let our hearts rest, it will end up having problems and we know we don’t want that. Our blood pressure is also affected if we don’t sleep enough. The brain regulates stress hormones when we sleep properly, and if we don’t, we hinder the brain to regulate the said hormones, thus increasing our blood pressure. Heart attack, stroke, death: are you scared yet?
5. Weight gain/loss.
Care about your diet? Well, you should care about getting enough sleep too. Sleep deprivation disrupts hormones that regulate glucose metabolism and appetite, leading to an increased drive of eating more food. Moreover, as mentioned above, lack of sleep will make us feel tired and weak, so I don’t think you’ll want to exercise. That is why obesity is often associated with sleep deprivation especially on young and middle-aged adults. Weight loss, on the other hand, can also happen, although there aren’t any plausible explanations why.
With the said effects, would you still risk losing your valuable sleeping hours to late night activities? I’m sure you have a reason why you stay up late, we all do. But please, your overall health is more important. Just think how many much you will have to spend once your sleep deprivation goes out of hand! Stay Healthy.