The human body is constantly performing activities that help in the overall growth and functioning of the entire body. Enough sleep is an essential for these activities, since during sleep, when the body is least active, then does the body performs most of the essential activities. On average, one should sleep for at least 7 hours. If you wake up in only 4 or 5 hours, pull the sheets up and get back to sleep. Sleep enhances your health, physical performance, interaction with others, not forgetting your safety. Sleep deprivation, as you sacrifice sleep to perform other activities or for whatever other reason can cause irreparable damage to body, both short term and long term. Prolonged sleep deprivation might result in chronic illnesses.
Importance of sleep to the human body
- In adolescents and children, enough sleep helps in the building and repair of muscles. When the body is resting, it’s the best time to repair cells and worn out tissues. This means that they get to grow healthy with every passing day.
- Enough sleep promotes proper brain functioning, hence enhancing productivity and minimizing risk of central nervous system related diseases.
- It lowers the risk of chronic diseases and increases immunity of the entire body.
- In children and adolescence it enhances their interaction with others; subsequently influencing their development
- Enough sleep enhances healing and repair of blood vessels and the heart
- Enough sleep enhances balance of body hormones for example ghrelin, leptin and insulin
- It enhances how well you perform your daily activities, enhancing your performance, safety and health.
Signs of sleep deprivation
If you are wondering whether you are getting enough sleep, you may have to look closer into your lifestyle. Here are the red flag signs to look out for:
- Excessive sleepiness as you undertake other activities
- Yawning most of the time
- Always feeling hungry
- Weight gain, at times may result in obesity
- Chronic sleep deprivation may interfere with coordination, decision-making and balance
Effects of sleep deprivation to the body
The central nervous system
- It’s the center of all body co-ordination. The brain requires adequate sleep so it coordinates properly, all body activities. Sleep deprivation results in exhaustion, such that the effective functioning is impaired. Some effects of these include;
- It interference with your concentration making learning difficult as well as working, this lowers the quality of work performed too.
- It negatively impacts your short term memory and subsequently the long term memory in the long run, this not only affects the memory but with time, one’s decision making is affected too.
- You may lose touch with your emotions, often times resulting in short temperedness and mood swings.
- Long sleep deprivation may trigger Mania in people suffering mania depression and often times cause’s hallucinations.
- It may also cause, depression, impulsive behavior and even suicidal thoughts.
- A common side effect of sleep deprivation is micro sleep; it occurs at any time and is a major cause of accidents, either road or air crashes.
Chronic sleep deprivation leads to problems in the cardiovascular system, most times resulting in high blood pressure and for those who already have the condition, it elevates the pressure levels, may trigger stroke and cause heart diseases.
Sleep deprivation is a major cause of obesity. Once you deprive your body of sleep, it tries to recover this in other ways. Often times from food. It causes the body to produce ghrelin hormone, commonly referred as the hunger hormone. This triggers you to feel hungry every now and then, definitely at the face of hunger you will have to eat so as to continue your activities. As a result you end up eating too much and continuously gain weight, which add up to obesity with time.
Sleep deprivation also, triggers the production of cortisol (stress hormone) then lowers the production of leptin (hormone that triggers that feeling of fullness), low levels, causes you to eat lot. On excess food intake, more insulin is produced, it facilitates fat storage and consequently causes type (ii) diabetes.
Sleep enables the body produce protective cytokines, and other antibodies and cells that help the body fight disease causing bacteria and viruses. Sleep deprivation therefore lowers their production, which as a result weakens the immune system, exposing the body to more threats to infection and taking much longer time to recover from illnesses. This, as a result, leaves the body prone to chronic illnesses and cardiovascular diseases too.
Well, the immunity of the body having been compromised, leaves the body so vulnerable to illnesses. Respiratory conditions not an exception. The body is prone to infections, like common cold and influenza. In the long run, due to continued sleep deprivation, chronic lung diseases may creep in, alongside other respiratory infections.
Other effects of sleep deprivation
- Although depression, caused by sleep deprivation may strain your relation, sleeplessness has also been proven to Lower sex drive in both men and women. This may lead to wreaking of marriages and subsequently negatively affecting the growth and development of children.
- Ages the skin; increases levels of cortisol hormone, produced in high quantities in sleep deprived persons, breaks down the skin collagen (responsible for the skin elasticity and smoothness).fastening the aging of the skin.
- It increases risk of death by all means e.g. cardiovascular diseases, depression, accidents and chronic illnesses.
Sleep deprivation could be fatal, leave alone causing prolonged suffering from the disease it might cause and emotional suffering to the people that surround you. It’s therefore necessary to always sleep at the right time and have enough sleep for quality sleep. This will hence enhance quality health.
Children should be taken to bed in time too so as to sleep early and have quality sleep for their mental development, physical growth and appropriate functioning of body systems. Quality sleep impacts their interaction with each other, which plays a great role in their development to the adults they become in future. Don’t deprive them of this, create a routine and they will grow adapting this all through, educating them on the importance of sleep is important too.
Adults require quality sleep too for effective running of their daily activities and their entire body health too. Sleep prolongs one’s lifespan through; reduced depression, chronic diseases and other related infections that could shorten their life.