Why You Cannot Live Without Sleep

If, on occasion, you are a party animal who stays up late, you probably imagine that the exhausted feeling you experience in the morning is solely the result of exertion, booze and eating inappropriately. However, regular night owls and people with insomnia are better equipped to recognize the adverse effects of not getting enough sleep. Nonetheless, since the true cost of insomnia is not easily observed, even they are probably unaware that numerous changes happen in their brain and body when they do not sleep properly. Countless people will tell you that not obtaining adequate shut-eye can make you groggy, but insist that you will get over it. They are right if you manage to catch up on sleep and develop a healthy sleep pattern. There again, your ability to function will have been compromised and you will have a low immune system for a while. The worst side effects of not sleeping though are not dark under-eye circles and lethargy. Although more research needs to be carried out to confirm such a notion, there is a possibility that insomnia could be the death of you.

We can all recognize that insomnia is unhealthy and that we do not feel our best when we have had a few late nights or trouble sleeping. However, the understated consequences of no shut-eye, even for one night, might be more severe than you imagine. Additionally, research involving rodents has revealed that death could be possible in a relatively short span of sleeplessness, at least for the furry species used as subjects. In about one month of sleep deprivation, the rats in question died. Of course, we are not rodents, but studies involving humans suggest that mortality rates increase regarding people who sleep under six hours a night on a regular basis.

Most people will not need to worry about the possibility of dying due to a lack of sleep, but they are liable to suffer from sleep loss at some time in their lives. When you fail to sleep for a single night, you lose brain tissue, your immune system plummets, and you are more likely than usual to catch a virus such as the common cold. Additionally, you might find decision-making tricky, have weak willpower, and experience difficulty concentrating. Moreover, the speed of your physical reactions will be impaired, which means that operating machinery such as cars is dangerous. As if that is not bad enough, you are also likely to become emotional, reactive, and crave carbohydrates and high-calorie snacks that can pile on weight.

Regularly sleep badly and the results become even more serious. Stroke risk increases dramatically, as does the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. If you are male, your sperm count will be reduced, and whatever your gender, you might become obese. Additionally, as already mentioned, the risk of death increases.

We also know that a lack of slumber means that you do not benefit as much as you should from the functions of sleep. While you gain shuteye, your brain flushes out toxic waste that can build and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. The ability of your memory suffers too when you do not sleep, and absorbing knowledge becomes less easy than when you have had a good night’s rest.

Overall, sleep deprivation is a serious matter, especially when it continues for long periods. The message is clear; make sure that you get roughly seven-and-a-half hours of sleep per night if you want your body and brain to function well, and if you have insomnia, make it your mission to get to the root of the problem so that you can sleep.

References:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/sleep-deprivation_n_4557142.html
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2009/05/can_you_die_from_lack_of_sleep.html

About bridget

bridget webber

Bridget Webber’s background rests in mental health, counselling, hypnotherapy, NLP and art. She brings knowledge from her experiences into her writing and specializes in emotional wellness and the creation of, rather than search for, joy. You can catch up with her insights and musings on Twitter.

Twitter: @InsightManager

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